Standing up for veterans

Resident challenges the policies of the federal government and comments from the MP

Colin Mayes, I received your pamphlet in the mail with the question, “Do you support these measures to help veterans?” Beside the yes box, is the statement that, “Yes, Canada should support those who have protected our country.”

In doing it this way, you are basically forcing people to answer yes to your question. It is a very inappropriate way to present a survey.

My answer is yes, I do support those who have protected our country, but I do not support the measures somewhat taken by the Conservative government to help veterans. I must also point out that it should have been worded differently. It should have been worded as follows: “I do support those who are and those who have protected our country.” You may not be aware of the fact that currently serving men and women of our Canadian military and RCMP also fall under the responsibility of Veterans Affairs and are also considered to be veterans.

I personally served in the Canadian military for several years and served in the RCMP for 25 years. My son is currently a member of the Canadian Armed Forces serving our country. Both my in-laws are also veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Over the past 25 years, I have become a self-appointed advocate and assisted a large number of veterans through the maze of red tape and multiple appeals that are constantly required to be somewhat successful in obtaining approval on a pension application or reimbursement for a medical expense.

I am extremely fearful that should my son, who is currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, suffer serious physical or psychological injuries while on the job, the current Conservative government would rather balance their budget in lieu of offering my son the proper medical and financial assistance that he would require.

You can try and enhance the New Veterans Charter all you want. It is only designed to save the federal government money at the expense of our veterans by replacing a pension that they were once granted with a less than adequate one-time payment. The new Veterans Charter must be abolished.

As far as the $5 billion being invested in additional support is concerned, this would be after Veterans Affairs Canada was made to return $1.13 billion to the federal treasury in unspent funds since the Conservatives came to power in 2006 — cash that critics say should have gone towards improved benefits and services. I really hate the way the Conservative government is constantly misleading the veterans. It is absolutely shameful. Contrary to the belief of the Conservative government, veterans are intellectually capable of knowing when they are being misled.

Embattled Conservative Julian Fantino was demoted from his position as veterans affairs minister to a junior cabinet role after less than 18 months on the job. This is the only positive change I have observed from your Conservative government in the past few years. Everything else has been nothing but false promises.

Currently, we are at the beginning of a new era where terrorism is requiring our country to become extremely vigilant and reactive. Terrorism has resulted in members of our Canadian military recently dying on Canadian soil.

Additionally, the Conservative government has recently decided to involve our Canadian military in wars that will likely become long lasting.

Accordingly, there is going to be an increasing demand for service of our Canadian military. So please, treat our troops, currently-serving members and those who have served our dear country, with the respect, admiration and dignity that they all deserve.

Our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and all Canadian veterans are not to be used for political gain.

In this new climate to protect our freedom and liberties, we will become increasingly dependent on our Canadian military.

The Canadian government must be more passionate in its efforts to support our Canadian Armed Forces members, those who are and those who have protected our country, namely our Canadian veterans. It is the right thing to do.

J. C. Alain Roy

Vernon