Sean Bruyea, a former intelligence officer and vet whose privacy our government and Veterans Affairs bureaucrats has breached, writes his own plea to Canadians. It is a touching reminder of how our soldiers have suffered in silence for so long because they are Canadians, and Canadians do not whine and complain, eh. See GLOBAL NEWS coverage.
Sean has also served in theatres where our peacekeepers were issued the antimalaria drug mefloquine as a preventive treatment against contracting the disease. Many have suffered its adverse effects in equal silence and may not know they were unwitting guinea pigs at the time. Despite recent findings and the recommendation to withdraw mefloquine as the malaria preventive treatment of choice by the U.S. Department of National Defence in 2008, American troops are still handed doggie bags of mefloquine to take once a week while on deployment in Afghanistan. So too are Canadian troops.
Between 1990 and October 7, 2002, 164 serving members of the Canadian Forces (CF), both Regular Force and Reservists, committed suicide. How many of these suicides can be directly attributed to the brain damage caused by mefloquine, which becomes a neurological toxin when it is not passed out of the body efficiently. No one knows before they take mefloquine whether they will be one of the ten percent who cannot process the drug properly.
The grievances of our vets need to be addressed in full with proper restitution by the government and people of Canada. They have suffered in silence on our behalf long enough.
Here now is the letter Sean has written to Canadians. Repost with advanced permission.
Serving and retired military know all too well what a wonderful country we have. We know this more than most because we promised to die unquestioningly for Canada and Canadians.
Those of us who survived the missions to the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia , Rwanda , Somalia , Afghanistan and so many forgotten deployments, returned having sacrificed our bodies, souls and minds. But we did this proudly and with the reassurance that while we took care of the world and protected Canada , Canada promised to take care of us.
Sadly, the government has failed to do this and it is all about money. We understand that there is a limited pot to hand out. So we remained silent as the country prospered building itself into a beautiful and productive nation… mortgaged on our sacrifices and the promises to care for us. We were ashamed of asking Canada for help.
We do not want to get rich on our disabilities and we certainly did not want to be disabled. More painfully, we did not want to see our families torn apart unable to deal with our psychological and physical wounds. But we cannot understand why the same Canadian government which ordered us to make sacrifices enriches itself while refusing to make adequate payments on the debt owed to us, Canada ’s injured and disabled veterans.
Why is it that Australia , a nation much like Canada , has half the veteran population of Canada and yet actively cares for twice the number of veterans and families as Canada …and Australia spends three times as much as Canada in caring for its injured soldiers and their families?
We have been silent hoping Canadians would care for and protect us as we cared for and protected Canadians in uniform. Unfortunately, the Canadian federal government decision-makers earning over $250,000 per year, almost all collecting annual ‘risk bonuses’, have used our shame and silence against us. They incorrectly tell Canadians that we are all cared for, that we don’t deserve any more and therefore Canada can save money by not spending any more on, us, we disabled veterans and our families.
This is why on November 6, 2010, Canadian Veterans will be joined by their families and all those Canadians who believe our sacrifices worthy. We will peacefully march across this great nation, maybe only in small numbers in the smallest of towns, but each of us holding our heads high for the more than 680,000 serving and retired Canadian Forces members and our families who have given so much so you may live in peace.
Thank you Canada
Canadian Veterans and our Families
(Author Sean Bruyea)