Our values are skewed in the Kootenays

I would like to comment on MP Alex Atamenenko’s proposed bill to allow individuals to opt out of contributing tax dollars to the military.

I would like to comment on MP Alex Atamenenko’s proposed bill to allow individuals to opt out of contributing tax dollars to the military.

Mr. Atamenenko’s bill would allow individuals, informed or otherwise, to opt out of contributing to the military budget potentially reducing the military’s effectiveness.

Do proponents of this bill understand the logistics and implications of instituting such a bill?

To be fair, the option to delegate where ones’ taxes are spent would have to include all government programs: the arts, First Nations, sports, multiculturalism, health, and education, to name a few.

The cost of administering and allocating each individual Canadian’s tax contribution would be prohibitive.

It seems that MP Atamenenko, and others that believe the military doesn’t need our support and funding have a shortsighted and mistaken vision that only serves to underrate the value of our military’s service.

Having some awareness of Canadian military culture, it’s frustrating to hear comments from people with no exposure to the military, speak as though the only contribution a soldier makes to society is war.

Canada’s military has a long, proud history worldwide. Canada’s contribution to victory in both world wars and the resulting freedom we enjoy today is unquestionable. During the 60’s and 70’s at the peak of the Cold War, Canada had an admirable record of peacekeeping all over the world.

The end of the Cold War and the rise of terrorism changed the threat and the way our military got deployed. For better or worse, Canada has the integrity to support our international partners.

The military’s domestic role is highly underrated.  Every year the Canadian military is dispatched to help control and put out wildfires that threaten life and property. The military sends out search and rescue teams and specialists that save Canadian lives in peril. During floods, the military is dispatched to support Canadian communities and help protect and rebuild infrastructure. When a city gets crippled by a freak snow storm the military is there to help dig it out.

And what about the relief efforts in the world’s disaster zones where our military helps victims of earthquakes, famines and tsunamis.

The military is full of professional and dedicated men and women that safeguard every Canadian citizen. They train endlessly to perform their jobs because mistakes could cost lives. Military occupations are inherently risky, and these professional men and women of Canada’s military put their lives on the line to serve the citizens of Canada.

For this dedication, a military Search and Rescue Technician with a rank of Corporal, is paid just over $50,000/yr. and the hope of a proportionate pension after 25-30 years of service.

By comparison, we compensate MP’s with a salary of over $150,000/yr. to be bureaucrats and argue like children in parliament with the promise of a potential $100,000/yr. pension after only six years of service. To add salt to the wound, for every dollar an MP contributes to his own pension, each Canadian contributes an additional $23.

At what point did our values get so skewed that we actually value an elected bureaucrat more than the men and women who safeguard our lives and lifestyles to the peril of their own lives?

Keith Roenspiess,




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