Today, Canadian veteran Mike Blais presents the mission statement for the Canadian Veterans Advocacy and explains how and why he founded this organization. BONNIE
Canadian Veterans Advocacy Mission Statement Update
Founder Michael L Blais CD
Commissioned December 6, 2010
Canadian Veterans Advocacy Mission Statement
To advocate for Canada’s sons and daughters as they serve in Harm’s Way.
To advocate for the abolishment of the lump sum award and restoration of a lifetime pension.
To advocate for an end to the widows tax.
To advocate for a comprehensive, family inclusive, PTSD program.
To advocate on behalf of all Agent Orange victims, CFB Gagetown.
To advocate on behalf of all veterans exposed to chemical agents at CFB Suffield.
To advocate for RCMP and police officer veterans who served beside our troops abroad.
To advocate for the crew affected by the fire on HMCS Kootenay.
To advocate for an end of the system clock back on 6,500 veterans VAC pensions.
To advocate for an end to the reduction of service/CPP disability pensions at age 65.
To advocate for substantive change and improvement to the New Veterans Charter.
To advocate for veterans and their wives in nursing homes to be united, not separated.
There are many other smaller issues that the Advocacy is willing to address on veterans behalf.
Please, the Canadian Veterans Advocacy is very active on the veterans file and is committed to attaining our primary mission – TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF OUR VETERANS!
Canadian Veterans Advocacy History
My name is Michael L Blais CD. I am a veteran of the Canadian Forces, joining in 1977 and serving a majority of my military career with the 1st and 3rd battalions, The Royal Canadian Regiment. After sustaining a lower back injury while on UN Peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, 1984, I was air evacuated to NDMC and after surgery, medically reassigned to the Canadian Forces Dental Services. A medical release would follow in 1993 after a second lower back operation in Germany while completing my second NATO tour at CFB Baden Soellingen.
On August 17, 2010, I would become a reluctant veterans’ advocate after viewing the extraordinary press conference of former PPCLI Colonel Patrick Stogran, Canada’s first veterans ombudsman. I believe that it is my duty as a veteran to stand up for those to who I have passed the torch and when I was apprised of the hardships they were enduring, I felt I had no alternative but to act. Many military, RCMP and police veterans share these loyal convictions and rallied to the Advocate’s call to unite and participate in the Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest, a successful national event that occurred at 11 AM local, 6 November, 2010.
The Canadian Veterans Advocacy was born of this successful mission, a veterans association guided by the One Veteran, One Standard motto and Canadian veterans’ patriotic zeal to defend Canada’s military heritage and Canadians currently on guard in the Canadian Forces.
Our duty, ladies and gentlemen, does not end when we turn in our uniforms. Our duty, my brother and sister in arms, is and always will be to Canada’s children, Our Children, many who have followed in our footsteps, honourably taken their places in our regiments, squadrons, the ships of the navy and the Coast Guard, the RCMP/police officers who deploy abroad and the veterans who have been injured and wounded on behalf of Canada.
Are you a retired member of the Canadian Forces, an RCMP or police officer who has attained veterans status? Did you feel the patriots call when reading this brief as have hundreds of others? Do you believe that your voice and support can contribute to the advocacy’s objectives?
We need your help. Only through uniting and waging our campaign on a variety of levels will veterans prevail. If so, Step Up! Join the Canadians Veterans Advocacy. Add your voice to ours as we exercise our democratic rights in defence of our wounded warriors, the same democratic rights we have defended with blood, toil and sacrifice.
Next year’s Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest is scheduled for November 5th, 2011, 11 am as the hour strikes in your community. Here is a link fo CTV’s national coverage for last year’s event.
We are not radicals or hooligans. We are proud veterans fulfilling our duty and, with all due respect, insisting Parliament’s life-time obligation to the nation’s disabled veterans, a responsibility abandoned by the New Veterans Charter and still, regardless of Minister’s Blackburn’s recent time restrictive and reactive proposals, still adrift.
Membership fees are based on the need to provide a war chest for next year’s operations, to finance ongoing Advocacy operations, particularly expenses incurred through travel, and to build a dedicated web site. Many veterans, myself included, incurred substantial expenses last November and we have been very active since. For example, we brought a carload of CAV advocates to Toronto on December 5th where I participated with an extraordinary press conference arranged by the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. These patriotic barristers have volunteered to provide pro-bono representation to veterans who have been denied or experienced adversarial consequences during the VAC claim process. We have been working diligently to expand this program nationwide. I also travelled to London and will be going to Toronto to meet with Ms Duncan, VA critic, Liberal party by the end of the month.
There is also a very important meeting with VAC senior bureaucrats from Charlottetown in Hamilton tentatively scheduled for the 3rd of February. At this time, the Advocacy’s service department volunteers will be briefed on how to better serve the Advocacy’s veterans should they require assistance filling out their VAC claims. There will also be informal and preliminary discussions on a variety of issues wherein we can, for the veterans improvement in quality of care, work together.
Should Minister Blackburn’s legislation actually move forward, I have plans to travel to Ottawa and at the invitation of MP Peter Stoffer, address these issues before parliamentary committee. There will also be a lobbying campaign initiated and a national press conference.
Membership fees have, purposefully, been kept low. I believe that if we all chip in twenty bucks into the Advocacy war chest and commit to rally to the call locally when required, there will be sufficient funds to cover the expenses and we can maintain/increase our momentum to attain our objectives. Several patriots have sent more as a donation and I will express our gratitude via a special page of commendation once the web site is up and running. Be advised that I am committed to fulfilling my duty and that I receive NO WAGES to pursue the advocacy’s goals, only expenses based on reality, not inflated mileage rates or meal tickets. All funds go to operations and logistics; wages, when necessary, will be limited to the cost of a business manager and accountant. I promise you, there will be transparency.
Be advised that the Canadian Veterans Advocacy will operate on several levels and has not been created simply to protest. This summer the CVA is planning a nation-wide Support The Troops rally tentatively on July 9th, 2011, in order to celebrate the end of the combat mission, honour those who have fought in Afghanistan war at a local level and raise funds for the creation of a new homeless centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. More to follow but I am currently involved in discussion with my local MPP etc etc wherein Niagara Falls would be the base for a National Veterans Rendezvous to coincide with the national event. I hope to organize a BIG concert down by the falls at night, a magnificent fireworks show and fall illuminations programs inclusive of the regimental-unit colours of Canada. The weekend event will be family friendly and include discounts on accommodations and attractions such as a Support the Troops rally / BBQ in the afternoon and a concert Saturday evening down by the falls.
Mark it on your calendar. Think about what YOU, the veterans of YOUR community, can do to support this effort by hosting a rally in YOUR town or city.
Michael L Blais CD
Founder/President, Canadian Veterans Advocacy.