Veterans challenge ombudman’s report: individual needs still ignored

Leaking depleted uranium hexafluoride cylinder.

Image via Wikipedia demonstrates exposure to depleted uranium.

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


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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4 Responses to Veterans challenge ombudman’s report: individual needs still ignored

  1. Jeff, at least the more than 2,000 volunteers who agreed to go through mustard gas testings understood the risk they were taking during this WWII experiment. Our soldiers since WWII have been used as guinea pigs either without their consent or with minimal explanation of the actual risks re: depleted uranium, Rainbow agents, anti-malaria drugs plus other stuff less well-known or documented. To me this is a war crime perpetuated against our own soldiers by successive governments, who do not feel accountable to the people who elected them.

  2. Murray Scott says:

    I can’t believe the nonsense that some people write….I think Kenneth H. Young CD…should get your head out of the clouds….you should also take the time to read the mandate of the office of the Ombudsman….perhaps you would see that it is well within the scope of the Ombudsman to get involed in any Systemic problems that interfer with the system as it stands. There are ten different definations for Ombudsman and it is interesting that you should pick one that suits your needs….
    If you going to write then why don’t you write a balanced perspective …it doesn’t take a brilliant writer to pick holes in a review…..I think I might take to heart your comments if you had something worthwhile writing on the subject of Systemic Review…first look it up and then look at the big picture and perhaps you would see that any review of micro level workings should start at a macro level to see what the sum of the whole is equal to and to make sure that the day to day operations is meshing with the big picture….
    By the way ….have you noticed that approx. 1500 Reserve Force Mmbers have been upgraded from Class A or B to C class….Guess how and why that was done….Your right Kenneth …a Systemic Review…. There has not been one comment on the upgrades by any Veterans Group and it was reported over month ago…what does that tell you…..
    I am all for a Systemic Review of VRAB.

  3. Thanks, Murray, for adding an overlooked perspective.


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