Alberta Expands Veteran License Plate Program

Today the province expanded the program by which veterans of the Canadian Forces can get their own license plates. Okay, somebody's gotta say it: I'm against it. A while ago I mentioned a friend who formerly served in the Canadian Forces in Bosnia. He has a veteran license plate: he's a retired serviceman with more than ten years in the service and therefore a veteran according to the Royal Canadian Legion, who decides who is and is not a veteran for the purposes of the Alberta program. The problem is that he's not a veteran of the First or Second World War, or Korea. I don't mean this to diminish the services of later members of CF (though I am told that Cypress or late-to-the-Bosnian-party peacekeepers or German-stationed forces are sort of looked down on in the service -- particularly when they try to talk big about being in the Army.), my purposes for this is entirely selfish. You see, this guy is a mid-30something man driving a fairly nice car.

Veterans plates used to be easy ways to predict when you were stuck behind an old person.
How many times, I wonder, did I come up behind a veteran plate and realize that I could switch to the other lane and easily get in front of the old geezer long before I needed to be back in that lane. However, when the province relaxed the definitions to the Legion standards and started letting youngish people get the plates, this predictive ability was severely hampered. Ed Stelmach, you have just obliterated the predictive ability entirely: now other than Chinese flags or Student Driver signs we have nothing left.. Most modern day soldiers (my friend notably excluded) have no problem with WWII or Korean veterans getting special veteran plates, and more recent veterans or current members getting a "member of Canada's Armed Forces" plate of a different design. This would not only recognize particularly in WWII the much more extreme nature of the service: 0.40% of the 1939 Canadian population died in the 6 years of dubya-dubya-two, which would translate to one hundred twenty thousand and twenty-eight deaths in Afghanistan -- just from 2001 until 2007. But primarily for my purposes it means that you would again be able to know when the veteran in front of you is unlikely to approach the speed limit on the same calendar day that the light turns green. And that, my friends, is a Veteran Affairs outreach initiative I can get firmly behind. And by behind I mean beside so that I can gun it when the light turns green.