Dear Prime Minister Harper:
Gosh, the Veterans Affairs portfolio has been difficult hasn’t it? I don’t think you have received enough credit however for appointing Julian Fantino as the Department’s Minster. He has been a blessing in disguise to Canada’s disabled veterans and their families.
Canadians, particularly veterans, may be widely repulsed by the constant shenanigans of Minister Fantino. I suspect that being the veteran and military champion you claim to be, you had a hidden plan to bring substantive change to that poorly managed department. Our senior public servants and their policies are largely integrity, compassion, transparency and innovation challenged. Those at Veterans Affairs (VAC) are arguably the worst of the lot.
Back to Minister Fantino. Many believe you appointed the highly controversial ex-police chief because he could somehow command order amongst those ungratefully vocal veterans who dared exercise the very rights for which they sacrificed in uniform. You know, I am referring to those pesky fundamental freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly and the press.
Just as Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn noted following the widespread breaches in my privacy in 2010, VAC all alone in Charlottetown needed a change in culture. Rightly bringing the department back to Ottawa would be a rather large budget line.… Read the rest
Veterans have every reason to be disillusioned with Ottawa once again. But this time, the disappointment could become the nail in Minister Julian Fantino’s Veterans Affairs coffin.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee released its much anticipated report reviewing the New Veterans Charter (NVC). The legislation required a “comprehensive review” to begin last November in spite of Minister Fantino’s claim that he called for the review to be comprehensive. The Minister did however call committee to focus on the “most seriously injured, support for families and delivery of program by Veterans Affairs Canada [VAC]”.
The report’s 14 limited recommendations received unanimous and glowing accolades from all parties.
Let’s dig a little deeper. The most positive recommendation proposed a detailed procedure for injured leaving the military, transferring to VAC and receiving care in their communities. Ensuring that veterans in isolated and rural areas receive adequate care, a longstanding problem, was not addressed.
Most of the remaining thirteen recommendations range from poorly defined to bizarre.
The NVC results in serious inequities, providing less to reserve force veterans than those in the regular military. The report recommended that reserve force veterans “be entitled to the same benefits” as regular force veterans.… Read the rest