CVA Situation Report – 14 March 2012 H-15The Canadian veterans Advocacy is a nonpartisan organization that will support any political party’s motion or bill that will restore the life time Sacred obligation to the wounded affected by ther new veterans Charter and to improve the quality of life for Canadian veterans or all eras.CVA to Ottawa – Support of Opposition Bill (NDP) to exclude VAC budget from the AXE.The Canadians Veterans Advocacy is appreciative that the New Democratic Party would be willing to use one of their few Opposition Day motions to request the Conservative government exclude Veterans Affairs Canada’s budget from the austerity programs expected to be announced at the end of the month. We are also grateful to Peter Stoffer for introducing the motion and to Sean Casey, Liberal party Critic, for endorsing the motion in true nonpartisan spirit. The CVA executive travelled to Ottawa to lobby for motion support and to attempt to introduce a nonpartisan message to the debate. There was an opportunity to speak with Minister Steven Blaney one on one for some time and I would compliment his staff for organizing a meeting under such short notice. We also spoke briefly with the interim leader of the NDP and Mr Rob Rea, leader of the Liberal party of Canada.
There was also an opportunity to observe Minister Blaney and VRAB Chairmans Larlee’s appearance before parliamentary committee and speak briefly to VAC Deputy Minster Tining and ADM Gilbert. We also sat in the public gallery to observe the motion’s debate until Minister Blaney affirmed the Conservative Party of Canada would NOT be supporting the motion. CVA reps attended the vote the next day and with veterans from the Ottawa area, felt gratified when the opposition in its entirety voted to exclude Veterans Affairs Canada’s budget. Many pointedly looked up at our position in the gallery and made affirmative gestures of support. Later, there would be a reception wherein there was an opportunity to express our gratitude to Canadian MP’s who, through action, not dispassionate words, demonstrated true allegiance to Canada’s wounded warrior and disabled RCMP, Police Service and military veterans.
Remember always, only legislative change can affect the reform we seek on behalf of the wounded, the standard and ideals we stand for as an Advocacy cannot be attained through bureaucratic endeavour, only parliamentary vote. Adapt, understand that the field of battle and recognize our duty to unite all political parties under one nonpartisan veterans platform that, unlike today, WILL embrace the Sacred obligation this nation, this parliament, has to those to whom we have sent in Harm’s Way.
Message delivery to the Canadian public is one of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy’s primary objectives and strategically, this aspect of the Ottawa mission must be considered an unqualified success. The message we have been created to stand for, the voice of veterans, was delivered not only to the principle politicians responsible for veterans care but over a million Canadians who, coast to coast, tuned into the various mediums employed. I would thank Tom at CFRA am radio for arranging an interview with Steve Medley and Steve for dedicating a greater better part of the morning to feedback from the interview. Several veterans have contacted and joined our quest as a result of this exposure and we are grateful for with every voice that is raised beside ours, we grow stronger. I would also thank Martin Stringer of CPAC for tracking us down and Don Martin and his team at CTV for providing an interview under such short timing.
So where do we stand? Is the glass half full or half empty? What’s next?First, we must adapt to the new political situation and focus solely upon those we have united to defend; our wounded warriors and disabled military, RCMP and police service veterans. We must accept the fact that the NDP vote was defeated but that we had indeed garnered the legislative support of the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party of Canada. Accordingly, we must put on our nonpartisan berets and focus our collective efforts on the Conservatives and the need for continued pressure at the local and regional level between now and budget day.Have your written your Conservative Member of Parliament today to urge him to speak about this issue to his colleagues and to request exclusion? Have you contacted your Liberal or NDP Member of Parliament to thank them for their nonpartisan support on March 7th. Have you encouraged your family to do likewise???? These are the force multipliers we seek, the mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles who vote, who’s voice will be listened to! Your efforts will make a difference, if not on the 29th of March, in the future when the consequences of these budget cuts impose grave hardship upon Canada’s wounded and disabled sons and daughters. I would also remind everybody that your MP is on yet another vacation and will likely be in his riding over the March break. If you have an opportunity to engage, do so!
29 march, 2012 – Vigil for Veterans, National War Memorial – Parliament Hill.
It is important to note that NO PRO-ACTIVE ADVOCACY activities will be permitted within the hallowed grounds of the National War Memorial, where we are encouraging veterans to rendezvous three hours prior to the reading of the budget. Those who wish to demonstrate their displeasure with the government current budgetary cutbacks are encouraged to do so in a respectful manner but on the sidewalk or across the street. We have chosen this site purposefully, to demonstrate the vast disparity between the dignified standard of care and treatment successive Canadian governments in our history’s most turbulent times accorded to Canada’s sons and daughters and the profoundly disrespectful standard accorded to those injured on Canada’s behalf after 2006. Look upon the magnificence of the warriors adorning this nation’s most sacred war memorial, see the toil, the pain, the insanity of war etched upon their faces… then ask yourself.
Is the sacrifice of those who stand on guard for thee today in Afghanistan worth any less then the sacrifice of our forefather and mothers sacrifice during the terrifyingly long battle of the Atlantic or above the skies of England during the Britain’s “Finest Hour?”
Are not the brutal, incomprehensible consequences of war sustained by those who were wounded at Dieppe, Pachino, Ortona, Hong Kong, Juno Beach equal to the vicious carnage our young men and women have been exposed to since arriving in Afghanistan a decade ago?
Do not the widows and the families of the Afghanistan fallen deserve the same dignified standard of recognition and lifetime support as did the widows/families of the 516 courageous Canadians who fell Kapyong, Hill 227, Kowang San and Hill 187?
The Canadian Veterans Advocacy stands for the one true standard, a standard established in blood, great hardship, noble sacrifice, courage and the recognition of the lifetime obligation Canada is indebted to Canadians they have sent into Harm’s Way.
I would note that there may be changes in the format between now and budget day as we adapt to the timings and climate conditions. Hopefully, it will be a nice sunny day.
To sum up… between now and budget day… Email, write or telephone your MP! Insist that veterans Affairs budget be excluded from the austerity cutbacks.
On March 29th, join us in Ottawa. At this moment, there are veterans coming from Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. You can make a difference, your wife/husband can make a difference but only we unite under one banner and answer the patriot’s call…
Michael L Blais CD
Play about PTSDKILL ZONE A LOVE STORY will run at the Sir James Dunn Theatre, 6101 University Avenue, Halifax from June 12 – June 16, 2013 https://flavors.me/heattheatre#601/tumblr
New Veterans Charter
Saying it had to modernize to reflect the new, unwrinkled face of the Canadian veteran, the federal government revamped legislation governing benefits for retiring and disabled soldiers in 2006. The New Veterans Charter, introduced by the Liberals under Paul Martin, backed by all parties and passed by the newly elected Harper Conservatives, was designed to meet the complex needs of veterans from the war in Afghanistan.
Young soldiers didn't want to sit at home, waiting for a cheque in the mail, reasoned the government. They wanted work in civilian society and to live fulfilled lives. The Veterans Charter would provide that by offering improved counselling, vocational training and one-on-one case management.
Veterans at the time warned that the new charter would drastically cut disability payments at a time when thousands were coming home wounded from Afghanistan. The changes, critics said, were all about saving the government millions at the expense of soldiers permanently disabled in the line of duty. As it turned out, these CRITICS WERE CORRECT.
© Copyright The Edmonton Journal
Afghanistan Mission Stats
•39,558 Number of Canadian Afghan veterans (defined by having spent 30 or more days in-country)
•4,181 Number of veterans receiving disability benefits whose disabilities are directly related to their service in the Afghanistan mission, as of Dec. 31, 2011.
•40 Number of veterans who did five tours
•3,680 Number of female Afghan veterans (9.3 per cent of total)
•338 Approximate number of female veterans receiving disability benefits directly related to service in Afghanistan
•158 Number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
•82 Number of dead who were from rural communities
•579 Number of veterans with injuries related to service in Afghanistan from Edmonton, the highest of any single city
•63 Percentage of veterans who were married or in common-law relationships
•635 Number of Canadian soldiers wounded in action in Afghanistan between 2001-2011
•1,412 Number of Canadian soldiers injured in non-battle situations in Afghanistan between 2001-2011
•8 Estimated percentage of Canadian soldiers suffering Afghanistan-related PTSD
•5.2 Estimated percentage of Canadian soldiers suffering other Afghanistan-related mental health issues
Department of National Defence, Library of Parliament, Veterans Affairs Canada, Office of the Veterans Ombudsman
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Bonnie Toews is a former business journalist reporting for logistics and private security magazines and now a novelist, speaks out for the victims of genocide and war, from the peacekeepers and coalition forces trying to save suppressed peoples to the children and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of opposing powers, ideologies and cultures. Current writing "Trilogy in Treason." Member of Military Writers Society of America, American Authors Association and ACFW.