One veteran’s open letter of thanks to Veterans Affairs for apologizing to fellow vet on hunger strike.

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.”



Dear Mr. Blaney,

I would like to thank you personally for the decision that your department made in the Fabien Melanson hunger strike case. Maybe Fabien can soon get his credit rating back on track to help him finance some of the fixings of his home.
I also realize that this is just the beginning of your work for veterans as the Minister of Veterans Affairs and that many of the problems you will face in the next few years, are not of your making but as always the Minister, in this case you, are and will continue to be stuck with errors whether innocently or intentionally made in the past by your department and predecessors.
Veterans are now becoming involved with their own destiny and have also begun to organize as groups of Veterans with specific issues. Although some of the groups may not have a very large membership, most of the groups are now working together for the goal of fair treatment to our long forgotten Canadian Veteran.
“All Veterans, One Standard” is becoming the rule of thumb and the crying call of many groups and Veterans are now coming out of the darkness and secrecy with their problems. They are finding out that they are not now and will never again be left alone with their problems when dealing with the VAC, DND or the VRAB. Veterans will no longer suffer in silence nor will we ever allow decisions to be made in secrecy and without redress again.

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.

In my opinion, I believe that although a bit slow off the mark, you did in fact come through for the veteran before it got out of hand. I would like to thank you and your department for this, and I hope that many of our issues in the future receive the same dedication and understanding. I look forward to future dialog and problem solving with you and your department.
Again Thank you.
Pass no Fault.

Kenneth H. Young CD
Canadian 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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One Response to One veteran’s open letter of thanks to Veterans Affairs for apologizing to fellow vet on hunger strike.

  1. Gary Goode says:

    It is with some reluctance that I respond negatively to Mr. Young’s open letter to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Young usually hits the nail square on the head and is not afraid to call a spade a spade. I believe Mr. Young’s high praise for the Minister of Veterans Affairs is somewhat premature in regards to Fabien Melanson’s case.

    I believe praise is due when it is deserved and I would be the first to give high regards to those in authority who show compassion and administer true justice freely. The apology given to Mr. Melanson by Veterans Affairs was forced out of them and because Mr. Melanson had had enough and staged a personal protest. Fabien leads by example, but he still has not received the compassion or the justice he deserves by VAC or the Government.

    If there is any praise due, it is to Mr. Melanson for his personal sacrifice and his leadership on behalf of all Veteran and the continued abuse that is suffered onto them by VAC and the Conservative Government.

    Thank-you for your selfless service Fabien, I appreciate the giving of yourself freely for the benefit of all.
    You are amazing and deserving of the highest of praises.

    Gary Goode

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