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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 5/10/2001 9:53:50 AM EST
Politician Reprimanded for Snubbing War Veteran Updated: Thu, May 10 6:59 AM EDT OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien reprimanded a member of his ruling Liberal Party on Wednesday for snubbing a deaf and blind war veteran purely because he had voted for another party in the last election. Tom Wappel, member of Parliament for a Toronto constituency, was evidently in a bad mood when he received a letter from 81-year-old Jim Baxter asking for help in his bid to gain a veteran's benefit. "How is that you are writing to me for help if you did not think enough of my abilities to justify voting for me?" Wappel wrote in reply, saying his records showed Baxter had voted for the Canadian Alliance opposition in last November's election. Grant Hill of the Alliance, decrying what he said was "a dreadful, dreadful situation", asked Chretien in Parliament whether he would make clear to Liberal legislators that the incident would never be repeated. "I did," Chretien replied, saying he had talked to Wappel earlier in the day about the "unfortunate" letter and that the member of Parliament had promised to help Baxter. Opposition members said the incident was just another sign of arrogance by the Liberals, who have been in power for almost eight years and are faced with a deeply divided set of opponents in Parliament. "To decide you're not going to help somebody on the basis of the fact that they didn't support you, particularly in an incident like this...is appalling," said Bill Blaikie of the left-leaning New Democrats. "Certainly there is a kind of arrogance on the part of the Liberals, which makes them more insensitive than they might otherwise be," he told reporters. Wappel was out of Ottawa and not available for comment.
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