First veteran’s written response to the veterans ombudsman’s annual report is by Kenneth H. Young CD, who raises most veterans’ concerns. There is still a great deal to be negotiated to bring the veterans and ombudsman’s “one veteran, one standard” ideal to a common table. BONNIE
Office of the Veterans Ombudsman
P.O. Box 18, Station “B”,
Ottawa, ON, K1P 6C3
Dear Mr. Guy Parent,
I have two observations to present to you today in this letter. The first is the name of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman and the second will be of something which I find disturbing as Government deals with Veterans.
First your Office….
From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an Encyclopaedia Britannica Company.
The Definition of OMBUDSMAN
1: A government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials.
You will please note that it clearly states Complaints made by INDIVIDUALS and nowhere does it even mention systemic complaints.
You on the other hand have chosen your job to be one of dealing with systemic problems within the Veterans Affairs rather than dealing with the needs of the individual Veteran. As you have clearly stated many times, you have for some reason chosen to become the Systems analyst for Veterans Affairs rather than an Ombudsman for Veterans.
As it stands right now you can no more be called the, “Veterans Ombudsman,” than a Hospitals systems analyst could be called a “Patents Ombudsman.” You have instead chosen to work for Veterans Affairs as their systems analyst and to help correct their systemic problems and even though it most likely will end up helping many Veterans, it is not being the Veterans Ombudsman.
It also troubles me that when a Veteran is hurt, emotional and upset with the bureaucracy and the country they thought was worth standing up for, that instead of helping the individual, your office expects the Veteran to present it with a systemic problem (as Spock said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the individual.”) or (as you or your office seem to indicate, (“The needs of the Veterans Affairs System outweigh the needs of the individual Veteran.”)
One last word on this subject… Maybe if the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman was to deal with each individual problem it never would fester up into a systemic problem.
Secondly a Systemic problem….
Again this is a problem which may well fall outside of your actual sphere of influence, as it pertains to Government itself rather than directly to the working of Veterans Affairs Canada.
Many of Veterans issues today although blamed on the VAC and VRAB actually have nothing to do with them since they have never been given the mandate to deal with the issue. Let me explain… Agent Orange, Agent White (or let’s just call all these chemicals as the Rainbow Chemicals,) the Suffield Volunteers, Depleted Uranium, our nuclear Veterans (including Chalk River), Golf war Syndrome, the matter of medical testing done on soldiers, ( unproven Malaria drugs and immunization during or before deployment.) to name just a few, have never been given to VAC as issues eligible for pensions.
Most of what I mentioned above is environmental hazards created both by testing of new and as of yet unproven substances, created to help the military which backfired, or by Government cutting corners to save money at the expense of Military personal.
It seems that occupational hazards such as Tinnitus (from prolonged use of firearms and Osteoarthritis from jumping off of APC’s or Tanks) are readily acceptable, while anything where there was direct or indirect Government intervention, are not.
It is also very easy to continue to claim that there is no scientific evidence to indicate that there is any connection between the hazards mentioned here and Veterans claims, but let’s face it, is anyone really looking for any?
There are only three groups who could handle the cost or who have the resources that could undertake a scientific study to prove a connection between the hazards mentioned and the health of Veterans there after…
(1 ) The Industry involved. (Not really in their best or financial interest)
(2 ) The Government . (Not very politically wise to prove that you have been killing your own soldiers)
(3 ) Universities. (Who depend entirely on the Industry and the Government for their research funding)
So far the only people who could provide the proof needed are not so financially or politically inclined to do so and VAC/VRAB have never been given the mandate to pension the problems which arise from these environmental and workplace hazards.
I believe that the VAC cannot give the benefit of the doubt for any cause which has not been recognized by Government as Military-related, the Government cannot or will not admit they had any part in the injuries done to Veterans and the only ones who suffer are the Veterans and their families.
Here Mr. Parent, the system has clearly failed our Veterans.
Kenneth H. Young CD
Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada