Tories want Liberal MP fired for comment that was “an insult” to veterans

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

The Tories want Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to fire his veterans affairs critic for a peculiar comment he made on CBC television on Monday which was, of course, Remembrance Day.

MP Jim Karygiannis was talking about the government's New Veterans Charter — a program whereby some injured soldiers get paid a lump sum instead of a disability pension — when he seemed to a suggest that a one-time receipt would encourage individuals to spend the cash on "booze", a house or "fast car".

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As you might imagine, the Conservative Party jumped on those words and have launched a petition campaign to have him fired from his role as critic.  On Tuesday afternoon, they sent out this email to party supporters.

On CBC’s Power & Politics, Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis criticized the payments offered to veterans under the New Veterans Charter, saying:

“Giving somebody a lump sum…that’s like hanging a case of beer in front of a drunk… They get the lump sum, they go and spend it, either trying to buy a house or buying a fast car or spending it on booze or addiction.”

Whether it’s accusing moms and dads of wanting to spend the Universal Child Care Benefit on “beer and popcorn”, or saying injured veterans will spend lump sum payments on “booze or addiction”, the Liberals continue to believe lobbyists, academics, and bureaucrats spend money better than hardworking Canadian families.

These comments are an insult to Canadian veterans — particularly so close to Remembrance Day.

We need to send Justin Trudeau a message — we’re not choosing the winner of Canadian Idol in 2015, we’re electing a Prime Minister.

Will you sign our petition calling on Justin Trudeau to immediately fire his top veterans spokesman?

Now the Conservatives aren't being completely upfront.

The "..." that you see in Karygiannis' quote above is actually kind of relevant.

Here's what those dots represent:

"Giving someone a lump sum, and I will quote the folks from Wounded Soldier that said, that's like hanging a case of beer in front of a drunk…"

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Karygiannis did, however, put this apology on his website

"Tonight, on Power and Politics, I used a quote which might have offended some people.

At no time did I mean any disrespect towards our Veterans.

Many coming back from wars fight all kinds of difficulties.

At no time was it my intention to say that Veterans do not know how to handle their affairs and or characterize them in a negative fashion.

I have met many vets who have overcome great difficulties and I am proud to call them friends.

I am truly sorry if these words have caused pain to any veteran. I have the utmost respect for our veterans and wish to work with them to ensure that they are able to live their lives in hope and dignity and with respect."

If you still want Karygiannis fired, you can sign the Conservative Party petition here.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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