Seventy-five years ago, today, May 8, Canadian soldiers and all their loved ones back home celebrated a momentous victory: Victory in Europe.
Our forebears suffered unspeakable pain and suffering to earn that victory. Nearly one in 10 Canadians served during the Second World War. More than 55,000 returned from the front lines injured – another 42,000 didn’t return home at all.
But “The Greatest Generation” made sure its sacrifices weren’t for nothing. After defeating fascism and tyranny, they came back to Canada demanding the very best of our democracy.
They joined together in unions, religious groups, and service clubs and pushed our politicians for a more fair and equal Canada. A Canada with strong and universal public services like Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and Old Age Security.
They’d learned on the battlefield that by working together, even the most fierce battles can be won.
Today, Canadians are fighting another fierce battle right here on the home front. In less than two months, more than 4,000 have died from COVID-19 – a tenth of the Second World War’s death toll in just a fraction of the time.
We must do better. To honour their sacrifice, we must commit to rebuilding their vision of a Canada where our health care and long-term care systems leave nobody behind.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU First Vice-President Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida