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Ottawa has ‘failed’ veterans as calls grow for minister to resign: advocates

daftandbarmy

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This looks like a pretty energetic campaign....


Ottawa has ‘failed’ veterans as calls grow for minister to resign: advocates​


Ongoing issues at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), including long waits for disability benefits, are sending the message that the federal government doesn’t care about veterans, advocates say — adding it’s time for the minister in charge to resign.
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Speaking to Mercedes Stephenson on The West Block Sunday, the advocates — along with former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole who served as veterans affairs minister under Stephen Harper — said they’ve heard from veterans who have grown increasingly disheartened.

“A lot of them have expressed that they don’t feel valued, they don’t feel important,” said Debbie Lowther, the co-founder and CEO of VETS Canada, a charity that helps veterans in crisis.

“These are men and women who put their lives on the line for our country, so I think we owe them a lot more than what we’re providing.”

Bruce Moncur, the founder of the Afghanistan Veterans Association, was even more blunt.

“The current government has failed to understand the problems or even frankly care, and the ‘triple-D policy’ — delay, deny, die — is alive and well,” he said.

An update from the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman released on Tuesday found veterans are waiting an average of 43 weeks for disability claim decisions, far above the 16-week standard set by VAC.

The Trudeau government has repeatedly promised to meet that standard and reduce the backlog in files for case managers, who veterans and advocates say are overwhelmed.

The union representing those case managers and hundreds of other VAC employees is now calling for Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay to resign or be fired, accusing him of repeatedly refusing to meet with members to discuss their concerns.

 

Fishbone Jones

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"The Trudeau government has repeatedly promised to meet that standard and reduce the backlog"

Trudeau promised.🤣 Really, what does that mean?🤔 He hasn't told the truth in his whole miserable existence, let alone since 2015. He hasn't truly answered a single query in Question Period since he took over. The whole caucus is hyperbolic, obtuse and deceiving and follows his example. All answers are scripted by Butts and Telford and the red liberals read from those same scripts. If it gets too hot, they create a new crisis to draw attention away from the current kerfuffle.The orange liberals are just a hot mess of contrived socialism, sucking the red liberal teet.
 

brihard

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There hasn’t been a party or government that’s taken Veterans Affairs seriously in decades. O’Toole was a good choice for minister (the best in many years IMHO), but he was hamstrung by a government unwilling to properly fund the portfolio. Veterans have been and will remain an afterthought. Predictably, every year, a couple weeks before Remembrance Day, we’ll see the opposition / advocates get a brief bit of airtime, but that’ll be it.
 

Navy_Pete

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Can confirm, the 3Ds were well in place in the Harper government as well. Standard expectation was the first claim would be denied regardless of merit. (Why yes, I showed up with a blown knee and got through basic then 9 weeks of CAP, you've got me!)
 

Jarnhamar

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Maybe every CAF member should go on sick leave until Trudeau feels like doing something about VAC.
 

Halifax Tar

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There hasn’t been a party or government that’s taken Veterans Affairs seriously in decades. O’Toole was a good choice for minister (the best in many years IMHO), but he was hamstrung by a government unwilling to properly fund the portfolio. Veterans have been and will remain an afterthought. Predictably, every year, a couple weeks before Remembrance Day, we’ll see the opposition / advocates get a brief bit of airtime, but that’ll be it.

Can confirm, the 3Ds were well in place in the Harper government as well. Standard expectation was the first claim would be denied regardless of merit. (Why yes, I showed up with a blown knee and got through basic then 9 weeks of CAP, you've got me!)

Harper last stood as PM in 2015. Perhaps its time to focus on who has been in power since then, eh ?
 

Navy_Pete

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Harper last stood as PM in 2015. Perhaps its time to focus on who has been in power since then, eh ?
Why? It's clearly a systematic issue that neither party has addressed, and not going to be fixed by pretending it's specific to the current government changing.

The LPC is at fault for not fixing it, the Harper CPC is at fault for not fixing it, and probably goes back down the chain through a few different LPC/CPC governments.

Changing parties won't do it if no one burns VAC down and starts again.
 

Fishbone Jones

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One of the things that needs to happen is with the Legion. They no longer represent the Veteran. Yet, government listens to their decisions and input. It was the Legion that recommended that Vets stay on their myriad of pills and medications and not to give us cannabis. It wasn't a decision to help Vets, they forecasted their loss of booze revenue from us sitting and getting drunk. Yet cannabis has allowed thousands of Vets to get off their psyco meds and mood altering drugs. Too bad for big pharma. They placed the well being of Veterans far behind their thirst for alcohol profits. The Legion is mostly civvies now. They should have zero determinations or standing in government relating to Veterans. The Poppy Fund that was designed and implemented strictly to assist hard luck Veterans is now used for ball shirts for teams and any other social outreach that will bring them outside business. Vets be damned. This is not a knock against individual branches. It is about the civilian executive that runs the RCL and has absconded with our property and legacy, while using dues and donations to take their wives and cronies on international junkets and visits. These are the ones that feed Ottawa the bullshit about Veterans. And Veterans Affairs take their advise seriously and without question. They need to be gone from working groups or anything to do with VA.
 

daftandbarmy

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They forgot "Have you considered killing yourself?"

Or 'you're not crazy enough....'


Mental health access for families of veterans still lacking, says new ombudsman​

Federal government tightened the rules after being embarrassed by the Christopher Garnier case​

Veterans Affairs Canada hasn't gone far enough in reversing restrictions on mental health counselling for the families of former soldiers, sailors and aircrew, the county's new veterans ombudsman says in a hard-hitting report.

The federal government imposed constraints on access to mental health counselling for families of veterans almost a year ago. The policy shift was a response to a political embarrassment — the case of convicted killer Christopher Garnier, a son of a veteran who obtained taxpayer-funded post traumatic stress treatment.

While Veterans Affairs never formally amended the family care policy, it began using a much stricter interpretation of it — which had a direct impact on some veterans' families.

"There was also a lack of transparency with respect to how these significant changes in interpretation were implemented," Nishika Jardine, a retired colonel, wrote in her report released today, her first since being appointed veterans ombudsman last fall.

"The lack of clear communication caused confusion and frustration among some veterans and their families, especially since some family members only found out about the changes during their mental health appointments."

 

Fishbone Jones

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Wait, VAC changed the coverage policy, based on a single high profile event that will likely never happen again, to the detriment of 100,000s of people?

Rami Malek Reaction GIF

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And there you are. Stupidity, ignorance and social engineering on a galactic scale. The red and orange liberals should be proud. Now they can take the money they save and give it to another third world despot with no paperwork or scrutiny.
 

OldSolduer

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And there you are. Stupidity, ignorance and social engineering on a galactic scale. The red and orange liberals should be proud. Now they can take the money they save and give it to another third world despot with no paperwork or scrutiny.
Just to add I think they'd have done the same under a Conservative government given the propensity for Canadians to ban things that only affect about .01% of the population.
 

brihard

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I remember us discussing this one about four years ago.

From the start there has been a lot of critical thinking not happening on this subject. I'll say right off the hop that the notion of this guy - a cop killer - getting VAC services for his mental health profoundly disgusts me on a personal level for obvious reasons.

But...

He didn't get services from VAC for killing a cop. He got services from VAC because his father is a veteran receiving treatment services. VAC has recognized, finally, that when a veteran deals with PTSD or other operational stress injuries, that can wreak havoc on the family. You don't just keep that stuff in a nice airtight ox. It spills over and can do a real number on your family members. VAC also recognizes that this can be a source of tremendous guilt for that person. I can say from firsthand experience that all of this, so far, is true. VAC has therefore extended mental health services to the immediate family of veterans affected by those veterans' service related injuries/illnesses. That's entirely appropriate, compassionate and forward thinking.

VAC likes to say 'no' to stuff, so it looks like the policies applicable to this were worded quite generously in favour of providing those mental health services to veterans' families. An entitlement to mental health treatment for these vicarious mental health exposures was entrenched in the VAC bureaucracy. And that's pretty damned awesome. I have friends whose kids have received psychological services because Dad has PTSD or anxiety or something. It's great for the family, it's great for the veteran.

Unfortunately what we have here is a truly horrendous case where, by coincidence, someone who is rightly the beneficiary of family mental health services through VAC also happens to be the brutal murderer of a police officer. And it looks like at the time this became a thing, VAC simply was not equipped with the necessary policy or regulations to allow them to cut off access to services for the individual in these circumstances.

This wasn't anything malicious or stupid on the government's part. Obviously nobody in the policy crafting process stopped and said "Hey, what if someone who is receiving these services commits a heinous criminal offense? How would that look?" There's really no reason they would have. It's that 'what if?' that never really happens - but in this case did.

The benefits and services in play here are excellent ones. They're compassionate, well founded, and designed to help the family of struggling veterans to deal with the horrendous stuff their family member may have brought home. We really, really don't want VAC to be throwing out the baby with the bathwater on this one.

Unfortunately, anyone within the department who had stood up and defended the program on its merits and explained logically why this came to be would have been immediately and loudly shouted down and derided by a bunch of partisan hacks and whiny vetflakes who won't read anything longer than a tweet and won't look critically at the facts of a situation. Because my God, the amount of stupid stuff I saw being said on this one was mind blowing. So many people wanted to see the policies that exist to protect veterans just completely disregarded and thrown out because They're Offended.

My understanding is that they did find a way to adjust things to allow for revocation of benefits in extreme cases such as this, but I'm damned glad they took their time, and I'm not the least bit surprised that they recognized a no-win storm of pure poop for what it is.
 

Quirky

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so I think we owe them a lot more than what we’re providing.

Can someone give some examples? I'm pretty familiar with medical releases and the vast amount of benefits that go along with them, or is this on the VAC monetary side?
 

daftandbarmy

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And now there's a petition....

No Soldier Euthanasia​

Canadian soldiers serve their country and accept unlimited liability. This means they can be ordered into harm’s way, including loss of life. Soldiers can suffer moral injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and physical injury as a consequence of being ordered into combat.

Canada owes a duty of care to those soldiers who have been injured physically or mentally as a consequence of being ordered into harm’s way. This duty of care extends to appropriate care and treatment for PTSD.

A recent and alarming news story by Mercedes Stephenson and Sean Boynton detailed a Canadian veteran being offered medically-assisted suicide as a “treatment” option for his PTSD by a Veterans Affairs service agent. The offer was unprompted and unsought by the veteran.

The story reports that, “Sources close to the veteran say he and his family were disgusted by the conversation, and feel betrayed by the agency mandated to assist veterans. The sources said the veteran was seeking services to recover from injuries suffered in the line of duty, and had been experiencing positive improvements in his mental and physical health. They say the unprompted offer of MAID [that is, euthanasia] disrupted his progress and has been harmful to the veteran’s progress and his family’s wellbeing.”

We are calling on the Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay to enact a simple safeguard. Sign our petition calling on the Minister to ensure by regulation that conversations with VAC service agents about medically-assisted suicide may only be patient initiated.

 
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