Out of his concern for the way veterans have been treated up until now, Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret) has contributed many articles on Homecoming Vets. In this one, he thanks Canada’s new Minister of Veterans Affairs, Steve Blaney, for interceding on Fabien Melanson’s hunger strike and providing the apology that will help Fabien put his life back on track.
As Ken says, “I would never ask any veteran to hold back criticism of Government MPs or their departments, but I would like to see a bit more thanks when they do something right. Let’s not be sparing in our complaints but also not be too stingy in our compliments. This week alone, Banks, Minister of Veterans Affairs, VAC and OVO have worked closely with veterans organizations and even individuals to help them improve their lives. Although I read and share on Facebook many of their letters to Editors and MPs when they have complaints, there have been precious few letters of thanks for me to share even though not everything is done wrongly.
“People are helping Veterans and many give from the heart. If we are thankless toward their efforts, many may well stop the somewhat thankless and sometimes costly generosity which has been shown to us. Remember that more flies are caught with honey than with vinegar.
“And if we have the time and can give the effort to condemn VAC and the Minister for their lack of caring in Fabien’s case, we should also make the effort to thank the Minister when it gets corrected.”
OPEN LETTER TO THE HONOURABLE STEVEN BLANEY
Dear Mr. Blaney,
One thing that you might wish to think about is to have every Veteran who has a case come before the VRAB, present at the hearing if for no other reason then to hear first-hand how his or her case is being presented to the Board. I believe that, although there are definitely some bad decisions made by the Board, much of our veterans’ frustrations stem from the Board’s lack of knowledge about their conditions. They are also frustrated with the Board’s attitude of keeping them out of the communication loop, especially when their well being and medical care is being discussed behind their backs. We need a more open forum and process when going through these review proceedings.
Also I hope that you will continue to work with and for Mr. Melanson and his rebuilding of his home. I know that there isn’t a provision within the VAC to help with the costs involved here, due to their error, but maybe there should be. No other company, group or institute is exempt from the responsibility of their mistakes. Just saying that there is no provisions within the VAC to compensate Fabien or to help him recover his costs because of this error is not good enough. What’s even more important to veterans is that it is not fair.
Veterans deserve to be treated fairly, with dignity, and respect. They have earned that right when they wrote a blank check made payable to “Canada,” for an amount up to and including their lives, by joining the Canadian Armed Forces and freely volunteering to serve Canada and the Canadian way.
Kenneth H. Young CD
Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada