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? 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! ****