All posts in category C4A Editorial

Veterans bang heads against Parliamentary, bureaucratic wall

Veterans on Remembrance Day, 2013, from The Hill Times

Sean Bruyea

The hue and cry from veterans and their families has not dimmed but grown stronger since 2005 when Parliament passed the legislation we now know as the ‘New Veterans Charter’ or NVC. Will Parliament take up veterans’ torch and finally make bureaucracy work for veterans? As the unaddressed recommendations accumulate, will the NVC become increasingly unfit to provide adequate shelter for our veterans and their families in the coming years?

Last week, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs wrapped up hearings on the NVC. We must remember that elected Members of the House of Commons have never debated nor given serious independent and binding consideration of the dramatic changes that the NVC made to the relationship between Canada and those who were and are prepared to lay down their lives in her service.

In good faith, far too many accepted the shoddy construction of the NVC because government promised to keep the renovations going. Near stagnant ‘incrementalism,’ a dirty word in the first 50 years of veterans’ benefits in Canada, has become the sad new social contract between Canada and, our veterans and their families.

Veterans Affairs Canada made pretenses to the glory of Canada’s post World War II veterans’ benefits.… Read the rest

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Sylvie Therrien, 2014 Golden Whistle Award Winner

Last Monday, POGG Canada and Canadians for Accountability awarded the seventh annual Golden Whistle Award. This Award is presented annually to honour a whistleblower for integrity, courage, and resolve in the service of “Peace, Order and Good Government”. As usual, there were a number of worthy candidates, but unfortunately only one can be chosen. This year, the award went to Sylvie Therrien, a former employee who blew the whistle on a grossly unethical policy targeting employment insurance claimants.

When she started her job as a federal Employment Insurance fraud investigator, Ms. Therrien was surprised to find out that the main – perhaps only – measure of her performance was whether she had met her target for cutting off EI claimants on the basis of fraud: $35,000-$40,000 per month. If she had been able to meet those targets using  only those who had actually committed fraud, it’s likely we would never have heard of her. By her estimate, only a very small minority were actual fraud cases – as low as one in twenty.

Rather than assessing each case on the basis of its merits and assuming innocence until proven guilty, she and other fraud inspectors were told to comb through people lives to find any excuse to cut benefits.… Read the rest

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Niagara Regional Police blow the whistle on themselves

A current case being pursued by Canadians for Accountability, involves unidentified remains found in the Niagara River in 1998 and the saga of a family of a teenager who went missing in 1995.  The major issue is that neither the Niagara Regional Police nor the Ontario Coroner’s office have done a DNA analysis on the remains in the past and their attempt to not do the testing now, even under the pressure from the family and Canadians for Accountability.

The interesting feature of this case is the extent to which the Coroner and the police will go to refuse to act.  This is where the Police and the Coroner, through their actions, become Whistleblowers, exposing problems with themselves.

The Coroner’s Office, in response to requests from the family has used three excuses not to do the DNA analysis.  The first excuse was that DNA testing was too expensive.  This excuse was eliminated when the family offered to pay for the test.  The second excuse was that, since the teenager drowned in Lake Ontario, there was no way that the body could wash into the Niagara River.  This second excuse was blown apart by the complete lack of evidence that the youth drowned in Lake Ontario or, indeed, drowned at all. … Read the rest

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