Murray Scot sends the following public entreaty to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada. Veterans’ public appeals reinforce that they will not succumb to government pressure to accept the abuse of their rights and treatment as they have silently endured in the past. They expect accountability and will not rest until they achieve it. They are not heroes while on government mililtary missions and then subservient mice when they retire. BONNIE
To The Honorable Steven Blaney
Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada:
Mr. Blaney, as soldiers, we are taught to suck it up and move on, do not show signs of weakness and – above all – do not complain. When a Veteran files for a claimed condition, it goes against everything we have been taught. Then, when we are in a weakened condition – both mentally and physically – and left with no choice but to file for Disability, we are beaten down and taken advantage of by the Veteran’s Review and Appeal Board. For us, the VRAB’s act of cowardice very much matches a Bully’s behaviour in the schoolyard.
In my 45 years as a Disabled Veteran, I have never seen it get so bad that our injured Veterans feel that they have to take matters into their own hands.
During this past year, we have seen desperate Veterans going on Hunger Strikes to get their plight heard by Veteran Affairs Canada. Unfortunately, we have also seen further acts of Desperation in the form of Veterans trying to attack and hurt members of the Veteran’s Review and Appeal Board (VRAB).
In December of 2011, we have seen an Escalation of the contempt for the office and members of VRAB. One Veteran felt he had no other choice but to take matters into his own hands. He burst into a VRAB Hearing in Edmonton and attempted to spray lighter fluid on the VRAB Members. He was captured in Fort MacMurray and was taken to hospital for treatment. This treatment should have been supplied by VAC.
Mr. Blaney, how many more lives are you going to put at risk before you begin to see what disabled Veterans have known for a long time; VRAB is doing the dirty work for Mr. Harper. VRAB has made it clear that they can make up the rules as they go along and they can continue to treat Veterans with contempt. They constantly degrade and discount our doctors and medical specialists. With respect to the Benefit of Doubt Rule, our Veterans are not getting the “benefit of doubt” applied to our Appeals.
We do not condone these acts of emotional contempt to get someone to listen to us; however, we certainly understand how Veterans arrive at this final act of exhaustive desperation.
Mr. Minister, we want you to re-think the VRAB board and ask for an inquiry into how it got to this point. Should you not stop this contempt by VRAB against our precious Veterans, then it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured on your watch. It is now time to act, Mr. Blaney.
We find it very interesting, Mr. Blaney, that if a community is being attacked by an outbreak of “break and entries” and the Police are aware of it but do nothing to make the community aware of the situation, then the Police are held Accountable.
Mr. Blaney, do you know what it feels like when our Veterans have to beg and borrow funds to just get food and shelter? You told Veterans that there would be a cut to our funds while at the same time VRAB Members brag about travelling First Class wherever they go. Do you see the disparity? I suspect that if you took the money that would be saved if VRAB members travelled by Economy like Veterans, this might reduce the amount of cutbacks you feel you need to help balance the books.
Another benefit to VRAB travelling by economy is they would perhaps be able to identify in a small way with Veterans.
Mr. Minister, if you have everyone telling you that VRAB is out of control and that Veterans are not getting the treatment they deserve, then perhaps now is the time to put your hard hat on and fix the problem. If you do not act now, then shame on you.
There was a time, Mr. Blaney, that Appeal Members would do anything possible to help Veterans. Should a Veteran not be granted a favorable decision, the Appeal Members used to scrutinize their application to see if the Veteran could get entitlement at another level. This tradition no longer exists.
Mr. Blaney, we know you are not a soldier and you are disadvantaged by this when dealing with our Veterans; however, even you must know that VRAB is broken and now is the time to act.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.Murray Scott Edmonton, Alberta