Author Topic: The Hon. Thomas Mulcair, NDP, MP  (Read 1856 times)

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Mike Blais

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The Hon. Thomas Mulcair, NDP, MP
« on: September 06, 2012, 05:05:57 PM »
September 6, 2012

The Hon. Thomas Mulcair, NDP, MP
Leader of the Official Opposition
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Dear Mr. Mulcair,

I am contacting you to ask the New Democratic Party to support the Canadian Veterans Advocacy as we enter a new phase of engagement on behalf of Canada’s wounded warriors.

The Canadian Veterans Advocacy recently launched Operation Ardent Dignity, a public awareness campaign that will draw needed attention to the sacrifice of those soldiers who have been wounded in Afghanistan and who will regrettably be released from the Canadian Forces to what is clearly a very uncertain future. I describe the release of these soldiers from the Forces as regrettable because, not only are many of them quite capable of continuing to contribute meaningfully to the military, they were led to believe there would be roles for them in the Forces, when the former CDS, General Hillier, made certain promises of retention.

As a veteran and as the leader of an active advocacy group, I see the impact of these broken promises on a daily basis. I served with the Royal Canadian Regiment, a regiment that has been seriously impacted by its service in Afghanistan and a unit that has suffered great loss of life and treasure. I know many who have sustained serious physical and mental wounds who, at the time of General Hillier’s promises, felt great hope for the future knowing their government recognized and respected their sacrifice in Afghanistan and who were relieved to know they would be able to continue serving our nation in uniform.

Operation Ardent Dignity is a direct response to this government’s willingness to break General Hillier’s promises to wounded soldiers at the height of the combat mission in Afghanistan. It is also in direct response to this government’s insistence on indiscriminately enforcing the Canadian Forces problematic Universality of Service standards – a policy that is not consistently applied to all members of the CF – thus unnecessarily forcing many soldiers to be medically released across this nation.

In a recent letter I encouraged the Prime Minister to uphold the promises made by the former CDS, however it is unlikely that my request for reconsideration will have any impact on the rash of current and upcoming medical releases. In light of this situation, I feel veterans of all eras, along with patriotic Canadians, have a duty to our young wounded soldiers. We must engage the general public on the issues facing veterans and encourage all levels of government to work together to ensure successful social reintegration, access to adequate health care related to military service injuries, appropriate education, vocational training, and employment opportunities, as well as ensuring soldiers and veterans are accorded the highest level of respect, care and compassion.

Operation Ardent Dignity is a two-phase operation and I have included the operational orders with this letter for you and your staff to assess. The Canadian Veterans Advocacy has already disseminated these orders through our extensive social media network. We intend to aggressively promote this campaign in the coming months, increasing our efforts once Parliament resumes in Ottawa, with the strongest push taking place on the ground and in the media in the week leading up to Remembrance Day.

First, we will be encouraging federal and provincial parliamentarians to cooperate with local municipal governments to participate in or co-organize Wounded Warriors Task Forces within their communities. To guarantee our message is heard across the country I am seeking NDP support in the hopes that Official Opposition MPs will take the lead in their ridings and assist in uniting local mayors and provincial parliamentarians for Veterans Rallies on November 3, 2012. These projected Rallies will help ensure our wounded, injured, and permanently disabled soldiers, along with their families, will not be released to uncertain futures into unsuspecting communities.

The second phase of Operation Ardent Dignity will be a Vigil for the Wounded on Parliament Hill on November 10, 2012. This year the Canadian Veterans Advocacy will not conduct a national protest as we have done in the past, but we will focus national attention on the incredible sacrifices made by our soldiers and veterans and the serious issues facing these brave men and women, such as the shortcomings of the New Veterans Charter, the discriminatory and inadequate Lump Sum Disability Award and the paltry compensation for military families who have paid the ultimate price in order that Canada could maintain its commitment to the war in Afghanistan.

I invite you to join us on Parliament Hill on November 10 to speak publicly to the New Democratic Party’s support for veterans in order that all Canadians understand the NDP is a party of action, unafraid to keep the promises made to Canadian soldiers and a party eager to ensure our disabled veterans are treated with the respect they have earned in blood, toil and personal sacrifice. Although I am aware this is a busy time of year and MPs have many local and federal concerns, I can assure you that the participation of NDP MPs in Operation Ardent Dignity, at local rallies on November 3 and at the Vigil for the Wounded on Parliament Hill on November 10, will substantially benefit the NDP and bolster its reputation within Canadian military and veterans communities.

In closing, I would like to thank you again for your continued support. I am grateful to you for your participation at our recent D-Day Vigil for Veterans on June 6. On behalf of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy and all the veterans we represent, please convey my sincere appreciation to your caucus. Your commitment to our cause has made a difference and for this we salute you.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.


Michael L. Blais, CD
Founder & President