Published on August 29, 2013
Something other than who smoked what 10 or 20 years ago – though if you're keeping score on that front, so far it's Shea: no; Ghiz and Trudeau: yes.
Anyway, moving right along – today we're writing about Julian Fantino, our newly appointed minister of Veterans Affairs.
What can you say about a man like Fantino?
A career cop and administrator, the guy deserves and probably has a medal for his pre-politics public service career.
A quick Google search of his name reveals that his career as the top cop in Toronto, then Ontario has not been all sunshine and bunnies – but overall he retired with his reputation intact. No small feat for such a high profile public servant.
On Tuesday, Fantino told a group of veterans at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #17 in Wellington, that he was looking forward to working with them in the future.
But he sure didn't go out of his way to sugarcoat his promises.
Times are tough economically, he told the crowd, and the government can't afford to give anyone a completely free ride – even our honoured veterans.
He also committed to consulting with vets, helping soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan find work in the private sector and to personally work hard on these and many other issues.
It all sounds good and more power to him. Here's hoping he sticks to those promises.
But he's got a tough job ahead.
Our new veterans need more than just career changes. Some need continuous and life-long mental and physical therapy.
Left untreated, many of their afflictions could manifest into more serious issues down the road – and our soldiers deserve better than that.
According to a recently released Canadian Forces report, nearly 14 per cent of members who served in Afghanistan have been diagnosed with a mental disorder linked direct to their service.
According to the report, eight per cent of personnel deployed between 2001 and 2008 were found to have post-traumatic stress disorder, while about 5.5 per cent of that group had another kind disorder.
There were more than 30,000 people in the study.
Those are staggering numbers.
They should not be ignored, or pushed aside, not even when times are tough economically.
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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.