The betrayal of Canada’s Veterans by our elected leaders is a national disgrace. The Conservative government has decided to fight Veterans at every turn, and they need to be stopped. As an injured Veteran, I believe our struggle for justice is shared by every patriotic Canadian with a conscience
As a lad I would read accounts of Canadian Victoria Cross winners who answered the call to arms and stood up to tyranny. Canadians like Piper James Richardson. Private Michael O’Rourke, Sergeant Ernest ‘Smokey’ Smith, and Major John Mahony. Ordinary men who did extraordinary things in the face of adversity while in the service of Canada.
Take for example Major Mahony’s heroic actions on May 24, 1944 at the River Melfa, Italy. “For five hours the company maintained its position in the face of enemy fire and attack until the remaining companies and supporting weapons were able to reinforce them.” The Westminster’s War Diary said. “Early in the action Major Mahony was wounded in the head and twice in the leg, but he refused medical aid and continued to direct the defence of the bridgehead. That enemy saw that this officer was the soul of the defence and consequently made him their particular target.”
The Conservative government has consistently run from its fiduciary and moral responsibilities towards Veterans. It has refused to honor commitments first made to Canadian Veterans by then Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden in April, 1917.
As a former Reserve Infantry Corporal, I know from first hand experience that surviving injuries sustained in the line of duty is just the start of a multi-decade long trial by fire. I’ve been denied access to treatment and benefits for proven service related injuries for being an outspoken advocate of Veterans rights, alleging corruption within Veterans Affairs, the Department of National Defence, and the offices of their supporting Ombudspeople.
I sustained three serious injuries during military training in 1992. All within a six month period. I nearly became homeless. I lived off 55 cent day old bread and water, and ultimately had my hydro shut off. All as I fought an expensive, protracted, soul crushing battle with the Department of National Defence for that which was rightfully mine under the law.
I fended off blows from seemingly every direction, battled corrupt commissioned officers, uncaring bureaucrats, and democratically elected representatives. Some individuals, as confirmed through subsequent investigations, wilfully attempted to obstruct a lawful process by destroying pay records, documents, medical reports, receipts, two registered letters, and a letter of apology my former commanding officer was forced to write. The coup de grace was heavily censoring the aforementioned investigation records, citing ’solicitor-client privilege’.
My injuries never properly healed. Leaving my body racked with chronic pain. After a fight of seven years I was only paid my back wages, out of pocket prescription fees,
and transportation costs to get to and from medical appointments.
Canadian Veterans deserve to be treated by all federal governments, both present and future, with dignity, courtesy, and respect. I think that I speak on behalf of all Veterans when I say that we ask for nothing more than what we reasonably deserve, that which has been promised, and had been honoured by governments who led our nation before the current Conservative regime.
As such, I respectfully ask all Canadians to stand united with us in our country’s time of need, and vote for change on Oct. 19.
Vote for anybody but Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative candidates.