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Vets' Ombudsman: Time to review mandate?

The Bread Guy

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Directing Staff
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This, from the guy currently doing the job ...
Craig Dalton, Canada's new veterans ombudsman, says he fears his office has lost the trust and respect of some former soldiers and their families.

He's calling for an independent review of his mandate — one that would include the possibility of having him report independently and directly to Parliament, instead of the veterans minister.

Since being appointed last November, Dalton has criss-crossed the country for meetings with veterans groups, advocates and individual former soldiers. In many cases, he said, he's gotten an earful from those with complaints who told him they felt it was a waste of time to step forward.

"I am concerned with what has been reflected to me around lack of trust in our office, questioning what value we offer to veterans, noting that we're not independent enough to generate confidence in veterans," Dalton told CBC News. "That's something that is important and we need to look at it."

Dalton said the two previous ombudsmen, Pat Stogran and Guy Parent, did great work — but there's a growing belief out there among veterans that the ombudsman's office doesn't have the jurisdiction or the independence to deal with the most pressing personal and systemic issues facing former military and RCMP members.


Veterans Minister Lawrence MacAulay said he thinks a review is a good idea, but is withholding judgment on whether the watchdog should report directly to Parliament.

"Anything we can do to improve what we do for veterans, I'm for," he said Wednesday. "To change the direction of how government is run, I just wouldn't want to respond off the cuff."

MacAulay didn't say whether the government is prepared to order a mandate review before the next election, or whether he shared Dalton's assessment that some in the veterans community have lost faith in their ombudsman ...
A bit more @ link
This is something both the previous Vet and CAF ombudsmen have advocated for. The OVO can't actually help with the major problems. They highlight them, provide recommendations and get ignored. On an individual basis, they can't help you either. VAC just ignores the office half the time and gives a generic response the other half of the time. I just send them messages to let them know what is going in so it can make it into their report. I know there is nothing they do about my problem so they are basically like a data collection service. They could be replaced by a survey that is available to the Parliament and the public.

I'm glad he is sticking his neck out like this. He has been pretty quiet since he got into office and I was beginning to wonder about his commitment.