Re: Letter to the Editor, Nov. 20, "Chuck Strahl appt. dishonours vets."
When a person decides to run for political office in a democracy, he or she does so with the full knowledge that partisan attacks on one's policy positions and yes, even character, come with the job.
This realization unfortunately extends to those others who are affiliated with the politico, especially family members.
For as long as an elected official holds office, his family and friends are expected to silently endure whatever verbal diarrhea is directed toward their loved one by those with opposing political views and by some in the media whose job it is to sell newspapers or airtime.
For well over a year now my brother, Chuck Strahl, has been out of politics. He no longer has any input into government policy. His life should now be his own. His 82-year-old mother, his wife, his children, his grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and in-laws should also be expected to have the burden of "silent suffering" removed from their lives.
But still the ad hominem attacks continue. Case in point, the above mentioned letter written by Rick MacLeod.
Firstly, I wish to congratulate Mr. MacLeod on his years in the Canadian military and thank him for his service. You see, the Strahl family knows about service. Our late father quit school at age 17 in 1943 and joined the RCAF to do his bit to fight tyranny. Our Uncle Fred landed on Juno Beach at 8 a.m. on D-Day. Chuck's nephew, Michal, served in combat in Afghanistan.
Now for a few facts in my response to Mr. MacLeod's letter. I say "my" response because my brother Chuck has too much class to dignify such a ranting with a reply of his own. He would, I'm sure, have preferred that I not speak out which is why I do so without his knowledge. I speak for myself and those other family members who have remained silent for the past 20 years while Chuck worked to make this a better country.
Fact: Chuck Strahl has been named the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the "Westies," not the Honorary Colonel.
Fact: The name of the regiment is the Westminster Regiment, not the New Westminster Regiment.
Fact: As the commanding officer of the "Westies" made clear at the official announcement, it was he, as head of the regiment, who instructed his staff to seek out the best person for the job, and it was they who vetted and recommended Chuck.
Since it is impossible to rationally discuss motherhood or veteran's affairs without being branded as a hater of both, let me say this: Those who served in Canada's armed forces, either in times of peace or in times of war, are rightly respected by their fellow citizens. It is also true that no other country in the world treats its veterans better than does Canada.
I take umbrage with Mr. MacLeod's assertion that Chuck's appointment "dishonours that service." I am proud of my brother's past service to our nation, as is his entire family. There is no one more deserving of the honour.
Gary Strahl Chilliwack