All posts tagged Department of Veterans Affairs

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


Feds dilly-dallying with disabled veterans

Sean Bruyea

Disabled veterans and their families have been told to wait yet again while the House Committee on Veterans Affairs holds further hearings on the New Veterans Charter (NVC). An inundation of unanimous calls for government to act has been obscured by dilly-dallying, distraction and distortion on government’s part.

Government appointed advisory groups since 2006 have supplied more than 300 recommendations for change to the department and the NVC. I provided committee another 55. Government has chosen to play far too much politics with the recommendations or has frustratingly ignored unanimously endorsed elephants in the room.

One recommendation looks to increase the level of the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) which currently provides 75% of an injured member’s salary at time of military release. The languishing of this recommendation serves as a sad example of how most substantive recommendations are being thrown into the trash bin.

In response to this recommendation, elected officials and senior bureaucrats have been quick to march out one scenario from a 2013 report. Minister Fantino testified: “In fact, according to the Veterans Ombudsman, a 24-year corporal who is medically released from the military will now receive upwards of $2 million in total financial benefits because of improvements our government has made.”

Two million dollars sounds impressive until we break it down.… Read the rest


Whistleblowers: Vilified for Doing the Right Thing?

The following piece was first published in the Epoch Times on March 25, 2014..

Treat whistleblowers with respect, says sponsorship scandal hero

By Epoch Times

Whistleblowers should be hailed as heroes but are all too often stigmatized, harassed, marginalized and blacklisted for life, says the former public servant who blew the whistle on the federal sponsorship scandal.

In 2004, former Public Works bureaucrat Allan Cutler triggered one of the biggest political scandals in modern Canadian history when he revealed that millions in public funds were being misdirected to Liberal-friendly advertising firms — a scandal that contributed to the Liberal party’s defeat two years later in the federal election.

Cutler was vilified, monitored, threatened, and demoted, before being finally vindicated by a 2006 inquiry into the scandal.

But Cutler’s battle has never really stopped. The stress of the ordeal damaged his health and forced him into early retirement. His reputation as a whistleblower consistently blocks him from professional and personal opportunities, he says.

“My life is totally different because of what I went through,” says Cutler, adding that many whistleblowers share a similarly traumatic experience.

“The consequences for whistleblowers range from being dead-ended in a job to being fired, to your health permanently destroyed, your self-confidence ruined, nervous breakdowns, suicide.… Read the rest