Monday, 12 August 2013

Veterans Organizations Stand United

Veterans Organizations Stand United and demand Government Reaffirms its Social Contract to all Veterans.

This is a republication of a media release by the Royal Canadian Legion.

The Veterans Consultation Group, representing 17 Veteran Organizations, is outraged that Department of Justice lawyers representing the Government of Canada reject the view that the Government has any moral or social obligation to Veterans and their families. On behalf of these
17 Veteran groups, The Royal Canadian Legion Dominion President, Gordon Moore strongly believes that all Canadians trust the Government will honour its obligation to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the RCMP who willingly risk injury, illness or death to
serve our country protecting the values and way of life we all enjoy. There is also a responsibility to the families of these men and women.

In 1917, just prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden stated that “You can go into this action feeling assured of this, and as the head of the government I give you this assurance:

"That you need not fear that the government and the country will fail to show just
appreciation of your service to the country and Empire in what you are about to do and what you have already done. The government and the country will consider it their first duty to see that a proper appreciation of your effort and of your courage is brought to the notice of people at home…that no man, whether he goes back or whether he remains in
Flanders, will have just cause to reproach the government for having broken faith with the men who won and the men who died.”
Inherent inthese words, by the Prime Minister, was the promise and moral recognition that Canada and the Government of Canada would never forget the sacrifice its Veterans and their families make. This promise formed the basis of Canada’s legislation to support our Veterans. Moore is concerned that the Government has forgotten this commitment.

“On behalf of the Veterans Consultation Group I am asking the Government to demonstrate its social and moral obligation to all Veterans and their families who serve and continue to serve our country and assure us that there will be an expanded review of the New Veterans Charter this fall.”

 In addition Moore states, “This lawsuit highlights beyond any doubt the need to confirm the
Government’s commitment to all Veterans, to hear from Veterans and their families and to fully understand the impact of this important piece of legislation. When have injured soldiers ever sued their government?”

The money and travel related to commemorating Canada’s military history does not have meaning when soldiers are suing their government. With the 100th anniversary of World War I just around the corner, the most profound activity this Government could deliver to honour this historic event would
be to reaffirm its social contract to all Veterans and their families and assure an expanded and transparent review of the New Veterans Charter is conducted.

This is exactly what the Legion along with the members of the Veterans Consultation Group asked for in their letter to the VAC Minister in May of 2013. We are still waiting for the Minister, and indeed the government, to take action on this issue.

Opinion:  While there has been ample main stream media coverage on those killed during the Afghan conflict, there are many veterans suffering silently, primarily due to PTSD.  We have veterans that are homeless due to inadequate care, including many that have committed suicide or have contemplated it.

It is time that the mainstream media take up the mantle and report this story with the same vigour.  The overwhelming sentence that sticks in my mind from this release is:  When have veterans ever sued their government before?   That is definitely food for thought.


  1. This is a strong message. Unfortunately, it omits some of the most vocal advocates for veterans rights in the past 7 years but it seems to be a new beginning. I have one important question that MUST be answered - When will the organizations listed in the release openly admit that they made a mistake by unconditionally supporting the bureaucracy driven New Veterans Charter? Please step up and take it on the chin; admit that errors in accepting the NVC were made and that you are doing everything in your power to make amends. It is the most important statement for the healing, unification and solidarity of ALL veterans!

  2. Fred it is indeed a new start. There have undoubtedly mistakes in the past and I discussed this issue last night in an e-mail with Harold Leduc. I suggested that a round table be organized to include the consulting group as well as organizations that look after homeless veterans, Mike Blais and the Veterans Advocate people. I think Gordon Moore has extended an olive leaf and perhaps we should take advantage of the situation. To me the sentence that never in Canada's history veterans ended up suing the government said it all. The rest should now be coordination and unity of effort.