By Senator (General) Roméo A. Dallaire -THE HILL TIMES-March 24, 2008
Re: “Homecoming: a new direction to welcome our soldiers back into Canadian society,” (The Hill Times, March 10, by Sean Bruyea).
Mr. Bruyea’s column was nothing less than an outstanding effort to raise the profile of a very subtle yet essential deficiency in our care for the new generation veterans.
The “transformation process” from soldier to civilian is much more complex and engrained more deeply in the psyche of veterans than many of the physical injuries and state of quality of life they might find themselves in after release from the Canadian Forces. This complex de-indoctrination from near monastic vows into a civilian individualistic environment is rendered all the more difficult and overwhelming when coupled with operational stress injuries such as PTSD.
Mr. Bruyea’s article was a most complete, succinct, clear, eloquent and objective description of an essential requirement that must be met by both the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada in the rehabilitation and reintegration of our new generation veterans into a productive life as civilians.
I hope political decision-makers and civil servants, not to forget the military leadership, will take due note of this well-articulated deficiency in the support provided to our veterans and their families.
Liberal Senator Roméo A. Dallaire
(Sen. Dallaire is a retired lieutenant general who served as
force commander of UNAMIR,
the ill-fated UN peacekeeping force for Rwanda between 1993 and 1994.)