Canadian Veterans Advocacy

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New announcement: CVA Situation Report March 31st 2015 - Critical Injury Benefit

CVA Situation Report. Critical Injury Benefit

Clarification issues. There is a certain degree of confusion surrounding this newly announced benefit and I think it is important that we dispel any false hopes created by the Minister O'Toole's PR blitz and identify the new class of veterans that it has created. It is vital that seriously disabled veterans understand that the criteria is exceedingly restrictive and that very few of those severely injured since 2006 will be affected The Critical Injury Benefit (CIB) was created to recognize the trauma associated with a SEVERE wound/injury that requires/d IMMEDIATE hospitalization/institutionalization. These two words, severe and immediate, are the foundation of the bill.

The CIB is provided as a one-time, tax free 70.000 dollar benefit. The CIB is a stand-alone benefit; it matters not what level of disability awarded, if you have been denied in the past by Veterans Affairs Canada as having been deemed not suffering permanent injuries or are not a client of VAC.

The CIB is retroactive ONLY to 2006 and is applicable to ONLY those who are supported by the New Veterans Charter.

The "Department" decides "who" is eligible and will be reaching out to approximately 100 veterans identified. Those who will not be contacted have the right to apply for the CIB and if you are denied, the same process of appeal will be used as were it a disability award, ie, VRAB.

Parliamentary procedure. Be advised that nothing will happen on the CIB and other proposals requiring legislative amendments until the Bill is passed and enacted. Should Mr Harper decide to drop the writ early, the bill dies and this is nothing but a headline without substance. It has been eight months for the Veterans preferential hiring bill was presented….

Canadian Veterans Advocacy Issues of contention

First, it is important to note that over the past two weeks, the government has addressed significant issues that the CVA has been fighting for since we crossed the line of departure four years ago. Unfortunately, the comprehensive reforms we have been seeking have not been forthcoming and incremental proposals, negating participation by a vast majority of seriously injured veterans, form the foundation of most of the announcements. The Critical Injury Benefit is no exception, willfully exclusionary and to some extent, discriminatory to those who served in Afghanistan (and elsewhere!) prior to 2006 and sustained a severe injury that would, by event stringent criteria, warrant eligibility inclusion.

The Bill has been purposefully designed to recognize the extraordinary physical, and to a much lesser extent, mental trauma experienced through a incident inclusive of a Critical injury requiring Immediate internment. The Bill recognizes those who are injured on domestic operations or training, serving abroad is not a prerequisite.

But only veterans who, as a consequence of National Sacrifice, experienced Critical Trauma since 2006 are eligible. We feel this betrays the spirit of the bill, that the exclusion of veterans who were critically wounded/injured in Afghanistan prior to 2006, and those who have bore great national sacrifice in former Yugoslavia, NATO and Peacekeeping operations, is profoundly unfair.

Why does this government consider one's veteran's trauma worthy of a 70 thousand dollars benefit because he was catastrophically injured in Afghanistan after 2006 more worthy that another veteran who sustained the same level of critical injuries in 2005?

Should there not be equality on this issue, not discrimination through exclusion of veterans who have sustained critical trauma, who fulfill the criteria of the bill, no matter when or where they served?

The CVA believes that it does discriminate, that it fails to meet the One Veteran, One Standard national sacrifice principles, that it is fundamentally unfair to thousands of veterans who have served this nation with honour and dignity. We stand for equality for ALL veterans, for ALL eras who, through sacrifice fulfill the Critical Injury Benefits criteria.

Criteria– Mental wound exclusion/ "Immediate" care provisions. The flaws of this proposal are perhaps no more glaringly evident than through the exclusionary policies negating those who have sustained mental wounds. Our men and women in uniform are strong of heart and mind, when they are exposed to a severe traumatic incident in treading into Harm's Way, they all too often suffer the impact of a mental wound in silence, unaware or unwilling to accept how "critically "wounded they are, the need for "Immediate" care. Perhaps the curse of stigma has interfered, particularly when "In Theatre" and instead of seeking medical assistance, resolution through peer support was attempted… despite the fact they have sustained a potentially catastrophic wound of the mind.

Far too often these wounds are not identified until the valiant return from operations and the impact on their lives and families leave them no recourse. Many have been awarded disability pensions that reflect the seriousness of their wounds, they are factually deemed permanently incapacitated, they are receiving the maximum award for pain and Suffering, perhaps have even been accorded the Permanent Impairment Allowance. Yet, despite the consequences this critical wound has borne on their career's and quality of life, they will not be eligible for the CIB.

They did not conform to Catch 22's criteria, , the "Immediate" quotient of the benefits mandate and the exclusionary impact it will bear upon the hundreds, if not thousands, of Canadians veterans who have sustained serious mental wounds that did not manifest until the "Immediate" time requite had elapsed.

The CVA believes the inclusion of the "Immediate" factor within the criteria presents obstacles that are to obstructive, exclusionary and should be removed or amended to recognize the "critical" nature of mental wounds and the delay onset of symptoms prior to the legislation being put forward and will advocate diligently to this effect. Let us not forget that more of our Afghanistan veterans have been taken through suicide than in combat, there "critical" impact they have borne is not to be ignored, abandoned or marginalized. To, bereft of compassion and understanding, legislate a benefit that deliberately excludes a vast majority of those who have sustained critical mental wounds is unconscionable.

The CVA will stand on this issue for the wounded and their families, if you have sustained a "critical": mental wound and believe you should be eligible… I shall be requiring testimony to the effect of why you feel that you deserve inclusion, your feelings about being excluded from the 70.000 dollar tax free benefit and how this benefit would have improved the quality of you and your families life.

Who? Who decides who is eligible and who is not. The department of Veterans Affairs does. Minister O'Toole announced that approximately 100 veterans have been identified, they will be contacted if the Bill is enacted before the next election. The bill was tabled, without consultation with stakeholders, yesterday and as the Conservatives have a majority…

It is important for veterans to understand that the CIB has no bearing on the percentage you were awarded on the pain and suffering award or the status of your earnings loss benefits. You may be completely disabled as a consequence of a Critical Injury but due to operational circumstances or the invisible nature of a mental wound, are not eligible. Severe. Immediate.

Determinations on eligibility will be based on, as the SME defined, standards of "Medical Professionals". This is perplexing, more so considering that it will not be a "Medical professional" who will judge, but a departmental bureaucrat. The appeal process is also suspect as there is little trust amongst the veterans community for the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, the entity that adjudicates disability pensions. Many veterans have discovered the VRAB has a habit of "selectively" accepting the advice of "medical professionals" or ignoring them in favour of testimony from a "department" selected medical professional which supports a denial.

More to follow as the situation develops, I/we are always interested in your opinion; consultation in the cornerstone of CVA advocacy. If you are affected, or just have feelings about this issue, please do not hesitate to send me an email through the Canadian Veterans Advocacy website or respond publicly on our social network; Facebook, Twitter or Linked In. Pro Patria Semper Fidelis

Michael L Blais CD President - Founder Canadian Veterans Advocacy 905-359-9247 /// hm 905-357-3306

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New announcement: A VETERAN'S VOICE: Intro / TRANSFER of Ste Anne by Wolf Solkin WWII Veteran

A VETERAN'S VOICE: Intro / TRANSFER of Ste Anne by Wolf Solkin WWII Veteran

This new column is intended to be the first in a series of observations and comments about the considerable concerns of Canadian Veterans. Its primary focus will tend to be on the old(er), WWII and Korea Vets, with whom I naturally identify more closely; particularly the gang at Ste. Anne de Bellevue Hospital, where I, along with some three hundred and forty other 90+ year old ex-service men and women, are confined to quarters, "for the duration".

Let me introduce myself, by first avowing to you that I have the best interests of my fellow-Veterans close at heart, that what I say is sincere, and whatever you may wish to say to me in return , will always be respected and faithfully represented. I will speak for you and to you , and you are welcome and invited to participate in these conversations with your own thoughts, opinions and experiences, on any subject of value and/or interest to Canadian Veterans, especially "The Old Guard". That goes for your family and friends as well, who might aso hold their own views about my views, and have (horror?) stories to tell about the treatment of Canada's Veterans.

Pertinent portions of my 'Street Cred' Include the following:

I am a nonagenarian World War II Canadian Army Veteran, on partial pension, yet sufficiently disabled to have been admitted as a permanent resident at Ste. Anne's (Veterans) Hospital, in Quebec.

I proudly served and saw combat as an infantry platoon commander with the splendid Algonquin Regiment (aka the "Algoons", of 4th Div.) in North West Europe, ending up well inside Germany on V-E Day..

I was then seconded to the D.V.A. in Canada as a Rehabilitation Officer, facilitating the discharge process of the first waves of men returning home , by advising them, with the empathy inherent in a true comrade-in-arms, of their (bare-bones) benefits and entitlements upon re-entering the slippery slopes of "Civilian Life".

Later, I acquired a Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Toronto, based on my having joined up while still an under-grad at McGill. I subsequently switched to a more "meat-and-potatoes" business career path, necessitated by the need to feed a family of five.

I have been in my new home at Ste. Anne's Hospital for almost two years now, during which time I became a Director of the Residents' Committee, and Editor-in-Chief of what I personally conceived, created and developed into a highly lauded bilingual newsletter, called "The Veterans' Voice"/ "La Voix des Veterans". This innovative periodical has been widely favoured and much in demand by the Vets and their families, as well as numerous volunteers and employees.

Regrettably, I was recently compelled to resign as Editor, necessitated by the egregious imposition of a new set of highly restrictive and totally unacceptable rules and regulations, which make a mockery of the words. "free press". Those onerous restraints were so extreme as to interpose and authorize a mish -mash of persons, (some of whom had never contributed as much as one comma or one minute to producing the "Veterans' Voice"),wielding absolute power to censor, control and cancel any or all of my written words at will. Further crass conditions required that a designated "Spokesperson" be present at all times to monitor and represent me at any media interviews or events. Nor would I be allowed to write or speak about anything "controversial", or political/government-related, or ask questions of any "external"/ public officials. Nobody, but NOBODY, should be so empowered as to be enabled to encroach on one's inviolable rights to freedom of speech and expression, in defence of which so many of us fought so fiercely. I therefore refused to prostitute my principles or compromise my integrity, on the unholy altar of institutional insularity and/or paltry, petty peevishness. Sadly, immediately following my resignation, that once successful and popular newsletter has suspended publication for an indefinite term, much to the detriment and at the expense of the many Veterans who eagerly anticipated each new issue, and who are now dismayed by being deprived of that positive and pleasurable experience.

No one else seems willing (or able?) to take on that responsibility, despite the Pyrrhic victory of the campaign to morph the once tvigorous "Veterans' Voice" into a mere whimpering whisper of vacuous vignettes.

All of which has now led me, here and now, to this pivotal point in my primary purpose: to protect and uphold the rights of our Veterans, enhance their over-arching health and welfare services , defend their dignity, and be vigilant and unyielding in ensuring the high level of care and comfort they need to live a life replete with value and respect, which they have dearly earned at such great cost and sacrifice. This column is meant to serve as every concerned Vet's eyes, ears and voice, and to give one and all an ongoing opportunity to know what they should rightly know, hear what they need to hear, and say what they want to say, all for the betterment of us all.

For this special privilege to participate in such an open and unique exchange of ideas and opinions, grateful acknowledgement must be directed to the Canadian Veterans Advocacy.

So thanks to you, guys!

Among the many topics to be considered for future columns are the following few examples:

> #>What will be the impact of the forthcoming Damoclean "TRANSFER" of Ste. Anne's Hospital from Federal to Quebec Provincial control, In all its numerous and disturbing ramifications?

> .#> What frightful fallout could occur once Quebec's Health Minister Barrette imposes and implements his new and harshly criticized Bill 10's provincial protocols and arguable standards, including having rescinded the publicly promised "Stand Alone" status for Ste. Anne's Hospital, now lumping it together with several other unrelated health institutions?

#>Is taking frail and aged Veterans on ceremonial junkets to Europe a positive and rewarding idea, but with possibly serious negative after-effects?

>> #> Immediate need to Implement urgently required proactive (vs. reactive) Security Measures in all Veterans' venues and facilities.

> #> Etcetera, etc., etc.....including some issues about which our readers might wish to inquire, so please start / keep those cards and letters comin'!

That's it for now folks, but remember.......



Tech-savvy 91-year-old gives voice to veterans at Ste-Anne Hospital


Letter: Cpl. Paul Franklin's story made this Second World War vet very angry



by Wolf William Solkin

You may recall from my introductory column that I am a WW Ii Veteran residing quite contentedly and comfortably at Ste. Anne's Hospital near Montreal. Heretofore, my fellow Veterans and I have had little to complain of; however, dark clouds are looming on the horizon, threatening to evolve into a tsunami of turmoil and chaos, which may soon strike our serene shores with a vengeance.

I speak of the forthcoming TRANSFER of the hospital from federal to provincial jurisdiction. When this happens (predicted to be signed before the end of this year and implemented early in 2016), we can expect to be trussed up and taken from the comparatively caring arms of Veterans Affairs Canada to the entangling tentacles of Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services, under the autocratic and absolute authority of the Honourable(?) Minister Gaetan Barrette, aka the "Bullying Bulldozer". That Transfer , among many other negative effects, will place Ste. Anne's Hospital completely under the control of the nefarious and almost universally opposed and much-protested "BILL 10", a major obstructive obstacle in the path of the still unsigned Transfer agreement..

There is a challengingly long (and sometimes dirty) laundry list of concerns, complaints, questions, quandaries, uncertainties and anxieties with which the Vets at Ste. Anne's must contend, both before and after the Transfer. I intend to address some of the most daunting issues in future columns, in the hope that some in the seats of power, be they situated in Ottawa and/or Quebec City, might hear and even heed my/our words.

Today's flavour of the month, by undeniably unpopular vote, is the above-mentioned bilious Bill10, a piece of lethal legislation which could well undermine the very foundations of the unparalleled health care upon which Ste. Anne's tradition and reputation were built.

An egregious example of Barrette's bludgeoning tactics is that, although two former federal and provincial health ministers had jointly and publicly proclaimed to the media their parties' pledge that Ste. Anne's Hospital would always retain its unique status as a "Stand-Alone" institution, he blindsided everyone by unilaterally pronouncing that it would, instead, fall under his Bill10 reorganization plan, designed primarily/ostensibly to cut the hell out of health costs. This will force Ste. Anne's to surrender its indispensable independence, becoming just one of eight health and welfare institutions haphazardly lumped together in the "one size fits all" mish-mash that will operate as the West Island CISSS. If the Quebec government can uncaringly ignore and rescind such a promised fundamental principle even before the Transfer takes place, what else will Barrette undoubtedly and unhesitatingly do and undo once he has complete command and control in his unyielding grasp?

Losing its "Stand-Alone" status will compel Ste. Anne's to adopt the comparatively substandard protocols and ruinous cost-cutting measures that now prevail across the province. The hospital will then be unable to sustain the high levels of care which our Vets have been repeatedly reassured will be securely safeguarded; which they so desperately need; and which, if I may make so bold, they damn well deserve!

Once Ste. Anne's is forced to comply with provincial protocols and control, punishingly lower wages, plus many other diminished rights and increased restraints, that will inevitably prompt even more of our remaining experienced and devoted employees to take early retirement or abandon ship for a better work climate. Nurse-to-patient ratios could be seriously reduced; significant numbers of Registered Nurses will be replaced by cheaper and less qualified Quebec-minted "Nursing Assistants", unfamiliar with the special needs and problems of coping with geriatric patients, and alien to that particular mix of empathy, understanding, concern, compassion and commitment to their charges, which constitutes the core culture of our outstanding nurses and orderlies, who comprise the true heart and soul of this (for the moment) fine facility.

Rhetoric and purple prose aside, our thrust here is obvious enough: if the front-line "ground troops" personnel are dissatisfied and/or of poorer calibre and increased indifference, the ricochet effect of Bill 10 will concentrate its collateral damage directly upon the Veterans. They, in turn,will be deeply displeased, disappointed and defrauded by by the Barrette-born and bred lesser level of basic care and attention. That being the case, good intentions, public promises and federal funding notwithstanding, Veterans Affairs Canada will find itself inexorably incapable of upholding its first and foremost vow to the Veterans at Ste. Anne's, which is/was to continue providing the highest degree of care and stellar standards of service which have made Ste. Anne's what it is today...not just a cold, impersonal institution in which the few remaining reminders of WW II can survive, but a welcoming home in which they are encouraged and enabled to thrive, with the full honour and respect that is their due.

Rather than merely murmuring our/ your calm concurrence with this tempestuous tirade, let us all stand up to do everything we can to protect our Ste. Anne's Hospital venerable yet vulnerable Veterans, and their supporting staff, from the inexorable ravages of Bill 10, regardless of which province you live in. Write your Member of Parliament !

E-mail the leaders of the federal opposition parties ! Phone the Minister and Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada ! Stir up your Royal Canadian Legion Branch along with the Provincial and Dominion Commands ! Talk it up at your Regimental or Service Branch/Veterans Association ! Have your Kiwanis Club or other Service Organization undertake the welfare of our band of brothers as one of their prime projects ! Above all, if you reside in Quebec, be sure to communicate your feelings to your own Member of the National Assembly ! It would likely serve little or no purpose to try to gain entry into the obdurate minds and stone-deaf ears of Barrette and/or his solidly supportive bosom buddy, Premier Philipe Couillard....and to think that both once took the physician's sacred Hippocratic Oath with its everlasting and underlying premise of "Do No Harm"

Whether you do one or more of the actions proposed above (and suffer shame if you don't), for the sake of those who once did, but can no longer serve our country, DO SOMETHING ! .....MAKE SOME NOISE !


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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New announcement: Warning Order. Monday March 30th - O'toole's Announcement

Warning Order. Monday - O'toole's Announcement

No exceptions No exclusion. No denial.

This is what I am hearing. The Harper Government is going to to to address the grotesque disparities in equality the New Veterans Charter accorded the valiant with the Pain and Suffering Lump Sum Award instead of the Pension Act provisions that I and a vast percentage of Canada's wound.

There will be 70 k top up, but only for those deemed seriously wounded.

There are those who will argue that any improvement is a good thing, and to some extent, I do agree. The fact that the Harper Government has now acknowledged they have financially denied NVC veterans is a significant step forward, that they would try to resolve this issue prior to an election testament to the effectiveness our, and others, campaign has been effective.

And now that the government is moving on these issues, it is more important than ever that we stand for the equality standards we have united and the Canadian Veterans Advocacy has been created to foster; to ensure that any positive developments apply to ALL wrongfully affected veterans, that there is equality for ALL, including Canada's most seriously wounded. Those who's sacrifice has been acknowledged through the Pain and Suffering LSA should be treated equally, the top up, pro rated to the percentage awarded, should be provided to EVERY VETERAN WHO RECEIVED A LUMP SUM AWARD under the new veterans Charter.

How can a government acknowledge serious flaws, in this instance, financial recognition for a lifetime of pain and suffering, then provide solutions that deliberately exclude ninety percent of veterans affected by this unjust award?

I am also concerned at the amount that was selected, as it indicates that the government has embraced the Legions, ANAVETS, National Councils of Veterans Orgs, the UN, NATO and Aboriginal groups proposals that would equate the Sacred Obligation Pain and Suffering Award for National Sacrifice on the killing fields of Afghanistan, the National War Memorial, the horror of Iraq or any other conflicts Mr Harper decides to send troops into Harm's Way to the 350 k workplace negligence award in Ontario.

This is not negligence, Mr Harper and his majority have purposefully sent Canada's sons and daughters into Harm's Way. How can they compare the sacrifice they have offered on the NATION's to negligence on the civiulain work site? No respect. For the wounded or the of the principles that has made this great nation strong, proud and free.

This has been my worse nightmare and I have spoken of these fears often in the past, that the government would use the Royal Canadian legion and those they have assembled under their umbrella through the Legion Consultation Group as shields to deny justice, to deny equality. They refuse to embrace the wounded/CVA's quest for equality, even though I have spoken to their presidents at these consultation meetings of the need to unite behind the wounded and the principles they have established, not stand against them by proposing standards that do not reflect their wishes, that would have the audacity to disrespectfully compare blood in war to blood in an accident at home.


That they would exclude the thousands of NVC pain and suffering award clients that are not deemed "Seriously" incapacitated does not reflect the justice, the fairness that Minister O'Toole would speak to when defining the recent initiatives. There are serious flaws in each of the proposals to date that deliberately exclude those who are in pan and deserve to be recognized, despite the fact they may not be "considered" seriously injured by the departments selective and very restrictive criteria. Jennifer M, for example, does not qualify for the caregivers allowance, caring for a suicidal veteran 24/7 does not fulfill the criteria. Nor have they, as she has so desperately fought for, provided her the tools for her and thousands of family members to cope.

On the RiSB (retirement proposal) we have yet, despite promises to do so, been told whether pre NVC clients will have the Pain and Suffering award included in the determinations, contrary to the Manuge lawsuit. We think that including an allowance (PIA) designed to recognize additional need when the veterans is being covered at 75% is disingenuous, if anything, the allowance will be vital to quality of life should the equation, as it will for most of the lower ranks, ergo, the majority of the wounded, will be relegated to the anti poverty threshold. Neither the Pain and Suffering Award or the Permanent Impairment Allowance can be included in any RISB determinations, neither are income supplements, to include them will only impose hardship on the disabled and negate the spirit in which they were provided.

The CVA will engage on the equality standards, every program they have brought forward has serious flaws that negate participation by a vast majority of the wounded and disabled veterans. We hope, with your support, to raise these issues to a level dictating discourse and resolution prior to legislation being put forward.

The needs of the few to not outweigh the needs of the many, the needs of the many do not outweigh the needs of the few. There must be equality, balance, fairness to all. If they are going forward on a top up, it must apply equally to all who have been awarded and prorated compensation (dictated by the percentage you were awarded) provided.

Are they playing politics with Canada's most seriously wounded, using them as pre-election props to dismiss the plight of the majority, all who have been subject to the same standards?

Will there be full equality in recognition of national sacrifice, not a buy off of the most seriously wounded to the detriment of most VAC clients by using whatever exclusionary definition that suits the respective programs agenda as a platform to exclude, to deny?

Will this just be a little cost announcement accompanied by an election style speech, a headline without substance motivated by political expediency, not a sincere willingness to address the issues with fairness, to provide respite to all that have been disrespected by the NVC through a pain and suffering award?

Should not EVERY VETERAN be accorded a LSA be bumped up to reflect percentage parity?

One veteran, one standard?

There must be equality! The Sacred Obligation must be fulfilled.

Mike - Prez, CVA

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New announcement: NEW MUST READ: Family Caregiver Relief Benefit & Expansion of PIA Eligibility

Government of Canada announces new benefits and services for Veterans and families
Improvements respond to recommendations from Standing Committee, Veterans and stakeholders

March 17, 2015 – Vancouver – Veterans Affairs Canada

The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today unveiled two new initiatives to improve benefits and services for Canada's Veterans and their families. He announced a plan to enhance support for seriously injured Veterans by ensuring more Veterans will be eligible for a key monthly financial benefit under the New Veterans Charter (NVC). As well, the Minister announced a proposed new support that recognizes the vital role played by informal caregivers of our most seriously injured Veterans, which often includes their families. Minister O'Toole was joined by Veterans' groups and members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The first part of today's announcement focused on enhancing the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) by expanding its eligibility. It provides life-long monthly financial support to Veterans whose employment potential and career advancement opportunities have been limited by a permanent service-related injury or illness. The change will expand the number of Veterans eligible for the PIA, by being less restrictive about the requirements relating to their ability to independently carry out most daily activities.

Minister O'Toole also announced a proposed new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit that would recognize the vital contribution of informal caregivers—who are most often family members—to the health and well-being of seriously injured Veterans. The proposed new Family Caregiver Relief [ Benefit would provide eligible Veterans with an annual tax-free grant of $7,238, allowing their informal caregivers to take a well-deserved break while ensuring the Veterans continue to get the support they need.

At the announcement, Minister O'Toole reconfirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to ensuring Veterans and their families have the support and services they need. This included initiatives over the past several months such as:

• the introduction of a proposed Retirement Income Security Benefit that would ensure that an eligible Veteran's total annual income is at least 70% of what he or she received in financial benefits from VAC before age 65;
• proposed increases to the Earnings Loss Benefit for part-time Reserve Force Veterans;
• investments in new and expanded mental health initiatives for Veterans, serving military members, and their families, including a Veteran-specific Mental Health First Aid training program;
• a new Halifax operational stress injury clinic, with 9 satellite clinics across the country, including a permanent satellite in Hamilton;
• a four-year pilot project to expand access to the military family resource centres for medically releasing Veterans and their families;
• a new research project to examine the challenges and opportunities for families living with Veterans with operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder; and
• a new mental health action plan to further improve the continuum of mental health supports and services provided to Veterans and their families.

The Government of Canada will continue to ensure that Canadian Veterans and their families have the support they need, and are treated with care, compassion and respect.

Quick Facts

• Introduced in 2006 and expanded in 2011, the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) and supplement (PIAS) together provide support ranging from $600 to $2,800 a month in taxable income.
• By 2019-2020, approximately 300 additional Veterans who have made a tremendous sacrifice in service to Canada are expected to receive the Permanent Impairment Allowance.
• It is estimated that by 2020, approximately 261 Veterans and survivors would receive the Retirement Income Security Benefit upon turning 65. The vast majority of modern Veterans are 34 years old. Therefore hundreds of additional Veterans will benefit from this improvement in the future.
• While part of today's announcement responds to recommendations made by the Veterans Ombudsman and the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, the new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit is an entirely new proposal.


"The Harper Government continues to make real changes in the lives of those who need it most. Today's announcement responds directly to what the Parliamentary Committee, stakeholders, and Veterans themselves have been telling us they and their families need. This is another example of how our Government is taking action to help those who gave so much on our behalf."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs

Associated Links

• Backgrounder – Retirement Security Income Benefit
• Backgrounder – Respect for reservists (When available)
• Backgrounder – Expansion of Permanent Impairment Allowance eligibility (When available)
• Backgrounder – Family Caregiver Relief Benefit (When available)
• Mental Health Services for Veterans

Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to ensuring Veterans are treated with the care, compassion and respect they deserve. Veterans and their families are at the centre of everything we do. #Veterancentric

– 30 –


Martin Magnan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada


Family Caregiver Relief Benefit

Veterans Affairs Canada has created a proposed new benefit to recognize the vital contribution of informal caregivers to the health and well-being of Veterans with a severe and permanent service-related injury. The proposed new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit would provide Veterans with an annual tax-free grant of $7,238. In line with efforts to streamline programs and eliminate red tape?, this new benefit has been designed to avoid as much paperwork as possible for those who need it. It would provide informal caregivers relief while ensuring that Veterans continue to get the support they need. Many families care for their loved ones at home. Doing so can present new challenges for the Veteran, his or her family, and the caregiver.

Informal caregivers, who are usually spouses, common-law partners, adult children, parents or other family members, support Veterans with a severe and permanent injury by doing things like arranging direct care for the Veteran, making appointments, coordinating household tasks and providing basic assistance with daily living. This proposed benefit would allow the caregiver to take time off and recharge if needed, knowing that someone else will be providing the vital services and support they have been providing.

This funding could be used for relief options such as covering the cost of having a professional caregiver come into the home or covering the cost for another family member or friend to travel to the Veteran's home. The new benefit is expected to provide relief to approximately 350 spouses or caregivers of the most seriously ill and injured Veterans by 2020.

Example of a Veteran who could benefit from these changes

Marcel is a seriously injured Veteran from Afghanistan. Veterans Affairs already supports him and his family by providing the full cost of in-home care, rehabilitation, retraining and medical support. Yet, while a medical professional is there most of the time, Marcel's spouse is on duty every day, seven days a week. With today's announcement, Marcel can use the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit to pay a professional to come into his home full time, allowing his spouse to take a break if needed, to recharge while knowing that someone else is at home fulfilling Marcel's needs.

A continuum of care

While support for families is the focus of this measure, it must be viewed as part of a full spectrum of services and supports available to Veterans. Benefits and services such as those provided through the Veterans Independence Program (VIP), Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation Program or Health Benefits Program, for example, are designed to help support the needs of ill and injured Veterans.

– 30 –


Expansion of Permanent Impairment Allowance Eligibility

Monthly financial benefits will be expanded

Veterans who have been severely and permanently injured in their service to Canada and have lost employment and career advancement opportunities need a stable source of monthly financial support.

Introduced in 2006 and expanded in 2011, the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) and Supplement (PIAS) together provide support ranging from approximately $600 to $2,800 a month in taxable income. This financial benefit is paid to Veterans for the rest of their lives, including after age 65.

Currently, one way to be eligible for PIA is that a Veteran requires the physical assistance of another person to perform most activities of daily living (mobility, feeding, bathing, etc.). This new change will broaden the criteria so that more Veterans are eligible for this financial support each month. Once implemented, more Veterans who have a severe and permanent limitation in mobility or self-care, related to their military service, will receive this benefit. It is expected that approximately 300 additional Veterans who have made a tremendous sacrifice in service to Canada would receive this benefit by 2019-2020.

Veterans Affairs Canada will work with the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman to clarify how loss of earnings is considered within the three different grades of the PIA, with the goal of making the grades easier to understand and more predictable.

Examples of Veterans who could benefit from these changes

John is eligible for VAC's Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Assistance Program due to a severe service-related back condition, and he has received a disability award. He has severe and constant pain. He is able to perform most of his daily self-care activities himself but very slowly and with the aid of medications. But John has severe and permanent limitations in mobility. He takes a long time to go from sitting to standing and is unable to walk any distance without stopping due to pain. Currently, because John is able to perform most of his daily self-care activities himself (such as dressing and bathing, albeit very slowly and with great difficulty), he does not meet the PIA criteria. However, with this change, John will now be eligible for this benefit.

Other financial supports available

Canadian Armed Forces Veterans who are injured in service, and are eligible for VAC's Rehabilitation Program, are also eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit which guarantees at least 75% of a Veterans' military salary is paid during their rehabilitation. For Veterans who are not suitably and gainfully employable, the Earnings Loss Benefit will be paid each month until they turns 65. After age 65, Veterans with moderate to severe disabilities will soon benefit from the recently announced Retirement Income Security Benefit. This new benefit will guarantee Veterans a level of income of at least 70% of their pre-65 benefits received from VAC.

– 30 –

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New announcement: Benefits for wounded Canadian veterans do not stack up

Benefits for wounded Canadian veterans do not stack up - (Britain, Australia, USA and Canada) The Globe and Mail

Gloria Galloway

The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Mar. 09 2015, 10:18 PM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 10 2015, 7:02 AM EDT

A new analysis reveals that Canadians injured in the line of duty are eligible for significantly less financial compensation than the amounts provided to disabled soldiers in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States – raising questions about the Conservative government's claim that its support for wounded veterans is world-class.


A comparison of monetary compensation offered to disabled veterans in Canada, Britain, Australia and the United States


Lump Sum

A lump-sum payment of up to $306,698.21 which can be taken in a single payment or spread out over multiple payments. The amount offered depends on the degree of disability. Someone with mild hearing loss, for instance, might collect just $14,929, while someone who has lost the complete function of their lower limbs and is confined to a wheelchair might receive the maximum. Of the 45,615 veterans granted a lump-sum payment between 2006 and 2014, just 185 received the maximum. It is non-taxable.

Earnings loss

An earnings-loss benefit of 75 per cent of salary for two years (or longer if the veteran is taking part in a vocational or rehabilitation plan), all of which is taxable and from which any outside earnings are deducted dollar-for-dollar for veterans who are permanently and totally incapacitated and at 50 cents on the dollar for those in a rehabilitation plan. For those who are permanently incapacitated and unable to work after the two-year period has ended, the benefits can continue to age 65, with annual inflation increases of up to 2 per cent.

Impairment allowance

There are three grades to this allowance with the lowest being $584.66 monthly, which is what most veterans get. The middle grade pays $1,169.33 a month and the highest grade pays a maximum of $1,753.97. In addition, there is supplement for most, but not all, veterans who are receiving the permanent impairment allowance of $1,074. The allowance and the supplement are taxable.



Lump Sum

Lump-sum benefits are available up to a maximum of $1,092,348. This was originally set in 2005 at half that amount but was doubled in 2008 when it was deemed inadequate.

Severely disabled

Severely disabled veterans receive 100 per cent of their military salary tax-free for life.



Lump Sum

Lump-sum benefits of up to $420,207 are available, but veterans can choose instead to receive this as a fixed-rate weekly pension which, for someone who starts receiving payments at the age of 25 and dies at the age on 80, would amount to a total of $902,261. This is tax-free.

Severely disabled

Lump sums are awarded for spouses and children of severely disabled vets. For each child, for instance, a veteran would receive $80,956.51.

Earnings loss

An earnings-loss benefit pays 100 per cent of the difference between what veterans were making before their injury and what they are making after their injury, for the first 45 weeks of incapacity. When the 45-week period ends, they are paid between 75 per cent and 100 per cent of the difference between what they were making preinjury and post-injury, depending on how many hours they are able to work. These payments are taxable.


United States

Disability pension

Tax-free disability pension ranging from $167.58 for someone with no dependents and only a mild impairment, to as much as $4,010 per month for a severely incapacitated veteran with one spouse and a child. In addition, there are supplements of up to $10,836 monthly for those with dependents who are severely disabled and need special help.

But many veterans say those moves are just tinkering. They argue they are getting a raw deal under the New Veterans Charter, which was passed into law in 2006 and replaced a system that provided veterans with lifetime pensions.

An analysis of the money paid to disabled vets by Canada's closest allies suggests those concerns may be well founded.

Whether it is a comparison of lump sums awarded according to the level of injury, or the ongoing payments meant to replace the incomes of those who can no longer do their jobs, Canada's remuneration comes up short – in some cases by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Veterans benefits around the world are universally complex to both access and understand," said Sean Bruyea, a retired Air Force captain and veteran's advocate who helped The Globe and Mail obtain and analyze the numbers from other countries.

But "veterans instinctively know that the programs under the New Veterans Charter are deficient," Mr. Bruyea said. "For the government to tell them otherwise really is just stepping on veterans' hearts and destroying their dignity."

Trying to compare the compensation offered by the Canada, Britain, Australia and the United States is difficult because each jurisdiction provides money to its veterans in different ways, and all four countries have additional programs that go beyond direct financial compensation. In Canada, for instance, the Veterans Affairs department provides an independent living program that includes grounds-keeping among other home-care services.

In addition, the level of service to veterans is not equal. There have been complaints in the United States, for instance, about a huge backlog of unprocessed claims. And the delivery of health care is not the same on both sides of the border.

But, looking solely at the money paid to those injured while they were in the military, this country lags behind.

While Canada offers lump-sum payments of as much as $306,698.21 to its veterans depending on the level of their injury, Britain will pay up to the equivalent of more than $1-million Canadian dollars.

Australia's maximum lump-sum payment is in excess of $400,000 (Canadian), and veterans in that country can choose instead to receive a non-taxable, weekly pension which can amount to more than $900,000 for a soldier who retires in his 20s and lives into his 80s. Lump sums are also given to children of disabled Australian veterans, which does not happen in Canada.

The United States provides a tax-free disability pension that ranges as high as $4,010 (Canadian) per month, depending on the level of injury and the number of dependents. In addition, there are supplements of up to $10,836 (Canadian) monthly for the most seriously disabled.

Canada has a program that compensates disabled veterans for lost wages which pays 75 per cent of their military salary. This country also provides a permanent impairment allowance and a supplement that can combine to equal a little over $2,700 monthly. But most soldiers who qualify for that allowance receive far less than the maximum, and the money is taxable.

In Australia, on the other hand, the earning-loss compensation can amount to 100 per cent of a veteran's former salary if he or she is completely unable to work. And in Britain, the most severely disabled veterans receive 100 per cent of their military salary tax-free for life.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has defended his government's approach to veterans, saying Canada's programs and services are the best in the world.

Mr. O'Toole, the Veterans Affairs Minister, said there are a number of programs and benefits offered to disabled Canadian soldiers which, when added to the amounts they are paid, makes Canada's system of compensation one of the best anywhere. "On a category by category comparison," he said in an e-mail, "some of our allies may have a few items that have stronger support than we have at present, but in other areas they offer less in terms of programming or financial supports."

Not only does Canada have a good health-care system which in not available in every country, Mr. O'Toole said, but there are medical, rehabilitative, vocational and family supports that aim to return disabled former military personnel to a productive post-service career. And, in terms of the monetary payouts, for soldiers in the lower ranks, the combination of the earnings-loss benefit plus the permanent impairment allowance and the supplement could add up to more than their military salary, the minister said.

The government has spent at least $700,000 fighting a court case against a group of veterans based in British Columbia who argue that the New Veterans Charter violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it does not provide the same level of benefits and support as the system of lifelong pensions it replaced.

Frank Valeriote, the Veterans Affairs critic for the Liberals, said the comparison with other countries "just adds more fuel to the fire of the argument that our veterans have been making and that is that [the benefits] are inaccessible, insufficient and inadequate."

Peter Stoffer, the NDP critic, said looking at what other nations provide to disabled veterans is a bit of comparing apples to oranges, but "for those who qualify, there is no question that other countries do better than ours when it comes to cash outlay."

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Monday, March 9, 2015

New announcement: Government should be taking the lumps, not injured veterans

Government should be taking the lumps, not injured veterans

Despite what Prime Minister Stephen Harper says, Canada does not have the best veterans' programs and services in the world.

Published: Monday, 03/09/2015 12:00 am EDT

It's the bane of the Harper government. It's the focal point of a class action lawsuit. It's the lightning rod for injustice, despondency, and loss for the modern military veteran. The lump sum paid out to injured soldiers for pain and suffering is also the arthritic backbone of a controversial program known as the so-called New Veterans Charter.

In a recent CBC interview with Peter Mansbridge, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the bold, and unchallenged, claim that the "fact of the matter is this country has the best veterans' programs and services in the world." This truth may hurt, Harper. Unequivocally, Canada does not have the best veterans' programs "in the world."

Passed by all parties in 2005 and launched in 2006 under the Conservatives, the New Veterans Charter replaced lifelong pensions with lump sums. Since the war of 1812, Britain and later Canada provided lifelong tax-free monthly pensions to injured soldiers with additional amounts for family members.

The current lump sum pays no extra amounts for family members.

It has been exactly 100 years since the first of 172,000 injured Canadian soldiers began returning from the horrors of trench warfare to communities across a young self-assertive nation. At war's end, Canada solidified its obligation and philosophy in compensating injured soldiers in the legislation known as the Pension Act.

Taking bits and pieces from the U.K., the U.S., Australia, and even France, the Pension Act developed the model later followed by the courts and workers' compensation schemes. This model established that pain and suffering payments would be awarded according to the location, type, and degree of injury. Pain and suffering was and is considered completely separate from any consideration of lost income.

Since that time, Canada gauged our compensation programs by comparing three principal nations: the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Under the New Veterans Charter, any veteran injured due to military service and applying for compensation on or after April 1, 2006, can receive up to $306,698.21. Inflationary increases over nine years have raised this maximum from its original level of $250,000.

The U.K. also compensates soldiers for pain and suffering with tax-free lump sums. The maximum payout is £570,000 or CDN $1,092,348. Like Canada, the lump sum replaced lifelong disability pensions for those injured on or after April 6, 2005. Contrast this with Canada, which disregards date of injury but instead uses application date. Canadians injured in the middle of war-torn Afghanistan may have missed the April 1, 2006, lifelong pension deadline. Receiving blood transfusions, being medevacked, or having shrapnel removed from their brain makes filling in paperwork rather difficult.

Australia likewise changed its compensation after July 1, 2005. Previous programs provided both lifelong pensions as well as lump sums for pain and suffering. The current system provides a choice of a lump sum or a fortnightly tax-free pension. The maximum lump sum in 2015 is AUS $430,452.06 equivalent to CDN$420,207. This amount is adjusted for age with the maximum paid out to those 31 or younger. However, should a 25-and-a-half year-old male choose the weekly pension for the rest of his average Australian life expectancy of 80.5 years, he would receive, in today's dollars, CDN$906,261.

Ottawa, has been quick to dismiss such dollar-for-dollar comparisons claiming that there is more to each nation's programs than merely compensating for pain and suffering. Canada provides additional allowances for "permanent impairment," house and groundskeeping as well as medical treatment. Bureaucrats and politicians like to disingenuously confuse the program mix with vocational and education training. However, if a veteran is so disabled as to receive the increased allowances for permanent impairments, Ottawa refuses to fund education or training. Our most disabled are relegated to a lifelong policy prison of stagnant human potential.

Australia and Britain both have additional allowances and more. Australia provides supplementary lump sums of AUS$83,564.11 for each child. Australia gives allowances for utilities and school age kids. Ottawa takes pride in providing CDN$500 for financial counselling to manage lump sums. Australia offers both financial and legal counselling to the tune of AUS$2,464.80.

British veterans receive up to 100 per cent of military salary tax-free if seriously injured. Canada provides a taxable 75 per cent of income. Britain also allows veterans to sue government in civil court. Such an important watchdog mechanism highlights negligence and prevents further injuries or deaths. Canada's government expressly prevents this in the laws bureaucrats and politicians wrote to protect themselves.

Finally, U.S. maximums leave others behind. In the same year Canada took away lifelong pensions for our veterans in favour of lump sums, a congressionally appointed Commission rejected lump sums. Currently, American tax-free disability pensions max out for a veteran with a spouse and one child at US$3,187 monthly. This compares favourably with maximum amounts paid out by Canada's pre-2006 monthly pension scheme. In the US however, severely disabled veterans with a spouse and one child receive added amounts up to $8,600 monthly.

Canada has been under constant and increasing fire for the past nine years since the lump sum came into effect. A Royal Canadian Legion-led coalition of 19 organizations, including one, which represents another 60 veteran groups, has been pushing Ottawa to increase Canada's lump sum to match court awards as well as increase the income loss program to 100 per cent of military salary. As of December 2014, maximum court payouts were $354,701.

These and many other recommendations made since 2006 by Veterans Affairs advisory groups, Parliamentary committees, the ombudsman and veterans' organizations fester in a morass of political and bureaucratic indifference.

Having the best programs also means having responsive and agile processes to make sure they remain the best. Canada has neither the best programs nor the best processes. Only three years after Britain introduced its lump sum program, it doubled the maximum amount. Two years after that, government, military, veteran and family organizations worked closely together to implement dozens of recommendations including increased lump sum payments for levels below the maximum. More than 10,000 previous lump sum recipients received retroactive amounts of up to £150,000.

Canada does not have the best veterans programs in the world. Unfounded claims have sadly become the cornerstone of both the Canadian bureaucracy and elected officials. Equally unfortunate, too many Canadians take such statements at face value. Even the veterans ombudsman has been sounding off uncomfortable imitations of government rhetoric, claiming the "fixation on the [lump sum] program contributes to misunderstanding about the total benefits package provided under the New Veterans Charter…"

Veterans and Canadians have every right to be fixated on an inferior program, which languishes in government misinformation at the expense of suffering veterans and their families. Blaming veterans for misunderstanding inadequate programs and incompetent administration does not erase the inadequacy or incompetence. It is time for Harper to appoint that royal commission on veterans' issues. Holding government accountable gets votes with the bonus of saving veterans' lives.

Sean Bruyea, vice-president of Canadians for Accountability, is a retired Air Force intelligence officer and a frequent commentator on government, military, and veterans' issues.

The Hill Times

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New announcement: GoC announces enhanced lifetime support for injured Veterans and their families

Government of Canada announces enhanced lifetime support for injured Veterans and their families

New monthly benefit addresses significant gap for Canada's moderately to severely disabled Veterans and survivors

March 9, 2015 – Toronto – Veterans Affairs Canada

The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, unveiled a proposed new financial benefit today aimed at providing financial stability to Veterans who are moderately to severely disabled and their families. The Minister was joined by Veterans' groups, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Veterans Ombudsman, Guy Parent.

Currently, the Earnings Loss Benefit—upon which many moderately to severely disabled Veterans rely—is not available after the age of 65, resulting in a drop in the Veteran's annual income. The new Retirement Income Security Benefit announced today would provide these Veterans with continued assistance in the form of a monthly income support payment beginning at age 65.

The proposed Retirement Income Security Benefit would work in concert with existing services and benefits to establish a continuum of support that spans a disabled Veteran's entire life. It is designed for those whose ability to save for retirement was directly impacted by their service to our country. Income support would also be extended to families through continued payment of a monthly benefit to the Veteran's survivor.

The Government of Canada also recognizes the complexity of financial benefits available for moderately to severely disabled Veterans. As part of a continued commitment to Veteran-centric care, Minister O'Toole indicated that Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is examining ways to combine these new and existing supports into a single monthly pension for severely injured Veterans.

Quick Facts
•The Retirement Income Security Benefit would ensure that an eligible Veteran's total annual income is at least 70% of what he or she received in financial benefits from VAC before age 65.
•Monthly payments would be calculated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account how much the Veteran was receiving before age 65 and other sources of income he or she may have beyond age 65.
•It is estimated that by 2020, approximately 5,800 Veterans and survivors would qualify for the Retirement Income Security Benefit upon turning 65. An estimated 261 Veterans and survivors would receive payments by 2020.
•Today's announcement responds directly to concerns raised by the Veterans Ombudsman and the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.


"Today, we are closing a major gap in the New Veterans Charter that was identified by the Veterans Ombudsman and others in recent years. The Retirement Income Security Benefit will ensure that Veterans who are moderately to severely disabled receive lifetime financial support beyond the age of 65. This new benefit will provide security and peace of mind to Veterans and their families as they grow older."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs

"The Retirement Income Security Benefit meets the intent of my recommendation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs on the most urgent New Veterans Charter shortcoming: after age 65 financial support. I congratulate the Minister of Veterans Affairs for his leadership on this issue and I encourage all parliamentarians to pass this new pension benefit without delay."
Guy Parent, Canada's Veterans Ombudsman
Associated Links
•Backgrounder: Retirement Income Security Benefit
•Services and Benefits for Veterans
•Mental Health Enhancements

Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to ensuring Veterans are treated with the care, compassion and respect they deserve. Veterans and their families are at the center of everything we do. #Veterancentric

– 30 –


Martin Magnan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans of Affairs

Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

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Friday, March 6, 2015

New announcement: How PTSD Disrupts Relationships / The Relationship Foundation / 50 Ways PTSD Und

How PTSD Disrupts Relationships – Part 1 – The Relationship Foundation

How PTSD Disrupts Relationships – Part 2 – 50 Ways PTSD Undermines Intimate Relationships

How PTSD Disrupts Relationships – Part 3 – "Come Close To Me! Get Away From Me!" Push-Pull Dynamic

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New announcement: Soldier Angry About Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant's Decision To Chide Our Vets

Soldier Angry About Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant's Decision To "Chide Our Veterans"

David Pugliese, Ottawa CitizenMore from David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

Published on: February 3, 2014
Last Updated: May 18, 2014 12:48 PM EST

This was sent to Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant by Barry L. Westholm, Sergeant Major (ret'd). It is a response to Gallant's statement that concerns by injured soldiers that they will get punted from the CF if they come forward is a figment of their imagination:

Your recent statements regarding injured and ill soldiers having to confront issues that are "in their minds" (Reference A.) and supporting the new, and stark, CPC catch-phrase "self-stigma" have prompted me to remove my support from the CPC. So you're aware, many of my former peers in the Canadian Armed Forces refer to the sidewalk leading to the Warrior Support Centre (where mental injuries are treated) as "the Walk of Shame" – this is the true stigma that faces our injured veterans.

I have had a long association with the CPC and thoughtful Canadian Conservatism over many years (see attachment). So it is with great regret that I now sever my ties with the CPC; regret not for my actions, but regret in that the CPC has strayed so far from the path of reason and respect regarding our veterans that I must take this action. Your Party has achieved great things in many areas, but they are now overshadowed by the specter of indifference and moral usury toward our veterans. This philosophy effectively undermines your achievements as all Canadians know, the foundation and ultimate success of this Country is built upon our veterans and not any political Party and/or policy.

You in particular have intimate knowledge of the pressures that face our veterans, and more so those that face the prospect of a posting to the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) (references B thru N.) In sending you information of the JPSU in the past many years, I knowingly risked censure, disciplinary measures and my very livelihood, but I did so knowing it was for the best of reasons: our injured and ill troops. This said, when you spoke before Parliament recently to chide our veterans and promote a dysfunctional organization (the JPSU), I was left in shock, disillusioned and most certainly dismayed.

Although I have assisted you in the past, and communicated with you often on many subjects, all communication from you ceased with the submission of my Letter of Resignation (reference O.) Since that time I have asked repeatedly to speak with you as my Member of Parliament and have not received an answer. I now understand why, and your recent actions in Parliament have made your silence loud and clear. I believe that your message has reached the ears of many of your supporters, and I hope they are listening carefully.

I have posted a portion of our correspondences online for public viewing with a hope to help your peers, opposition and citizens appreciate the information I presented to you and your inaction of same. Many soldiers have committed suicide since my first email to you, and I can only ponder those that could have been better supported, assisted or saved if action was taken – but no action was taken. Canadian soldiers are expected to fight on foreign land, not their homeland – I find it disgraceful that the CPC does not yet understand the issues involved. I hope you, and your Party, have a epiphany of some sort very soon – lives are truly on the line.

I will now carry on as an independent voter in search of a new party to support, and want you to know without an iota of doubt, that if you can chase me from the CPC, then you can chase anybody away from the CPC (and I heartily encourage them to do so). I hope that in reading this, some of your colleagues will give a second thought at the treatment of veterans, staffing of the JPSU, amending the New Veterans Charter, the untimely closing of VAC Centres and the reinstitution of VAC pension plan.


Barry L. Westholm, CD
Sergeant Major (ret'd)
613 587 4203

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