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Remembering Veterans Every Day

Conversation with Corporal Winston Harris, on Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest

by Miles Howe

Corporal Winston Harris
Corporal Winston Harris

Much has been made over the relocation of Occupy Nova Scotia for the upcoming Remembrance Day ceremonies. And while proper respect for veterans is clearly of the utmost importance, it does bring to light the notion of a single day of respect for veterans. Does one single day of collective gratitude and remembrance gloss over the issue of veterans' place in society? What about the other 364 days of the year? Where do the veterans go then? Or are we only interested in seeing them compartmentalized in an occasion where we might glorify their role, without really being interested in where they go on November 12th?

Veterans clearly are not a homogenous group, as demonstrated by today's Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest. Hundreds of veterans across the country, including at Parade Square in Halifax, refused to be simply paraded out for one day a year, honoured, and then shuffled off for next year.

As outlined by the Canadian Veterans Advocacy group, real issues face Canadian veterans, the likes of which are not addressed by simply donning a poppy in early November. Solidarity with veterans goes 365 days a year.

Please enjoy the following conversation with Corporal Winston Harris. Harris notes that he has been exposed to depleted uranium, but cannot afford the $15,000 heavy metals test needed in order to receive proper compensation. He is not alone in being ignored by the Harper government. At the time of writing, Harris was on the way to Levis, Quebec, to join Pascal Lacoste, in a hunger strike to protest against the lack of medical help available to him. The HMC hopes to maintain continued contact with Harris during his, and Lacoste's, hunger strike.



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