NEW SERIES: The Canada Our Vets Want to Build — Their Fight for Rights and Compassionate Treatment POST TWENTY-ONE

On assignment to Rwanda in 1994, I saw what “undermanned and under-equipped” meant. Canada often transported its troops in contracted Russian Antonov 124 cargo freighters with bald tires and faulty air pressure. On one flight out of Trenton, the plane had to land in Montreal because the troops on board had fallen unconscious. The air pressure had quit working. While landing in Djibouti, Africa,  a tire blew on landing. I said then if the Minister of Defence had travelled with me for those nine days, he might have a different outlook, but that was asking too much because he didn’t even sit in meetings with his chiefs of staff. That’s 17 years ago and such conditions have changed. Peter McKay has been a very involved Minister of Defence. But, veterans are treated worse than they have ever been treated. That’s a big, current problem. And Ken talks about the repercussions of Ottawa‘s callous treatment of the military for all Canadians. BONNIE

When it comes to the military in Canada, your choices are quickly running out.

by Kenneth H. Young CD

For decades, Canada enjoyed the world’s envy of its long established, exceptionally trained, completely dedicated and wholly volunteer Military. Despite those politicians who would rather be known for “battles won” than “wars prevented” and often, in my opinion,  in spite of inept as well as toothless responses from the United Nations headquarters to crisis interventions such as found in Rwanda, the Canadian Military were extremely proud of their Peacekeeping missions and the many lives it saved. Men and women were proud, ready, willing and able as well as very often enthusiastic to join what was a way of life, rather than a job.

 But years ago, starting somewhere in the 50s or 60s, it became politically expedient and therefore advantageous to save money on the backs of both our Military and our Veterans. Veterans who used to be all treated the same were suddenly slotted into different categories depending on eligibilities and access to Veterans Affairs pensions and programs.

In effect, Canada created a Veterans Class System. Now there were conditions if you were hurt or killed serving your country. You better be in the right location, doing specific things, and on given days or Ottawa’s responsibility to the Military either vanished or, in the best case scenario for a soldier, awarded a severely reduced liability. Ottawa dipped into the Military’s pension funds (to the tune of some say 30 billion dollars) and used it to reduce Canada’s deficit. Basically,          Ottawa wanted to spend more in order to please the people and get elected, so it was decided that soldiers and RCMP pension funds would be drained to foot the bill.

Then along came the New Veterans Charter, which virtually eliminates any Veteran’s lifelong disability pension at 10% of the cost. Military personnel sent into harm’s way today have to pay their own disability insurance premiums, and now we are also told that disabled and injured veterans have to wait until a non-Medical and non-Military panel of bureaucrats in Veterans Affairs Canada decide what kind, how many, how often and even if they are entitled to medical treatment.

To be honest, the Canadian military has often suffered because of penny-pinching equipment purchases. They have often had to use out-dated second- or even third-class transportation, have never had the best of accommodations when in the field and, because of fiscal restraints, been forced to work undermanned and under-supported.

But the total destruction of their morale due to the treatment, or lack thereof, given  fellow military–especially when it comes to medical attention–is going too far.

With the lack of enrolment into the forces, which I contend is due to the mistreatment of veterans, it would not surprise me if Canada soon reverts to a Draft Military. We are no longer Peacekeepers under the present government but rather combat forces, and if Ottawa continues to insist on going to war, it will need your sons and daughters to die for Canada.

Canadians, you either need to become willing to pay properly for your Military and the disabled Veterans that it creates in a way which makes young Canadians willing to Volunteer to fight your battles for you or you will end up paying with your unwilling sons and daughters. Either way Ottawa will continue to send Canada’s military into harm’s way, and they will take whatever they need to do so.

Kenneth H. Young CDCanadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada

About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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4 Responses to NEW SERIES: The Canada Our Vets Want to Build — Their Fight for Rights and Compassionate Treatment POST TWENTY-ONE

  1. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Cheers

    • I think this must be an internet browser compatibility issue. I can’t do anything about that as these blogs are set up for Internet Explorer compatibility.


      • ‘We are all one’, lest we forget how much we really pay

        Brian Bradley
        #801, 939 Bracewood Dr. S.W.
        Calgary, AB, Canada T2W 3M4
        Ph.: (403) 455 – 9353

        To whom it may concern,

        Over the past 16 years this Canadian veteran has been forced by the unlawful decisions of the VRAB (Veterans Review and Appeal Board; a division of Veterans Affairs) to bring ‘motions’ to the Fed. Ct. (Trial Division, ref. #’s T-157-98; T-2137-99; T-67-03; T-401-05 & T-617-09; see the …really-pay hyperlink at signature block) in an attempt to force the government of Canada to pay the disability pension benefits that this Applicant seeks. In 5 (including the last 2) out of 6 rulings by the Fed. Ct., this matter has been referred back to the VRAB (i.e., ruled in favour of this veteran). As in another instance (refer to Fed. Ct. case# T-2137-99), this veteran is left waiting while the VRAB stall and do nothing towards recognizing their obligations to this veteran (and all other veterans of the Canadian Forces and Mounted Police).

        While awaiting for something called the actual service of justice, this Applicant has also been denied (over the past 5-6 years) disability pension benefits by the CPP group …. with this second unlawful dept. using the same unfounded ‘excuses’ that the VRAB used (and which resulted in the rulings against the VRAB). I recently received a ruling of the Fed. Ct. which essentially denied me the right to bring this matter before them in my search of justice ….. thus extending and amplifying this exercise in futility for this veteran ….. along with that of far too many other veterans like him.

        If this is the manner in which the government of Canada treats the men and women who have placed their lives on the line for that same government in local and foreign theatres of conflict, how must one believe that that same government is treating the remainder of the Canadian citizens such as you and your family members?

        I have contacted Legal Aid AB, Legal Guidance Calgary, and a half dozen other organizations in my search for justice (not to mention in excess of 400 solicitors in the Calgary, Alberta and other Canadian provinces), and have yet to find a solicitor willing to act on a ‘pro bono’ basis in representing this Applicant’s claims with the Canadian government departments concerned. While such an effort requires an exceptional level of honesty and integrity, where can I find such an ‘animal’? Do you have what it takes?

        Brian Bradley
        #801, 939 Bracewood Dr. S.W.
        Calgary, AB, Canada T2W 3M4
        Ph.: (403) 455 – 9353

        How Much Do We Really Pay?
        ….. & OTHER INJUSTICES (‘click on’ the Internet hyperlinks provided below)

        The following revised history of this veteran’s claims with Veterans Affairs is due solely to both the exceptional and outstanding “temerity” of Canadian Senator T. Banks, along with his persistent patience with this veteran. All of which prompts the belated expression of this veteran’s gratitude for such a diligent Senator. Thank you very much Senator T. Banks.

        My name is Brian C. Bradley. I am a Veteran of the Canadian Forces.

        In 1966 I completed my army reserve basic training. In 1989 I completed my army reserve officer training, and began nearly five years of service in the Canadian Navy training as a Combat Systems Engineer (CSE, or 044A in Canadian military classifcations). This same ‘five years of service’ began with basic officer training at Chilliwack, B.C., continued with second-language training at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, and a year in Esquimalt, followed by just under three years of service in Halifax, NS.

        While training in Esquimalt, I was billeted to the HMCS Qu’Apelle, where I suffered a fall in the shower onboard that warship, injuring my spinal cord at three levels.

        Because the accident occurred while the HMCS Qu’Appelle was away from her home port, I was confined to my rack, and provided with painkillers until returning to Esquimalt five days later. On arriving there, I was rushed by ambulance to the base hospital.

        Other than being supplied with additional pain killers and 3 or 4 brief sessions of physiotherapy, my real injuries were not treated at that base hospital, nor at the base hospital in Halifax, where I was sent about two months later as part of the next phase of training.

        Upon release from the Canadian Navy in 1993 I was assessed by a civilian general practitioner in Lower Sackville, NS, who immediately identified a C5/C6 radiculopathy (upper spinal cord condition), along with indications of other potential spinal cord level involvement, that had resulted from the accident onboard the HMCS Qu’Appelle.

        This same GP initially referred me for assessment to a diagnostic service in Halifax (i.e., spinal cord MRI), an orthopaedic surgeon, and an internal medicine specialist. All of these physicians agreed that the three levels of spinal cord injuries (i.e., C5/C6; T11/T12 & L2/L3) were most likely the result of the accident that had occurred while I was serving onboard HMCS Qu’Appelle.

        Email author: bcbrad3

        In March 1996 I applied to the Veterans’ Review and Appeal Board (VRAB; a division of Veterans Affairs) for a disability pension. On three separate occasions within the first year of application (refer to Table ‘A’ on next page) the VRAB ruled against my application for a disability pension. I then obtained a ruling from the Trial Division of the Federal Court (Fed. Ct.) that the matter be referred back to a differently-constituted panel of the VRAB board (Fed. Ct. case T-157-98).

        In the next year, the allegedly differently-constituted VRAB panel ruled twice more against my claim. The matter was once again brought before the Trial Division which ruled that the matter be referred back to a differently-constituted panel and awarded me costs (Fed. Ct. case T-2137-99).

        Because this next allegedly differently-constituted VRAB panel failed to provide a decision within the next year, I filed a motion of Contempt of Court with the Trial Division. While the Trial Division (i.e., the Hon. Mr. Justice Martineau) would not grant this motion by citing the VRAB in contempt, it did again award me costs, even though none were requested, and supplied a step-by-step procedure to obtain justice in my case.

        With no legal training, I attempted to bring the VRAB before the Trial Division again, after being once again denied a disability pension by the VRAB’s next (and sixth) decision. I lost this decision despite having provided professional testimony from a neurosurgeon, an orthopaedic surgeon and a general practitioner with more than 35 years of experience.
        Email author: bcbrad3

        None of these submissions by physicians were contradicted by testimony from similar professionals on behalf of the VRAB, yet the Trial Division of the Fed. Ct. ruled against my claims.

        I was encouraged to re-approach the Trial Division based upon the experience of a lady who won her case in the Appeal Division in Ontario using my first two cases (i.e., T-157-98 & T-2137-99) as precedents.

        To render such a re-approach at such a late stage in the events, I was encouraged to concentrate on my lower back injuries …. thereby, allegedly attesting to settlement for the upper back injuries …. with neither of these settlements ever occurring!

        Not more than four years ago, The Trial Division ruled again in my favour (T-401-05) and referred the matter back again to a differently-constituted panel of the VRAB board. That same board ruled on four more separate occasions against my application for a disability pension, forcing the matter back to the Trial Division for ultimate resolution (T-617-09).

        The VRAB fully exhausted the total number of decisions to which they were entitled in my application, recognizing that an award to me of a disability pension would mean financial ruin and subsequent political suicide for the government ‘in charge’ at the time of such a decision, given the tens of thousands of other veterans who remained deprived of such benefits.

        The Hon. Mr. Justice Phelan (T-617-09) decided: “THIS COURT’S JUDGMENT is that the application for judicial review is granted and the Appeal Board’s decision is quashed.” Unfortunately, such a ruling does nothing more than refer the same matter back to the Respondent (e.g., Veterans’ Affairs), thus prolonging the history of my claims and thereby moving the VA’s actions from the ridiculous to the sublime.

        While Canadian governments over the past 80+ years have continued to disregard their legislated obligations to veterans of the CF and Mounted Police, how do you think these same governments are treating(?) the remainder of Canadian citizens?

        Email author: bcbrad3

        On top of all of this, I have had to represent myself in the Trial Division of the Fed. Ct. on several separate occasions with at least 6 of these applying to my claims with the VRAB [refer to case numbers: T-157-98, Bradley v. Canada (Attorney General), 1999 CanLII 7476 (F.C.) or; T-2137-99, Bradley v. Canada (Attorney General), 2001 FCT 793 or; T-2137-99, Bradley v. Canada (Attorney General), 2003 FCT 12 (CanLII) or; T-67-03, Bradley v. Canada (Attorney General), 2004 FC 996 or; T-401-05, Bradley v. Canada (Attorney General), 2005 FC 1470 or; and T-617-09, Bradley v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 FC 309 or

        In all of these decisions (including the latter two), the Hon. Justices supported my claims and rejected the VRAB’s decisions. The greater weight of factual evidence by specialists in the fields of medicine applicable to my spinal cord injuries supported my claims, as did the greater majority of the above-listed decisions.

        Who but a politician who allegedly represents his electorate but didn’t see ‘adequate votes’ in seriously supporting this applicant’s claims, would ignore these facts and not attempt to ensure this applicant receive something resembling the actual service of justice …. not to mention the adherence to legislated laws by a Fed. government dept. (i.e., VRAB)?

        History has been written, how more often do we have to ignore it before learning our lessons? To support our (i.e., all veterans’) efforts ‘click on’ the following and join our group:
        Email author: bcbrad3

        Yours truly,

        Brian C. Bradley

        ‘We are all one’, lest we forget

        Brian Bradley
        #801, 939 Bracewood Dr. S.W.
        Calgary, AB, Canada T2W 3M4
        Ph.: (403) 455 – 9353

  2. Brian, this deserves a full blog rather than being buried in the comments so I am reposting what has happened to you.


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