Canadian Veterans’ protest growing with more gov’t.-broken promises–add your voice to their voice–one standard of care for all wounded–join their rally in Ottawa


Once again, our government has failed to deliver on its rhetoric and we must call on all Canadians, wherever you live, to stand beside the men and women who have served our country on our behalf. Michael L Blais CD, Founder-President, Canadian Veterans Advocacy, sounds the clarion to gather us on Ottawa’s doorstep November 5, 2011 to voice our discontent, disappointment and alarm with our government’s continued disdain for our wounded sisters and brothers, sons and daughters who have served both in the military and in the RCMP. Whether deployed to combat and hot beds of discontent or to humanitarian disasters around the world,  it matters not. Whether they have been on war or peacekeeping missions, the result is the same. Wounded are wounded. It’s our responsibility to see that they are cared for throughout their lifetimes. BONNIE 

2nd Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest – 1100hrs 5/11/11.

The 2nd Canadians Veterans National Day of Protest has been confirmed for Saturday, November 5th, 2011. Once again, Canada’s veterans and patriots who stand on guard for Canada’s sons and daughters serving in uniform today have been called to publicly demonstrate our profound displeasure over the Canadian government’s lack of substantive reform to the New Veterans Charter.

Two things of critical importance have transpired during the past two months. First, the announcement at the recent VAC stakeholders advisory committee’s that the department’s operating budget was facing a five to ten percent cut as a part of the government’s debt-reduction approach, even though we are still at a state of conflict in Afghanistan and more Afghan and peacekeeping era veterans are turning for assistance to Veterans Affairs Canada.

The CVA believes there should be NO CUTS at Veterans Affairs Canada when this nation is engaged in war, that the department responsible for our war wounded should be immune to any government debt-reduction programs and provided the full resources to focus entirely on the welfare of our wounded warriors.

The second issue alarm relates to the much heralded $2 billion of relief promised last autumn prior to the 1st Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest. As oft times reported, this substantial amount reflected an urgent and dire need for many veterans — tacit recognition, I might add, that the NVC has proven to be an abject failure. This July, Minister Blaney announced the precise nature of the regulatory issues inherent with Bill C-55’s legislative enhancements, revelations that were promptly lambasted by prominent veterans advocate Sean Bruyea and former Veterans Ombudsman Patrick Stogran, who termed it Smoke and Mirrors. It is important to note that the 2 Billion dollars is spread over the lifetime of the projected enhancements and considering the modest age of Afghan wounded, 50 years is not unreasonable. VAC ADM Gilbert has informed me of the 2 B, 189 million will be spent per year over the next five years… 945 mill deducted from 2 Billion… 1.55 billion divided by 45 years…. A mere 23 million dollars per year?Huh Canada has just sustained five years of hard combat, 157 dead and hundreds upon hundreds of wounded. Over six hundred of our brothers and sisters are serving on the Libyan front and many others have been deployed across the globe in various capacities on behalf of Canada. How long will it be before our troops are engaged in peacekeeping/making Somalia, or the Sudan?

Furthermore, none of the enhancements provided through Bill C-55 recognize the fact that our veterans will require financial support after they reach the age of 65. Pain and suffering does not disappear when you reach mandatory retirement age. Most of C-55’s enhancements are fully taxed and as such, tens of millions of dollars will be clawed back in the form of taxation on a disability award. Provincial disability pensions are not taxed, nor are VAC pensions prior to 2006? Why should our Afghan war wounded not be accorded the same status?

Permanent Injury Award? Veterans Advocate Dennis Manuge (SISIP) confirmed through Minister Blaney’s office that only those awarded a 98% percent disability will be eligible for the 1000 dollar, tax free PIA. Sadly, thousands of veterans have been rendered unemployable through the permanence of their injuries yet are not accorded such a high level of compensation. Why are they not entitled to the PIA?  

I would also remind veterans that Bill C-55 addressed ONLY four recommendations out of hundreds proposed by the formal stakeholder advisory groups. Equally disappointing is the fact that Bill C-55’s regulatory changes are NOT retroactive for the twenty-three hundred veterans, those whose plight highlighted the consequences of the NVC and necessitated a need for a regulatory, not C-55 legislated, 40k assurance merely to provide an existence slightly above the poverty level. Be advised, this was a regulatory issue, not a component of Bill C-55! Be advised that not only are these regulatory changes NOT retroactive, they are fully taxed!

Those currently serving who cannot meet the standard physical standards will be released three years after the final determination is made. Consequently, hundreds of our most seriously injured brothers and sisters will soon be prey to this unjust policy. My regiment, The RCR, is currently tracking over 180 Afghanistan War combat injured and another 60 plus NCIs (Non-Combat Injuries), numbers, considering the prolonged intensity of the combat, the PPCLI and Vandoo’s most likely share. These are the men and women who will be the victims of the New Veterans Charter. They are the armless, legless, blind, deaf: those who have suffered terrible physical and mental consequences, those who did not return from Afghanistan and elsewhere across the globe to Canada, their families and brothers/sisters in arms as the vibrant young men and women who deployed a lifetime ago.  

Is it not OUR DUTY as veterans, as Canadian patriots, as soldiers, airmen, sailors, law-enforcement officers, Mounties… to stand on guard for this generation of Canadians warriors as they now stand on guard for us and all Canadians?

When the valiant are being subject to lesser standard then that of which has been provided to our generation, what choice do we have but to speak out, to fight to ensure our voices are heard!

One veteran, One Standard!

It matters not what era, what branch, or where you served. What matters is that all veterans are treated with the same dignified standard established by decades of veterans advocacy and reflected in the respectful life-time obligation of the Pension Act prior to the enactment of the New Veterans Charter in 2006.  

We must, independent yet unified under common cause, stand together on behalf of those who serve today!

We must take definitive action, use every democratic resource at our collective command to inform the Canadian people of the serious hardships that our disabled veterans and their families have been subject to and seek their support. Only then will the government implement the reforms necessary to return the dignified, life-time quality of life all of Canada’s wounded warriors so richly deserve.

Most of the recommendations of the traditional veterans’ stakeholders advisory committee’s have been ignored. Just this past week, Patricia Varga, Royal Canadian Legion Dominion president, accused the Harper Government of discrimination against thousands of non-Afghanistan war veterans who, through Bill C-55’s enhancements, are not entitled to the same standard of care as those who served in Afghanistan. The CVA feels it is profoundly discriminatory that those who have suffered the extreme consequences of the Afghanistan War since the New Veterans Charter’s enactment in 2006 are now subject to a different, much lower standard of dignity, compensation and respect for their sacrifice than those who served prior to April, 2006.

Do you share these beliefs?

Are you willing, as a proud Canadian, independent and free, to stand now for those who stand on guard for thee?

Let there be no doubt: Canadian veterans who serve/d in Afghanistan bleed the same as those who fought in Korea and in World War II. They have seen the obscene bitterness of war as those who have served in former Yugoslavia and many peacekeeping missions. They suffer the harsh, life-altering consequences of amputation, trauma, fractures, brain injuries, PTSD, OSI… Surely, they deserve the same standard of compensation and dignified treatment as was abandoned in 2006 for the rest of their lives!

One Veteran, One Standard.

On Friday, November 4, the first protest action will take place in front of Veterans Affairs Canada HQ, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. This will be a honourable demonstration designed not to disrespect employees and management at Veterans Affairs Canada, but to draw public attention to the plight of our wounded warriors to the public attention by assembling at this cornerstone building. I would encourage those who are living within driving range (300 km radius) to attempt to participate in this event as this year, numbers will be important. Capt. Sandy Brace (ret) has volunteered to be team leader again this year and relevant information will be posted on the Canadian Veterans Advocacy and VeteransVoice.info internt network.

The CVNDOP2 National Protest will be held on Parliament Hill at 1100 hrs. a.m., Saturday, November 5th, 2011. Prominent veterans’ advocates have been invited to speak to the injustices and inadequate levels of respect our veterans are confronting today. Once again, I am encouraging all patriotic Canadians within a reasonable distance to join us on Parliament Hill in order that we might, through our collective voices, demonstrate to our government that Canadians of all ages, race and creed, support our troops and the incredible sacrifice they have made on behalf of this nation for the past decade. Together, let us ensure that those who serve today are accorded the same standard of respect and privilege as those who serve on the fields of France and Belgium during the first world war, who fought through Sicily and Italy, who landed at Juno Beach, who liberated Holland, who stood fast in some of the bloodiest battles in Korea, who brought peace…

Let us stand together to ensure this government embraces its moral obligation to treat all veterans with equal respect.

God bless on nation, our troops, our disabled veterans and their families.

At this moment, we have Team leaders for regional protests in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia and it has been but a week since the call for protest was issued!  

Stand To! Answer the Patriots Call.

Michael L Blais CD
Founder-President, Canadian Veterans Advocacy.

**** PLEASE forward to all your friends and patriots who you feel might support this effort. Our troops and veterans need help now!!!! YOU can make a profound difference if you just…. STEP UP! ****

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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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8 Responses to Canadian Veterans’ protest growing with more gov’t.-broken promises–add your voice to their voice–one standard of care for all wounded–join their rally in Ottawa

  1. Murray Scott says:

    Get It Together
    Okay it is time someone said what everyone is thinking….lately I have been really looking into attaching my energy to a Veteran’s Organization that is really and truly focused on helping our disabled veteran’s.
    I see Organizations that work at the Macro Level which has its benefits with respect to policy and procedure. There are also those Organizations that try and work at the micro level and spread themselves so thin that in the big picture of things they really have little to offer.
    There are those Organizations like the Legion that come under attack by the fragmented startup Organizations and regardless of the feedback they get keep moving forward. However; they don’t seem to attract the new Veterans with contemporary issues.
    There are those Veteran Organizations that Cry Wolf at every chance they get and they wonder why our injured and disabled Veterans do not want anything to do with them. It is bad enough that the most vulnerable of our Veterans pay the price of a so called Dynamic Government who dangle Carrots and then go back on their word; while at the same time our various Veteran Organizations use the same group of people to self-promote their own interest.
    Some of our Organizations say their numbers are not what they should be and at the same time these organizations fail to look at themselves and ask why their numbers are low and insignificant.
    Listen and listen carefully, the Veterans you are trying to attract will unite when you get your act together. I have seen so much negatively written articles that finding an article with positive reflections and accomplishments is a rare and scarce commodity.
    I have had the opportunity to talk with ten seasoned Veterans last week and to my surprise not one of them had joined a Veteran’s Organization. I mentioned that I had signed up for one of the Organizations and the feedback was to say the least surprising.
    Some Veterans agree that at this moment in time there was no clear outstanding organization that moved them to join. Some said they could not afford the money. There were those that said every time they read an Article by the various Organizations they walked away depressed.
    Two Veterans brought up the fact that they liked what the Ombudsman’s office was doing. They said that the Ombudsman took the time to re-organize their staff and then publish what they had done. Gee that is a Novel idea.
    Now for the biggest feedback and surprise; without exception, everyone at the table agreed that there was too much Fear Mongering among the Various Organizations. I found myself in agreement with them. If this is true then perhaps these Organizations are not giving us a balanced perspective. So I guess the answer is simple; if you want the Veterans to unite then start putting something out that everyone can identify with.
    We now have for the first time in history a very new and complex variety of disabled soldiers looking for the Organization that stands out among all other Organizations.
    Well there it is…do with it what you must, if you want to attack the messenger then that is fine as well. The message is clear…do something ….and if you choose to do nothing then shame on you for pretending you are something you are not!
    In strength and hope.
    Murray Scott
    Edmonton Alberta
    44 years a disable Veteran

  2. Murray, thank you for your response.

    The reason I repost announcements from the Veterans Canadian Advocacy group is because they are systematically building a website with incredible information — always positive — to help our wounded veterans either get free legal assistance or real information about programs that will help them move their lives ahead. They are not anti-Veterans Affairs and are the first to remind veterans about the good things Veterans Affairs does do for our disabled.

    But, in all things, when the system is not working as well as it could or should, they also defend our wounded veterans’ rights to equal and fair treatment for all.

    As a Canadian citizen, I expect this of my government and am very disappointed that veterans need to band together to claim what is their earned right. We have trained some of the finest soldiers and peacekeepers in the world — I have seen them at work and have never been so proud to be Canadian — so my heart breaks when I hear how many do not receive equal and deserving care. Our wounded warriors are people first, not expendible numbers. They are simply asking to be recognized for putting their lives on the line for Canada around the world and to be looked after according to their need. Not all CAN represent themselves as coherently as you do and they need help from their veterans’ reps to see that they get the care and compensation they have earned.

    You can check out the Canadian Veterans Advocacy Message Board for yourself.
    http://www.canadianveteransadvocacy.com/board

    Best regards,

    Bonnie

    • Murray Scott says:

      Thank you Bonnie for your valuable words. I read your site with interest. I also take to heart that you have a site where anyone can express their experience and insight. As you know I have been a Disabled Veteran for 44 years and I have seen and experienced the best and worst of everything that has been offered by all Organizations. I feel strongly that without your site to Repost Comments we Veterans would be in a terrible position and even more Vulnerable to Big Brother.
      The bottom line is we have various Veteran Organizations crying to unite and represent our membership but they have done nothing to monitor or self-check themselves.
      When injured soldiers return and seek help, they have had enough of the in-fighting and so called Fear Mongering.
      If our organizations can not work out among themselves how to work for our disabled soldiers then how do they expect anyone to stand behind them for the longterm.
      I am reminded from past business experience that the one thing that will destroy an organization quicker then anything is the running down of their competition.
      The common theme among the various organizations is Veterans Unite, if it is not happening then we need to do a fearless inventory and find out why.
      All the best
      Murray Scott
      44 years a Disabled Veteran.

  3. Murray, on that–you and I agree. Veterans do need to face the reasons why the desire to unite is there but not the heart, mind and voice to achieve it.

    In some respects the disabled have been the most vocal because it is your cause but disabled also means that many veterans may not have the energy or enthusiasm to join forces to fight for themselves. Along with their injury is fatigue and battle wearyness. It takes extraordinary inner spirit to step up to the plate and drive yourselves forward.Therefore I am hoping my blog will help add concerned citizens in your march for fair and better care.

    And thanks, Murray, for your kind comments. I am trying to keep this blog a safe haven for you all to express yourselves and eventually join forces. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to be enough though.

    Hugs, Bonnie

  4. Murray Scott says:

    Bonnie
    The one thing I have learned is when there is something to get behind Canadians will jump in and give it everything they have. I am currently going through an end-of-life experience that leaves me bed ridden for 3-4 days a week. I also have Addison’s disease which zaps every bit of energy I have. My heart goes out to our Veterans regardless of their disability. We have many Veterans coming home with different disabilities and we are just not equipped to handle these wonderful soldiers.
    I would give give up everything I have to advance the cause of our Veterans. I know that sometimes it feels like no matter what we offer or how much we give it is not enough. However; I remind you that it is those feeling of not being able to give enough that enourage and drive our Veterans to reach out to others and to help themselves.
    Bonnie your site is so important to our cause, the reason it gets so much attention among Veterans is because it was built on love and caring for those you value so much.
    The answers will come, however I do believe it will be built on courage and hope by the very same Veterans who are not afraid to say what they are feeling.
    You see Bonnie what you are offering that is not offered elsewhere is a SAFE Place to say everything we might be afraid to say elsewhere.
    All the best
    Murray Scott

  5. Murray, how I wish I were there to hug you in person! The courage of you all never stops, and I feel truly blessed to be a part of your determination to effect change for the better. And Murray, I will think of you every day and wish you comfort.

    Bonnie

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