|Paramedic Mike Merriman sits on the back of his Ambulance beside his sign "This Stays." Merriman is angry that city councillors are talking about the support our troops signs being removed. (SUN/Craig Robertson)
I dare you, Mr. Mayor!
I dare you, David Miller, to vote against the Canadian troops today.
And if you do, I then dare you to resign in disgrace and dishonour.
I would then dare you to face the families of the 57 soldiers already brought home in flag-draped coffins. Shame on you for even letting this get this far!
Today at 2 p.m. the troops in Afghanistan will find out who is who on our city council.The question at this important council meeting is simple. You either support the troops or you don't. Thanks to outraged Councillor Frances Nunziata there will be a vote to decide whether the support the troops ribbons will come off city emergency vehicles or stay.
I hope we can pack the chambers. In my view you don't get to vote for taking those things off and still get to say you support the troops.
If you do support the troops, members of council, you must support Nunziata's motion to extend the support the troops decals on all fire trucks and ambulances. It's that simple.
"It's disgusting," Nunziata told Craig Bromell on AM 640 yesterday of any suggestion to take the ribbons off. "This is the worst thing our city has ever done."
Councillor Janet Davis, who was caught by a CTV cameraman arguing with Councillor Brian Ashton and asking "who gave permission to put them on in the first place," was on CITY-TV with Anne Rohmer and said the decals "send the message that the City of Toronto supports the mission in Afghanistan, and I don't believe we should be sending that message."
Councillor Brian Ashton was right in saying removing the ribbons would be a "black mark" on Toronto.
"It should be 45-0," adds Councillor Rob Ford. "We should all be 100% behind our brave troops."
Don't be so sure with this council.
The wind coming out of City Hall last night was ugly and word is the leftist crowd is going to try to have these ribbons removed -- hiding behind some phony one-year support decision.
But the public, this time, will not let them.
The nice thing about this is by the end of the day everybody on council will have to stand up and be counted.
And that includes Miller, who is showing himself to be a real coward in this by hiding behind his city manager, his fire chief, his EMS chief, his council speaker Sandra Bussin and anybody else he can put in the way to protect himself.
The troops over in Afghanistan sure wouldn't want this guy in their slit trench.
Miller may be able to manipulate council and city bureaucrats to dance around on strings but the public will see his stance for what it is.
The public is pissed about this. I've got some e-mails to prove it. Lots.
The most ever. And many firefighters and EMS staffers weighed in -- saying they want the ribbons to stay. "We want to support them," said veteran paramedic Mike Merriman, who is so adamant he pasted a piece of paper with the words "this stays" on his ambulance.
Now that's a leader.
As one reader e-mailed me, "if you don't want to stand behind your troops, try standing in front of them." You won't see Mayor David Miller there, who has got to know he is on the wrong side of this.
Every media have covered this. John Oakley at AM 640 was all over it and so were The Motts filling in for Bill Carroll on CFRB.
Miller's office received dozens of calls, too. But he has hinted he will vote against Nunziata's motion.
"I don't think, frankly, it's the job of city council to debate the war in Afghanistan," he told reporters yesterday. "The yellow ribbon, as you know, to many of us, means support for our troops. To some people it's a symbol of support for the war in Afghanistan."
He said the city has "received a number of calls from people who are concerned about the city expressing an opinion on the war. The program was always scheduled to last for a year. It will be wrapped up this fall."
Unfortunately the war won't be. Sorry, guys. We can only support you for one year, our mayor says.
Who does that? Appalling.
They are trying to spin it now but the words the decals did not meet "certain corporate standards" are still ringing in my ear. City manager Shirley Hoy called it a "one year support program" but no one so far has not produced a document indicating this. Even if they dig one up, who cares?
The troops don't get to come home after one year.
If council goes this way today, call this one a morale boost for the Taliban.
I dare Mr. Miller to do that! It will be the beginning of the end of your political career. You surely are not that stupid.
We'll see today.
WHAT YOU SAID
This is what our readers have to say:
"Removing the ribbons is ridiculous. The ribbons signify that emergency services support the women and men risking their lives, not whether or not they support the war."
-- Mike Osborne, Midland
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"As a member of the Canadian Forces who has served in Afghanistan, and someone who grew up in Toronto (East York), this is very upsetting. Great people stand up for themselves. Greater people, such as our troops, stand up for others. Please keep this in mind, City of Toronto."
-- Nick Manoukarakis, Kingston
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"Maybe Toronto politicians should worry about the huge debt the city is in, instead of who's showing support for our troops."
-- Paul Etherington, Whitby
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"We should support all Canadians -- have it be military, fire, police, etc.
Why not show we are proud of the people who assist us, protect us and even give their lives for us. The Americans do all the time. Wake up Canada and show your support!"
-- Darlene Lantz, Scarborough
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"I'm ashamed of the politicians who decided it wasn't right to allow these decals to stay on the very public vehicles. Just because it says we support our troops does not mean we agree with the war. The bottom line is that our boys and girls are dying for OUR country and the country of people who cannot fight for themselves." -- David Hauth, London, Ont.
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"A pox on the houses of those council members who would vote to have those decals removed! Even if I didn't believe in the necessity of our presence in Afghanistan, (and I most certainly do) I would still support our troops. Removal sends precisely the wrong message to our brave men and women over there."
-- Bruce Crocker Sr., Guelph