Editorial: October 2014

Pride and purpose
Patrick Flannery
October 16, 2014
By
The OGMA’s support for Canadian veterans strikes a nerve.

The OGMA collected $5,500 for Wounded Warriors of Canada at its fall golf tournament. TAGG Industries, Valley Metal Finishing, the Toro group and Security Mirror all matched the OGMA’s $1,000 donation, with Quiktemp/Ultimate Creative Designs kicking in another $500. I’m highlighting this in my editorial because I’m proud to be working in an industry that will step up in this fashion to support those who have made such incredible sacrifices for this country. I hope the OGMA’s success with this fundraiser encourages them to repeat it, and inspires other organizations to do the same.

That Canadian veterans need help is beyond question. Canada’s Veteran Ombudsman, Guy Parent, pointed to numerous severe shortcomings in our post-service support for severely disabled veterans in a 2013 report. Many disabled veterans can’t work, yet are denied impairment benefits. Compensation beyond basic medical care is feeble, and support for transitioning from the military to a civilian career is inadequate. Pension benefits fall short of 70 per cent of pre-release salary, which is what most Canadians with pensions can expect. As far as I’m concerned, if you go to fight for this country and get permanently disabled doing it, you should get a free ride for the rest of your life – I am willing to pay for that. And if you serve in the military in any capacity, you certainly deserve at least the retirement benefits that some quaking scribbler like me can expect.

I know some military people. My great-grandfather and great-grandmother met overseas in World War I and I’ve read their letters. My grandfather was killed in World War II when my father was an infant. Many of my cousins are in the Forces and one has returned from Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder. My father-in-law spent 30 years in the military, and my wife grew up on bases across the country. I can report from direct experience that these are not people prone to asking for coddling or handouts. Unfortunately, these are exactly the kind of people who can get ignored while other, shall we say, “whinier” groups are handed blank cheques.

So, good on the OGMA and all the members who supported this cause. Initiatives like this highlight other ways in which associations are important to an industry. Without the OGMA, how would the various companies involved have gotten organized to make this group effort to raise money? It is doubtful whether it would have happened at all. And now that it has, everyone involved can feel proud. Is there some value in feeling proud of your profession and your trade? I’m always reading that millennials entering the workforce want to feel their job has some meaning or significance beyond just the paycheque. And I’m reading (and hearing) at least as often about the difficulties we have attracting new talent to the trade. Maybe the OGMA is on to a way to broaden the appeal and visibility of the glass construction industry.


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