Bill C-55 falls short of assuring veterans they can trust Veterans Affairs Canada. Ken Young tells why. BONNIE
A veteran’s reason to scream foul
By Kenneth H. Young CD
The sole purpose of existing for Veterans Affairs Canada, also known as (VAC), is to administer, see to and help with the medical, mental, social and financial needs of Canada’s past Military and RCMP personal, also known as Veterans. For the most part, this is and has been done by many very dedicated and compassionate front-line workers within the VAC. When treated with respect, understanding and fairness, most veterans are actually happy with the level of service which they receive. Yeah sure, we could all use a bit more money. Then again who couldn’t? And we definitely could use a more streamlined as well as a less confusing disability pension process.
BUT today, Veterans are faced with a situation which cannot go away by ignoring it—one which seems to have tied the hands (or so we are told) of Ottawa and Minister of Veterans Affairs Mr. Blackburn. They point their finger at the Public Services Union. And we’re told they can do nothing about it. Worse yet, the offenders have actually been rewarded with money, paid time off and promotion for their indiscretions and mistreatment of the very veterans they are obligated to serve and help.
What am I talking about? Invading veterans’ right to privacy. Specifically, VAC staff who snooped into the private military and medical files of one veteran advocate and illegally used the records there to discredit the veteran because he chose to disagree with their wishes and reasoning behind the implementation of the New Veterans Charter and continued to work as an advocate for other veterans in their disputes with the VAC.
This veteran had a documented case of PTSD, a condition which often involves depression and paranoia, and in this case, if the Veteran had a case of paranoia or not, definitely didn’t exclude the fact that they were out to get him, a fact which could only have added to both his depression and paranoia.
So basically, there are 54 known VAC employees, still working at VAC, who not only did not provide the help, care and understanding this veteran needed, but actively added to and maliciously contributed to his already identified condition.
By Mr. Blackburn’s own words, “I apologize for what happened to this man and the others,” would seem to indicate that this advocate wasn’t the only one whose privacy was invaded. What adds to the outrage is the VAC staff responsible have not only been left in place but some have also been promoted. They’ve been rewarded for breaking the law. Could we be so lucky if we committed an equal crime? I wish I believed we are seeing the end of VAC prying into vets’ records but something tells me we’re not looking at the last case.
Should Veterans be asked or should I say forced to continue on as if it never happened? It’s not as if Veterans have a second choice for their needs. Because of VAC’s breach of privacy, many of us veterans no longer trust VAC’s security and integrity in respecting or guarding the privacy of our medical files.
To me, this is an unworkable situation for veterans but sadly, it is also destroying the reputation of so many front-line workers still trying to work under these adverse conditions. They too have no idea whom they can trust.
Sadly, Bill C-55 does not change this overall distrust.Kenneth H. Young CD Email: Kentar@telus.net Phone: 250-758-8837
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