There is an interesting article by Lee Berthiaume of the Canadian Press, reproduced on the CBC News website. In it, he quotes Jay Jorgensen, a retired sergeant, who served 17 years in uniform before leaving the military in 2013 because of a back injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, who, Mr Berthiaume says “is unequivocal about much he trusts the Liberals and Conservatives to help disabled veterans like him … “Zero,”” he said, ““Both are burned to me” … [and his report says] … It’s a popular sentiment in parts of Canada’s veteran community — veterans themselves, their spouses and families and people who provide them services — and a reality both parties face as they seek to court a segment of the population that feels betrayed by successive governments over the past decade.”
I’m going to repeat a couple of things I have said before:
- I don’t know what the right mix of benefits is to care for veterans who were injured, in mind and body, while serving Canada;
- I doubt that the politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa and Charlottetown do either ~ I think saving money was, and remains, their primary goal; but
- I remain 100% certain that the way the New Veterans Charter was drafted in 2005, by a Liberal government, and implemented in 2006 by a Conservative one was fundamentally immoral.
It is a well-established practice, a principle, in fact, that when the government decides, as it can and should, from time to time, to change the terms of service of the people it employs in the armed forces that it offers those people who were serving before the changes are made the option of serving under the new terms of service or of being “grandfathered” under the old ones. It’s just basic fairness. In 2005 we had tens of thousands of Canadian men and women who had enrolled in the Canadian Forces and had, explicitly volunteered to go into harm’s way to kill and be killed if necessary and to risk grievous injury in their country’s service. Then, while many of them were in combat, against a fearsome enemy the government decided to change one of the key implicit rules. Now, there are those, mostly Liberal apologists, who will say that the veterans pension system is not part of the military’s responsibility … it’s not exactly part of the military terms of service. I suppose they are, narrowly, legally correct but every sailor and soldier knew about Veterans Affairs and the programmes they offered ~ regular briefings were given on the subject throughout the time I served (35+ years). When soldiers went to Afghanistan they
understood believed that they would be looked after, to a certain, well-defined standard. They were wrong. While they were engaged in combat their government changed the benefits package in a major way. Just days after the rules were changed Canadian soldiers were wounded in action ~ one acquaintance of mine lost both legs and, as soon as he got home, he discovered that the pension regime he had believed applied to him was gone, replaced by a new and, in his circumstances, much inferior one. It was the government’s right to change the rules, no one disputes that, but in 2005-06 the governments of the day should have made provisions to ensure that those serving up until the very day the new rule took effect should have been “grandfathered” if they chose. It was beyond unfair, it was immoral to change the rules while we had troops in combat.
Justin Trudeau thoroughly disgraced himself, the whole Liberal Party and Canada, itself, when he told wounded Canadian veteran Brock Blaszczyk that he and other wounded vets were asking for more than the country could give right now …
… I don’t know how any Canadian military person, serving or retired, could ever vote for the Trudeau Liberals, again. Now, some wounded veterans, Lee Berthiaume says are “willing to give Scheer a chance … [and one seriously wounded veteran said] … “Looking forward right now, as I see it, we have a set of promises from the Conservatives that look actually quite good at first blush and we have a deafening silence from the Liberals” … [but others say] … “We don’t trust these guys … [and] … It almost comes down to a point where we either have to vote local or vote on other reasons and sadly forget our own reasons to vote as a group or make the individual choice if you wish to trust the leadership.”” And still others plan to spoil their ballots to express their mistrust of all politicians.
It’s a shame it has come to a point where veterans have lost faith in government.