Last Updated: Saturday, November 10, 2007 | 7:38 PM ET CBC News Canada’s first ever ombudsman for veterans is vowing to “go to the wall” for those who have served in the military as he prepares to begin the job of addressing their concerns. Remembrance Day Sunday will mark the first day of Pat Stogran’s new…
Archive for 2007
By Sean Bruyea-THE HILL TIMES-November 5, 2007
Sadly, the process to create the veterans’ ombudsman has abandoned any of the 22 substantive recommendations from the committee’s report. The Ombudsman’s Office will not be legislated nor will it have the necessary robust powers of investigation such as the power to subpoena documents and witnesses, take testimony under oath or enter any relevant premises as required.
By contrast all Canadian provinces have legislated ombudsman offices (except Prince Edward Island) with these important investigative powers.
Whether a soldier has served in World War II, Korea, Kuwait, Afghanistan or Cold Lake Alberta
The Canadian Forces are falling short in meeting the mental health needs of soldiers returning from Afghanistan, the auditor general said in a report released Tuesday. By CanWest News Service-THE OTTAWA CITIZEN-October 30, 2007 OTTAWA — The Canadian Forces are falling short in meeting the mental health needs of soldiers returning from Afghanistan because the…
By Robert Smol and Sean Bruyea-THE HILL TIMES- October 8, 2007
But soldiers may be forgiven if they assume that the military’s long-term disability (LTD) plan is on par with the civil service plan. Both civil servants and soldiers have additional benefits for work-related injuries. However, a closer look at the LTD plans of both gives a barometer of sorts as to how the government compensates those in public service, in and out of uniform. Indeed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed the belief of the vast majority of Canadians when he stated that “military service is the highest form of public service.”
Enter now the financial reality of risking your life for Canada and the world 24 hours a day. When comparing the military and civilian long-term disability plans one sees that the LTD plans afforded to the civil service are in key areas considerably more generous than those granted to members of the Canadian Forces. This situation appears counterintuitive as it is widely recognized that the personal lives of soldiers on average endure greater strain than that of most civil servants. It is in the personal lives when LTD plans are most relevant.
by Sean Bruyea in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada Living with post-traumatic stress disorder or any psychological injury related to military service is difficult at the best of times. For the person who suffers from an operational stress injury (OSI), performing basic daily functions can be overwhelming. Often times, families and friends also bear the…
Five reports from two different DND ombudsmen called the deductions ‘profoundly’ and ‘fundamentally unfair’ while the latest ombudsman Yves Cote indicates ‘the inequity might very well be serious enough to attract the protection of human rights legislation By Sean Bruyea-THE HILL TIMES-September 24, 2007 OTTAWA–For a soldier, the battlefield is often rendered in black and…
The Toronto Star-September 21, 2007 Sean Bruyea Canada ‘s hidden tragedy in Afghanistan, seldom reported in detail in the media, is that at least 228 Canadians have been wounded and will likely require some form of long-term assistance for their disability in the future. This does not include psychological injuries such as post- traumatic stress…
Approximately 4,000 former Canadian Forces members, who are now disabled, are subject to these deductions.
By Robert Smol-THE HILL TIMES-September 17, 2007
A group of young disabled Canadian Forces veterans took their fight to Parliament Hill last week over what they say is the federal government’s ongoing refusal to reverse a clawback of injured veterans’ disability insurance.
“I am here to ask if there is any one Canadian citizen who thinks theft of my long-term benefits is okay,” said Ron Cundell, a disabled veteran
‘It is not just the initial injury, it’s the consequential aftermath or the secondary trauma related to the initial injury, and everything that goes around that,’ says retired naval Lieutenant Louise Richard
By Robert Smol-THE HILL TIMES-September 3, 2007
Despite heavy lobbying from groups representing disabled veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is standing firm and refuses to extend existing funeral and burial benefits beyond low-income world war and Korean War vets to include recent veterans.
It turns out that all mail addressed to the minister is filtered by four political staffers and distributed to one of the almost four thousand civil servants employed by the Veterans Affairs Department.
By Sean Bruyea-THE HILL TIMES-August 20, 2007
You see, the politicians don’t actually run the government. In the case of Veterans Affairs, the minister hired four political staffers, two administrative assistants, one executive assistant, one driver and seconded one bureaucrat from the department. Typically they have never spent a day in uniform (except for the driver) and have little if any experience in veterans’ issues. How can these four staffers and their support staff take on a department of almost 4,000 employees?
By Robert Smol-THE HILL TIMES-June 18, 2007 The Conservative government is forcing a group of disabled Canadian Forces veterans to proceed with their class action lawsuit involving disability pension clawbacks, despite a promise by Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor to resolve the issue. Filed last March in Halifax, N.S., the class action lawsuit involves deductions from…
Re: “Royal Canadian Legion is not all about ‘booze, beer, and bingo’: Allard,” (The Hill Times, June 11, p. 14.). The reason why I and more than 90 per cent of CF veterans choose not to belong to the Royal Canadian Legion is made quite obvious in Pierre Allard’s response to the previous week’s opinion piece by Sean Bruyea and Robert Smol, “Royal Canadian Legion rapidly losing its connectivity to veteran community,” The Hill Times, June 4, 2007).
By Sean Bruyea and Robert Smol-THE HILL TIMES-June 4, 2007
The reality is that the Legion is rapidly losing its connectivity to the veteran community. Worse, on a political level, the Legion has done a complete about-turn on the one fundamental principle that defined its existence–ensuring that returning veterans, and especially disabled veterans and families, receive the best possible support that the nation can offer.
‘This policy is a repudiation of the duty that Canada owes to its veterans in consideration of their duty to the nation,’ says retired colonel Michel Drapeau
By Robert Smol-THE HILL TIMES-April 16, 2007
“As military members and ex-military members we always assumed that our needs would be taken care of, ” says Ms. Richard. “I never realized that the real war would be against my own country and the bureaucracy; these days I have to fight the government for everything.”
But NDP MP Peter Stoffer says two DND ombudsmen have asked that the SISIP for injured soldiers be fixed and wants to know what the government is waiting for.
By Robert Smol-THE HILL TIMES-April 2, 2007
Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Ont.) responded: “Mr. Speaker, this issue has been in existence since 2003. The previous government did not resolve the issue. We now have the recommendations and we will resolve the issue.”
by Sean Bruyea and Robert Smol-ESPRIT DE CORPS-Jan 2007-pg. 12
Over the last year we have seen the funerals of far too many Canadian soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan.
Not surprisingly, over 200 soldiers were wounded in Operation Athena. These newly-disabled soldiers will join the ranks of the over 150,000 serving and former Canadian Forces members who are dealing with physical and mental disabilities resulting from their military service. But those who may become disabled as a result of their service in Afghanistan will, on average, receive far less from the Canadian government than older generations of veterans.