Airlifted out of Afghanistan, Canada's wounded warriors are waging a while new battle on the home front. Also in the issue of Maclean's hitting newsstands starting today: the thawing of Stephen Harper - how Tories are making nice TORONTO, March 15 /CNW/ - To date, more than 300 Canadian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan - some in battle, some by accident. Nearly half - 136 - were so badly hurt they needed to be flown back to Canada. Few have returned to work. For them, the war on terror proved to be much more than a six-month tour. Not since Korea has the country welcomed home so many injured soldiers. "All the financial benefits," writes Maclean's senior writer Michael Friscolanti, "and all the moral support will not change the fact that hundreds of Canadian soldiers have been injured in Afghanistan - or that hundreds more will be. In the end, it is up to them - and them alone - to heal." Every day, all across the country, anonymous privates and captains and sergeants endure the slow, monotonous grind of doctors' appointments and rehab sessions, teaching themselves to walk again or write again or remember things as easily as they once did. Some will see visible results, and then there will be those determined few who come so excruciatingly close to recovery, only to be told - thanks to a controversial new policy - that their careers are over. There was a time when the military would do its best to find spots for wounded troops who still wanted to serve. "Not anymore," Friscolanti reports. Last May, the Forces announced a new policy that will spell the end to many careers - regardless of the soldier's wishes. According to the new rule, a permanently injured soldier is only allowed to stay on the job for three more years, and only in certain circumstances. After that, it's a medical discharge. Read more in the issue of Maclean's hitting newsstands starting today. A Tory makeover? The thawing of Stephen Harper There are two ways to think about election timing. One has to do mostly with polling numbers, the other mainly with political instincts. For years Stephen Harper looked like a man of icy calculation, very much the sort who would go with the numbers. If that were still the case, the chances of the Prime Minister triggering an election this spring, even with his lead in the polls and his recent dominance of the federal agenda, would have to be reckoned at no better than 50/50. But a different view of Harper is coming into focus, one that casts him as less methodical, more intuitive. This new go-for-broke Harper abruptly reverses tack on the environment or daringly tables a motion to redefine the Québécois as a nation within Canada. He can look relaxed, even mischievous, in the House of Commons. "And," writes Maclean's Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes, "it's this revised Harper who might just risk it all at the ballot box if it felt right, even if the pollsters didn't see it that way." Read more in this week's Maclean's. About Maclean's: Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine. Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.9 million readers with strong investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.