Author Topic: Rallies planned to mark end of Afghan mission By KATHLEEN HARRIS, QMI Agency  (Read 1416 times)

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Rallies planned to mark end of Afghan mission

By KATHLEEN HARRIS, QMI Agency


OTTAWA ? Veterans' advocates are planning rallies across Canada to mark the end of the Afghanistan combat mission.

The main event will be held in Ontario's Niagara region July 9, with a series of smaller rallies in other communities to welcome home and thank the troops.

Organizer Michael Blais said various veterans' associations, vets' motorcycle clubs and American veterans' groups will be invited to take part in a weekend of activities that will include entertainment and military-themed exhibits. He said the objective is to honour soldiers for their duty and sacrifice.

"I think Canadians have done an outstanding job in Afghanistan under very adverse circumstances and we should, as a nation, stand up when our troops have fulfilled the mission," he said.

Blais served 17 years in the Canadian Forces before he was medically released in 1992 due to an injury in Cyprus. He spearheaded the Canadian Veterans Advocacy group last year to raise public awareness and press the government for improvements to the new veterans' charter.

The group also plans to launch a penny collection program to raise money for homeless veterans.

"Everyone's got pennies and if everyone turns in their pennies we can do a lot of good for veterans," Blais said, citing Halifax, N.S., as the city with the most urgent need for help for homeless vets.

kathleen.harris@sunmedia.ca
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