All posts tagged accountability

Why Canada needs to pry open the doors of the legion’s headquarters

Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Sean Bruyea

The national leadership of the Royal Canadian Legion faces a crisis in confidence with its membership along with Canada’s veterans. All Canadians should be concerned with this, given the legion’s responsibility for the poppy symbol and the millions donated as a result.

The legion once actively and assertively advocated for the rights of veterans and their families. The community work performed by many local branches is highly commendable. Provincial Commands, without consideration of personal reward or enrichment, have frequently launched innovations to assist veterans such as homeless-shelter programs.

In contrast, paid senior leadership at national headquarters, known as Dominion Command and located in a suburb of Ottawa, is at risk of being perceived as out of touch with not just veterans but legion membership. Much of the blame for plummeting membership can be placed directly on the leadership’s shoulders.

Why should veterans care about how the legion manages its affairs? After all, of the legion’s about 254,000 paid members on June 1, 62,000 are listed as “ordinary” members. This category includes those who served in Canada’s military but also retired and serving members of the RCMP, civilian police forces, armed forces of all 28 NATO nations, as well as the Canadian Coast Guard.… Read the rest

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…

For a couple of years, Canadians for Accountability has been raising the issue of problems surrounding Safety Management System or SMS.  SMS is a “voluntary”, although the government will say “mandated”, reporting system for the safety of certain forms of transportation in Canada.  In essence it allows rail and air operators to do their own safety checking procedures and send the paper work to Transport Canada (TC).  The inspectors at TC make sure that all the boxes are filled in correctly, not that the inspection was done correctly!

The government will not admit it but the reason behind SMS was to allow TC to cut their budgets for inspections and inspectors.  We average, belive it or not, about one rail incident PER DAY in Canada.  Most of them are related to issues that should be part of safety inspections.  Airlines fair better under SMS than rail carriers because they have very large maintenance crews, but SMS is being extended to small carriers and bush fleets who do not have a culture of self examination (air minutes mean profit…. downtime means loss).

Now the government has decided to cut the inspection budget of TC again.  See: <http://globalnews.ca/news/1916438/funding-slashed-for-all-safety-programs-at-transport-canada>.

Our work is never done.  … Read the rest

Hiring veterans not a priority for O’Toole

by Sean Bruyea
   For the first time in eight decades, issues affecting Canada’s military veterans issues are featured prominently in an election.
   With so much at stake, why would government yet again mess up another issue with veterans: priority hiring into the federal public service? Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole, in another installment of government hype on the treatment of veterans, provided this statement during the July 2015 changes to priority hire veterans: “The Government of Canada is keeping its commitment to help military veterans thrive while making the transition to civilian life.”
   Prior to these changes, only medically-released members could have one chance to be priority hired. Serving members weren’t allowed to access internal competitions, representing 88 per cent of public service job openings. Changes now allow Canadian Forces members to access internal competitions but with no priority placement. Non-medically released veterans can have priority accessing only external jobs, representing the remaining 12 per cent of competitions. After World War II, all overseas veterans received preference in all competitions, the injured having the highest preference, no time limits, and multiple attempts.
   Time will tell if priority-hiring amendments are working, but are the minister, his department, and the rest of the civil service helping veterans “thrive”?… Read the rest