FALLEN TO BE SHOWN COMING HOME

In a welcome announcement yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that soldiers who are returning home for their funerals will be allowed to be shown to the country if that is the wish of their loved ones and this is the way that it ought to have been from the start.

After weeks of unnecessary negative publicity, the government know recognizes the dilemma it inadvertently created upon deciding to bar the media from broadcasting the return of our fallen.

While stories seem to differ depending on where you go for the details, it seems that the decision had been that of Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor. In a statement yesterday, Mr. O’Connor said that until Stephen Harper made his opinion on the matter yesterday that it was his belief that the Prime Minister agreed with him.

Mr. Harper revisited the issue yesterday after the funeral of Canadian hero Nichola Goddard “I had given fairly clear instructions that, when bodies were to come home, families were to be consulted,” Mr. Harper said at a news conference in Victoria. “And if all families were agreed on making that particular ceremony public, that our government should have no difficulty with that. I’m not sure what happened in this case.”

It would seem that Mr. Harper needs to improve the communications within not only his party, but with Canadians as well. His statements that he “had given fairly clear instructions” were apparently lost on most of the people below him, if that is the case. In fact, they have been clearly lost on every Canadian.

As someone who combs the internet a great deal, I have yet to see any indication that the goal of this government was anything other than keeping the media from viewing the return of our heroes. Whether the reasons for this were to prevent the media from using the occasions as anti-war propaganda or simply to respect the privacy of the families involved, there has been no doubt publicly that it was against a public offering of these arrivals.

Perhaps the tide of public sentiment that has pushed this decision back from whence it came has simply convinced those making the decisions that this was a bad one. We all make bad decisions once in a while. What makes us better people is the ability to learn by them.

As a Canadian, I believe that the government is doing a good thing by accepting the will of the people and the will of the loved ones of these heroes. Anything less would simply be arrogance, and politicians beware; arrogance will not be tolerated. Ask some of your predecessors about that one.