Archive > Vigil for Veterans - 13h30 Nov 8th 2012 Parliament Hill

Vigil for Veterans - Thursday, November 8th, Parliament Hill, 1330 hours.

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Mike Blais:
CVA situation report – Ottawa – November 4, 2012 area

Royal Canadian Legion's Consultation Meeting. As you know, I was invited to participate in the annual consultation meetings and Legion House in Ottawa Ontario on November 3. Be advised there were over 20 national veterans organizations presidents present including trapper cane of the CAV, which was very encouraging indeed to note. The major issues confronting veterans were discussed. During the roundtable discussions, the CVA position on the VRAB, VIP and most importantly, the state of the Lump Sum Award. We aregued,. To some success, that veterans involved in the class action lawsuit against the government overt the Lump Sum Award, the expectations they have are clearly defined within the lawsuit and it was THEIR needs that we, as the president’s of national veterans organizations, are obligated to respond to.

The status of the resolutions that were unanimously passed by the national veterans stakeholders were also discussed, particularly in light of the government's ongoing refusal to address these issues during the next stakeholders meeting in late November – early December. I am pleased to note that consensus was attained and that a formal letter will be originated by the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion and will be endorsed by the CVA and the presidents of the many veterans organizations that were present.

The department/ministry will be informed in direct terms of our expectations for the resolutions that the stakeholders unified to propose during the last stakeholders meeting. These resolutions are very important in the sense they are the culmination of many years work, three advisory committees and the expense of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Within these resolutions, there are mechanisms in place that would address many of the issues that the Canadian Veterans Advocacy was founded to champion and as such, I would request your full support on these issues, particularly if we must enter a proactive level of engagement should the government refuse to address this issue in good faith.

CVA director Sylvain Chartrand and myself attended a working dinner with Union of Veterans Affairs Employees President Yvan Thauvette to discuss the many issues that are confronting our veterans as a consequence of the recent austerity cuts and the government's pension to outsource labor that was once conducted by Veterans Affairs Canada Employees. Mr. Tahuvette will be speaking to these issues at our national press conference on November 8, 2012 at 11 a.m. on Parliament Hill. Also met with Memorial Cross Mother Jaqueline Girouard to discuss the press conference where she will be speaking on behalf of the Afghanistan War widows and those who have been adversely affected by the new veterans charter inadequate provisions.
The plan for tomorrow. We have been invited to attend the Senate / Parliamentarian Remembrance Memorial services on Parliament Hill at 1000 hrs. It is our home to engage as many MPs and Senators as possible. Later in the afternoon, we shall be meeting Sen. Percy Downe in his office to discuss the issues that are for most of veterans concern. Sen. Downe has been an outspoken champion of our veterans and I am encouraged that he would deign to meet with us under such short notice. Later in the evening we have accepted Minister for Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney's invitation to attend the candlelight Memorial service conducted on behalf of the city of Ottawa. While these are social events, there will be ample opportunity to engage at a variety of levels.

Be advised that the national press conference guest speakers have been confirmed – Thursday Nov 8th, 1100 hrs, Parliament Hill

Once again, I would thank you for your ongoing support. Our voice is being heard, without the support of your financial, moral and consultation efforts this simply would not be possible. We are very grateful.

Mike Blais:
Situation report. Frigging burned out, started at 8 this morning and just finished up an hour ago. Attended senate/parliament memorial service in senate chambers. Spoke with Senator Wallin, Christopher Alexander, the presidents of several veterans organizations, Sean Casey, Laurie Hawn. Did TV and radio interviews re burial fund.

Meeting with MP Peter Stoffer re Press conference.

Question period, Opposition gallery to witness questions posed to Minister Blaney. As always, it was as enjoyable as a prostate check. Just once,k i would like to be in the House and actually observe a frigging question be answered.

Meeting, Senator Percy Downe. Richard balckwo0lf and Jerry Kovacs, ANAVETS, tagged along with Sylvain and myself and it was very interesting hour.

Candlelight ceremony was very nice, had a good conversation with Trapper cane and many veterans about the VIP and other recent announcements. Also had good conversation with S Blaney that will hopefully6 lead to a meeting this week. to discuss the issues. 
We have just discovered that the House will be on Friday Routine Thursday, which has jeopardized our pans for the rally as a majority of the MPs will have already returned to the riding. This is very unfortunate as we have attained great support from many MPs and I am sure the presentation of a message of support for our wounded and disabled veterans and a rendition of  Oh Canada in their names would have been extraordinary.
Cest le vive., As always, we will adapt and overcome. The press conference has been changed to Nine AM Thursday Morning and we are encouraging all veterans in the area who might wish to speak to a reporter about their treatment to join us in front of the Peace Tower at 0830 hours.


Tracy Kerr, her mom and Brian Burford, a student producer of A Soldiers Story. Memorial Cross Widow Jacqueline Girouard, widows issues
Memorial Cross Widow Joan Larocque - Her seven year fight fir jusrtice
Dave Desjardins  veterans employment issues
Yvan Thauvette President Union of veterans affairs Employees.
Michael L Blais  lump Sump award, broken promises, VRAB, ect ect ect...

Attention veterans in areas affected by district offices closures. If you disagree with this policy, it is important that you contact the veterans ombudsman and file a complaint. The OVO's office deals in facts, ie, actual complaints and if you do not complain to his office, as far as a department is concerned, their position is validated.

You can make a difference.

I was contacted by a child of a veterans at Sunnybrook Hospital this evening and was appalled at what I was told. I understand that for many, the care is very good and i am happy for them, however, there are issues of care that are surfacing for those suffering dementia and I would respectfully request that any one who has a loved one at Sunnybrook and you do not feel that are being accorded the appropriate care, to contact me through the Advocacy website. Or any other facility for that matter. During the past couple of months I have received complaints from across the nation about veterans in their late eighties and nineties and frankly it pisses me off! 

Our duty is clear, it shall be done. 

Routine tomorrow is established, will be attending MPs memorial service at War Museum in Morning then at 1400, heading to Cornwall to speak at a Friends of Veterans fund raiser and to meet with as many veterans as possible in the time allotted. Richard Blackwolf and  Peter Stoffer will be joining us for the engagement.

Wednesday afternoon has been booked by CBC Radio from 1-4, a cross country syndication with twenty minutes in each time zone.

Time to go to ground, for those who wrote me emails today, and there were many, I apologize that I will not be able to get back to you until Tomorrow earliest, cept for the urgent ones. There is much going on and time is precious.

Mike/sylvain  - Ottawa

Government turns its back on Afghan vets: advocacy group

By CHRIS COBB, Ottawa Citizen November 8, 2012 10:17 PM

Read more:

Tracy Kerr, whose husband William is now a triple amputee following a tour in Afghanistan, begins to tear up when talking about her husband’s lack of access to equipment to help him get around.

OTTAWA — The federal government has abandoned physically and mentally wounded Afghan veterans and their families to “a substandard life, substandard compensation and pain and toil,” a veterans’ advocacy group charged Thursday.

At a news conference ahead of Remembrance Day, families of disabled veterans told of their struggles to get even basic met by Veterans Affairs Canada — a situation that is predicted to get significantly worse for thousands of veterans if the Conservative government goes ahead with deep cuts to the department.

“This is the reality of the situation,” said Canadian Veterans Advocacy president Michael Blais, “not the sound bite you get from the government. Our government, through failing in their sacred obligation, has abandoned disabled veterans and their families to a substandard life, substandard compensation and pain and toil.”

There should be only one standard of care for all veterans, added Blais.

“They are seeking justice,” he said. “They don’t want any more than those who served at Juno Beach or Dieppe or Vimy and everywhere this nation committed blood, sacrifice and toil in our name. There is only one standard they deserve — a lifetime commitment from this nation of compensation for their pain and suffering. They deserve to be treated with the same damn level of respect we have accorded veterans in this nation since its conception.”

NDP Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer urged the government to re-think its cuts to Veterans Affairs, which, proportionately, is being cut more than any other government department.

“We owe an obligation to these people,” he said. “Remembrance Day for those who served and their families is every day, not just Nov 11.”

Read more:

Afghan vets and widows of fallen ‘abandoned’ by government, claims group

By CHRIS COBB, The Ottawa Citizen November 10, 2012

Read more:

OTTAWA — The federal government has abandoned its “sacred obligation” to physically and mentally wounded Afghan veterans and their families and condemned them to substandard lives, a veterans’ advocacy group charged Thursday.

“We are proud to have served our country,” 42-year-old disabled veteran David Desjardins told a news conference, “no one has the right to portray us as a burden on society.”

Desjardins, who has been unable to find work since being medically discharged from the Canadian Forces two years ago, said it is hypocritical of federal government ministers and military leaders to heap praise on veterans on Remembrance Day “when they have clearly turned their backs on us and continue to demonstrate this on a daily basis.”

The former military police officer — a veteran of Bosnia and Afghanistan — said he has applied for numerous jobs both in government and the private sector but says interviewers invariably focus on his inability to walk.

“I’m tired of interviews focusing on what I can’t do rather than what I can do,” said Desjardins whose 18-year-old son recently joined the military. “People, especially veterans, are not defined by our disabilities. We are hard wired to overcome adversity, adapt and carry on.”

Desjardins was one of several people at a Parliament Hill news conference describing their struggles to get even basic needs met by Veterans Affairs Canada — a situation predicted to significantly worsen for thousands of veterans if the Conservative government goes ahead with deep cuts to the department.

“This is the reality of the situation, not the sound bite you get from the government,” said Canadian Veterans Advocacy president Michael Blais, “Our government has abandoned these disabled veterans and their families to a substandard life, substandard compensation and pain and toil. These veterans deserve to be treated with the same damn level of respect that we have accorded veterans in this nation since its conception.”

Memorial Cross widow Jacqueline Girouard, whose husband Robert was killed by a Taliban suicide bomber during the bloody Operation Medusa in November 2006, said many war widows and their families are struggling.

“We didn’t do this out of choice but out of the necessity to survive,” she said. “My loss and my children’s loss was forced upon us by a war that took away from us the only person we had come to rely on.

“I don’t know who makes (government) policies,” she said, addressing the federal government. “But I can tell you it is not people who have experienced the loss of a husband or father who was taken by a war that we have yet to fully understand as a nation. “I’m not here to accuse,” she added, “because I know the faces behind Veterans Affairs have a heart. But I also know they are held captive by their own policies — policies that require the support of a nation to change.”

Girouard said Veterans Affairs gave her two years to decide whether to continue her education — an example, she added, of policies that often fail to take into account the emotional state of families.

“For three years,” she said, “I did not want to live. I was numb. I was with my husband for 31 years, since I was 15. He would be sad to know that I was left alone to take care of myself because he went and did what he thought was right. How can you allow our loved ones go fight for this country believing that you will help protect their wives and children if something happens?

“You use the fallen to benefit your cause,” she added, “but what do you give in return? (My husband’s) heart that I loved so much has stopped beating; his laughing voice I will never hear again … his eyes that I sought comfort in; his ears that will never hear the sound of his grandchildren calling his name. You couldn’t pay me, my children or my grandchildren enough to replace what you have taken away but you can help me meet their expectations.”

Girouard urged the federal government to be more responsive to widows and their children.

“Help these ladies when they ask because if they didn’t need help they wouldn’t ask,” she said. “Never forget they seek independence but never forget they have pride and loyalty. We want to be strong but sometimes you just need help.

Tracy Kerr, whose triple amputee husband William lost his limbs two years ago in an IED explosion, told reporters that even the most basic requests to Veterans Affairs get bogged down in paper work.“We make requests but they end up on desks waiting for signatures and approvals,” she said. “We’re waiting for a front door that would give him an entrance and exit but it still hasn’t been approved. Approval after approval … we’re waiting.”

NDP Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer urged the government to re-think its cuts to Veterans Affairs which, he said, is being cut proportionately more than any other federal department.

“This is a man who sacrificed his limbs for this country,” said Stoffer. “You’d think the government would say ‘whatever it takes we’ll help you. We’ll do it now and fill out the paper work later. But no. Years later they’re still waiting.”

(Kerr’s family-made documentary “A Soldier’s Family’ is on YouTube).

VIDEO: Read more:

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Mike Blais:
CVA Situation Report.

Post Remembrance Week Operation.

My apologies for the delay, I have had significant pain issues since returning to Niagara and there have been pressing issues in reference to Sunnybrook Hospital and the ongoing fight to reform the Last Post Burial Fund’s criteria and level of fiscal support.
Summary of activities

Saturday Nov 3rd, 2012 – Invited to annual Legion House consultation meetings along with over 20 other presidents/representatives of national veterans organizations. It was a very productive meeting and the major issues were discussed, including the opportunity to unite behind the wounded warriors who have banded together in order to seek One Veteran, One Standard justice through a class-action lawsuit in reference to the lump sum award.

Be advised the Canadian Veterans Advocacy is fully committed to these valiant young men/women and  during the round table discussions, spoke to the need for all national veterans organizations to unify behind their quest. They, those who have suffered the consequences of war, do not serve us. We, the veterans of this nation, serve them them! Now that they have spoken, now that they have united under principle and law, it is our sacred duty as veterans to stand behind them and champion the initiatives they have advanced through the lawsuit before the British Columbia Supreme Court.

I am very pleased to announce their was majority support in principle for this issue and equally important, the need to stand unified in demanding that the government address the resolutions the formal stakeholders united to pass during the Feb Stakeholders meeting and a letter, supported by a majority of the attendants, was dispatched to Minister Blaney.

Sunday, November 4. CVA Director Sylvain Chartrand and myself joined Yvan Thauvette, president of the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees for a working dinner. The CVA has demonstrated grave concerns about the adversarial impact the austerity based cuts are dictating on the Quality of Service/Care standards for our veterans. Many veterans have expressed concerns about the closure of district offices or their encounters with contracted entities such as the private company or Service Canada fielding many calls.

I would note that veterans are coming forward identifying issues wherein there has been an adversarial impact on the services they have been provided.  I would encourage you to forward any concerns that you might have to me direct as it is my intent to address these issues at Veterans Affairs Canada stakeholders meeting on December 6, which will be held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
There is something else you can do in the meantime. If you live in one of the service-withdrawal areas and you wish to register a complaint about your district office closing, please send a email/ letter or telephone call the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman to formally register a complaint. Please ensure to cc us or send us a note that you have acted on this submission so that we might track the response. There is only one effective medium to ensure your dissatisfaction is recorded and acted upon, contact Veterans Ombudsman Parent and register a formal complaint.

Special kudos to those in Sydney NS who protested, I suggest that their leadership on this issue should be an example to all!

Monday, November 5 – Memorable day. Directors Chartrand and myself represented the Canadian Veterans Advocacy during the joint Senate – Parliamentarian remembrance service in the Senate chambers. As is our custom, we were one of the first veterans groups to arrive and as such there was ample opportunity to speak to veterans, serving members, members of the media, Members of Parliament and Senators that were present. I was particularly pleased to speak with Christopher Alexander, parliamentary secretary for the Department of National Defense Committee and Sen. Pamela Wallin, Senate Committee – VAC.

Perhaps equally important, there was time to speak to other stakeholder presidents about the way forward now that the stakeholder meetings date has been confirmed. There is consensus on the need for a briefing on the proposed resolutions and I am hoping that we might continue to generate pressure for the department/ministry to address, not dismiss, this most import resolutions.

1400 – Question Period… Thanks to the leader of the Loyal Opposition for providing excellent seats and to Peter Stoffer, Sylvain Chicoine and Sean Casey for posing questions to Minister Blaney while we were present to observe. I must say, the minister was quite animated in his response, had he only answered the question instead of blaming the liberals for something done in another era…
1900  - City of Ottawa Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony. Centrepoint Theatre. Sylvain and I were joined by Jerry Kovacs, ANAVETS and Richard Blackwolf, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Metis Nation of Canada. Great entertainment, great attendance, several opportunities to speak with many veterans of many eras, DM Chaput and Minister Blaney.

Tuesday Nov 4th.

0900 hrs. National War Memorial. Paraded at Senate-Member’s of Parliament Memorial Service.  Spoke with Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary for Minister Blaney then General, now senator Romeo Dallaire about mutual concerns on a variety of levels. Very encouraging.

1200  Participated in a Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal presentation to Scott Taylor and was fortunate to have my regimental brothers General Peter Devlin and Army CWO Mike Hornbrook present the medal on the CVA’s behalf. Global interview at the national war memorial followed.

Afternoon – Travelled to Cornwall, Ontario, to speak at a fundraiser for Friends of Veterans, a grassroots organization dedicated to providing support for veterans in Cornwall. Our special appreciation to Dr Kaley, Denis and Steven for making myself, Richard, Sylvain and Peter Stoffer, who was also invited, feel so welcome.

Wednesday. AM Sylvain and I met with Colonel Michel Drapeau at his office, discussed mutual concerns and formed an alliance inclusive of legal advice/support. While Mssr Drapeau is not always in a position to provide pro bono services, his experience in military related litigation cannot be ignored. That being said, if you are going to pay for justice, I would certainly encourage you to turn to someone that understands your plight and is capable of acting in and proficient manner on your behalf.

PM – CBC cross country syndicated radio all afternoon, several cities. Media, press conference organization, meetings with principles. Spent evening resting and preparing for Thursday’s press conference, couple of media interviews 
Thursday 8 Nov.
0900 Press conference. Parliament Hill. Our profound gratitude to Tracy Kerr, Joan Larocque, Jacqueline Girouard, Dave Desjardins, Yvan Thauvette for demonstrating great courage and speaking out to the
issues confronting caregivers of the seriously wounded, our memorial cross widows and their families, those who are disabled and seeking gainful employment and the continuing state of decline of veterans services as a consequence of the government’s austerity plans. I am pleased to note that all the major media organizations were present and the operation played a significant role in our week long mission to draw public attention to the disrespectful manner in which our wounded warriors have been treated by the New Veterans Charter.

Good follow up press including a Radio Canada International Interview at war memorial that was possessive of a potential to reach out to a much wider, even global audience. Also engaged media on the Last Post Burial Fund and the evolving situation at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Friday – Significant pain issues, remained in motel all day, fielded several reporters calls and did a couple of am radio shows via telephone. Appeared on CTV Power Play with Tom Hoppe shortly after 5 pm, great interview, great to be on with Tom and speak with him later on the telephone. Attended Aboriginal Veterans celebration later with Richard Blackwolf, met many veterans of all eras and thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony.

Saturday, 10 Nov.
Up early, met Richard and Jerry Kovacs at from the ANAVETS and drove to Trenton. Arrived early, met mayor on site, then moved to Tim’s where Trapper Cane and the CAV were RVing. Great to speak to Trapper and so many dedicated men and women who rode in as it was a chilly November morn. Great to meet Denise, Jean, Coor, Brian, Don and many, many others who came forward to say hello and offer their support. Also nice to talk to General Vance, Colonel of the Regiment RCR Joe Aitcheson, General Thompson, CSOR and Retired General Lewis Mackenzie, who spoke about the Lump Sum Award the day before on CTV.

The ceremony was very well done and those who were responsible truly did an exemplary job for the families and those of us who have lost brothers and sisters in arms in Afghanistan and have lined the bridges or stood vigil at the coroner’s office in Toronto far too many times. Returned to Ottawa, forced rest, meds, heat, shower, City hall for the Korean Veterans ceremony at 1900. Met many new friends and re-established friendships with those met at earlier Korean War tributes or parades held throughout the year. Laid a wreath on behalf of the CVA in respect of Korean fallen. Met Korean Ambassador and thanked  him for his nation’s compassion and dedication to remembering the 516 Canadian valiant who fell at Kapyong, Chai – Li, Hills 355, 187, The Hook, Little Gibraltar… Lest we Forget!

Remembrance Day. Be advised that the CVA respects the solemnity of this day and that no advocacy operations were condoned or conducted at the national level. There were many media opportunities denied or deferred to other veterans. I have friends amongst the Afghan fallen and those who died during other eras, on this day, we focus on their sacrifice and so it was. Great ceremony at the National War Monument, great opportunity to speak with many veterans of all generations about their service and in the spirit of brothers and sisters in arms no longer at our sides but never forgotten.
Went for lunch at Chateau Laurier, great soup and conversations with many, many veterans who had borne witness to our efforts over Veterans Week to draw attention to veterans in need. Outstanding level of support, particularly from those who fought in Korea and WW2. Better stories and I am particularly grateful to Stan and Reg for enlightening me as to how it was aboard a frigate on the north sea, Gerry for sharing his experiences as a wireless gunner aboard a Lancaster over Germany and Jean Pierre, George, Gerry and the many others who bravely fought in Korea. I will never forget.

Visited War Museum then Armoury then returned to the National War Memorial to observe the crowd for an hour and reflect upon the many friends who I have served with that have been called to niner higher. Back gave out around three, had to return to Econolodge for forced rest and preparation for return to Niagara.

Strategic analysis. As always, the Canadian Veterans Advocacy operations are message driven, accordingly, success or failure can only be judged by the degree of outreach to the Canadian public we have mustered.
CVA Message delivery on all public communications and media forum was consistent, with coverage by all major TV broadcasters and many local affiliates across the nation. Newspaper and radio assets were also extraordinary and throughout the course of the week and several follow up opportunities the following days, we can reasonably assess that our message was delivered to over half of the voting population of this nation.
The Press Conference format was very successful and will be a common factor in all future operations. It is vital that your voice be heard, that the plight of veterans who are not being served resounds both within the House of Commons and across the nation. Only when we have attained the full support of the Canadian public will the government restore the Sacred Obligation. 

I would offer special thanks to Sylvain Chartrand, CVA director, for his unwavering support and dedication to the cause. Sylvain organized a very successful event at his local school on the 9th of November in addition to standing beside me in Ottawa during some very significant encounters. I would also thank Tom Hoppe and Harold Leduc for taking time to speak with me, to explain their stories, feelings on advocacy and how to attain unity of all veterans organizations under one message. Of course, I appreciate the advice that many others have offered, their names are many and I am, whether I agree or not, always grateful and eager to engage in consultation.

Future CVA Operations.


Attended a special briefing at hospital Wed, 22 November and met with over a dozen residents at a round table setting with no staff present and full transparency. We spoke for an hour plus about their service and their lives at Sunnybrook. I truly enjoy speaking with this generation of veterans and today was no exception. Of course, they knew who I was, why I was there and were, not surprisingly, supportive of Sunnybrooks nurses and the care they were receiving. I assured them that the complaints that were brought forward were not related to their level of care, that we were sincere in ensuring that all veterans of their era were treated with dignity and respect. All in all, it was a very positive meeting and I was assured by the sincerity demonstrated by the residents and staff in response to my queries.

Had a brief walk about, was impressed with level of cleanliness and general well being of those who I encountered. Met with Benjamin Woodman, Minister Blaney's office and Charlotte Bastian and Krista Locke, who are representing VAC initiated audit of Sunnybrook, then attended the formal meeting which was more like an informational exercise designed to apprise the board of the context of the media reports and the results of various internal surveys compared to the Ontario/national averages.

Charlotte Bastian spoke on behalf of VAC and while the audit has been confirmed, details have yet to be defined. Once this has been clarified, the information will be provided. Then, and only then, will we be in a position to assess whether this is a sincere effort, which I do in fact hope, or another trip down the proverbial rabbit hole... All in all, a positive day.

Last Post Fund. Under pressure over the Remembrance week while abroad, Prime Minister Harper claimed the veterans’ program was under review. We shall see.
PRIVACY ISSUES – Minister Blaney’s recent decision to halt Ombudsman Parent’s investigations in the many privacy breaches at VAC, including Harold Leduc’s VRAB related transgressions, and turn the operation over to the Privacy commissioners raises great concerns about the legitimacy of the ombudsman’s office and the relationship between the minister’s office and the OVO. More to follow…
January – Ottawa – Jan 9th  Fynes MPCC Hearing -  summations. CVA supporters have done an outstanding job over the past several months in ensuring Mrs Fynes was not isolated during the hearings or alone while in Ottawa. Final summations will be conducted in January but I would take this opportunity to thank David, Giselle, Kelly, David, Dave and those of you in Ottawa or travelled to Ottawa to support this humanitarian effort throughout the course of the hearing. I would also thank those who have expressed their generosity to the CVA team while we are in Ottawa. We are very grateful and I can assure you, after so many trips over the past year, the relief you have provided was welcome.

Parliamentary Spring Session. 2013 Ottawa TBA - 4 day lobbying trip – objectives, speak to ALL Liberal leadership candidates and engage on the party’s potential policy on veterans. Reaffirm existing alliances and prepare for any operations re budget. There is an election looming, we must as an advocacy ensure that all parties are aware of our position, our expectations and support our mission for justice, the abolishment of the New Veterans Charter/Lump Sum Award and the restoration of the sacred obligation to those who have been wounded, the families of the fallen and those who have suffered from the modern consequences of war including PTSD and contaminant exposure – Exercise Vacuum, DU, Agent Orange,  Gulf War Syndrome…
I am pleased to announce that veterans advocate Tom Hoppe, aka Dances with Bullets, Medal of Bravery and Meritorious Service Cross recipient, has volunteered to join us in Ottawa and with Sylvain Chartrand and myself, will compose the vanguard of our political engagement team. Tom removed his medals this year for Remembrance Day as a symbolic gesture of protest in support of those who launched the Class Action suit and Harold Leduc, who was dismissed from the VRAB even though the charges he laid were proven before the Human Rights Commission. Tom Hoppe privacy was also violated multiple times.
Remember always, only legislative reforms passed through the House of Commons and the Senate will attain the objectives we seek. To affect this goal, we must convince as many MPs and senators as possible to support our mission. If there is an opportunity to speak of these issues over the Christmas break with your elected representative, please do so. Our voices can only be heard if they are spoken. 

God bless our nation, our troops at home and abroad as they serve in Harm’s Way, our wounded warriors, veterans and the families that have borne the sacred duty of caring for Canada’s disabled sons and daughters for their rest of their lives; God bless those whose loved ones never come home. Lest we Forget.


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