Thursday, November 8, 2012

An Open Letter to Steven Blaney, Veterans Affairs Minister

Here is the text of my email to Steven Blaney, Canadian Veterans Affairs Minister.  I was prompted to do so by the litany of abuse and neglect, denial of benefits and dignity, of our veterans.  They fought for us, we need now to fight for them.  Please join me in expressing your outrage by sending the minister a message.  Copy it to your local MP and the Prime Minister as I have done.  This has gone on for too many years and it needs to end - NOW.

Hon. Steven Blaney, Veterans Affairs Minister
cc. Ted Opitz - MP Etobicoke-CentreRt. Hon. Stephen Harper - Prime Minister of Canada

Dear Mr. Blaney,

I am compelled to write you about the plight of Canada's veterans.  I have watched you on a number of occasions highlight the actions your ministry has been taking to improve services to veterans.  I must tell you that I find a great deal to the contrary of what you have said.  For example:

National Post - Disabled veterans, widows slam Harper government ahead of Remembrance Day

Edmonton Journal - Burial fund for poor veterans rejects most applications

CBC News - Alberta veteran part of class-action lawsuit over benefits

The Government of Canada has spent $750 million defending itself over this mistreatment of our veterans.  Those wounded after 2006 are being actively discriminated against, and the meagre amount of $3,600 to cover funeral costs is an embarrassment.

It seems that the Government of Canada has a legacy of neglect (in some cases, downright abuse) of our veterans.  Those that are poor are being denied even the dignity of proper funeral arrangements.  Those that are disabled are being denied help.  This is a national shame that must be remedied - NOW.  Canadians want better.  Veterans and their families deserve our support in whatever way their country can provide it.

It seems Remembrance Days go by year after year without any action taken. Make this year different.  With respect, stop hosting movie screenings and making speeches full of empty phrases until you give our vets the support and dignity they so richly deserve.

Yours Truly,

Bill Oates

Update: Nov. 10, 2012 - PM Stephen Harper announced a review of the Funeral and Burial program for Canada's Veterans.  One of my good twitter friends has a reminder for the Prime Minister.  Seems a full and complete review was published in 2009.  Here's a link to that must-read report:

Dear Mr. Prime Minister, Let me save you some time.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to thank you for this. Myself and many other Vets have been bringing this stuff up for years, and most of the time it seems Canada didn't care.

    Seeing this brought tears to my eyes.

    Thank you.