Friday, November 12, 2010

You're starting to piss me off. Updated

You're only as good as the good you can do.

If you're an ombudsman, that means you weigh the complaint with the knowledge that you are the only door through which the complainant feels safe to pass. But if the complainant doesn't believe he/she is going to get a sympathetic ear, they'll find another way to make their case and it probably won't end well for you.

You, Guy Parent, may decide not to be vocal, but I suspect veterans won't sit by and abide a silence which results in nothing. We do, after all, come from long careers in a "results" oriented mob.

Whatever your methods, veterans expect results. And with a speed you may not yet comprehend. They... we... expect a fix to the problems in right rapid order.

You may not think the system is broken, but most of us are in a position to disagree. And not just mildly.

You will remember the occasion of the Rescue Specialist who, on a life-saving mission, received orders to standby and hook-up. Then he was told to stand down. Then hook-up. Then another stand down. Then he was ordered to jump. He did. In the confusion, he left the aircraft without his static line connected and broke most of the bones in his body.

The results of the summary investigation are now meaningless, save for the protocols which were developed to prevent such incidents in the future. But this country owes that jumper, no less than they owe any other member who suffered an injury, wound or loss of faculty due to the conditions under which they served.

And they shouldn't have to make repeated applications to have their conditions acknowledged by VAC. The department treats applicants as though they are trying to game the system. Correct me if I'm wrong, but back in new entry training we were told that if we suffered any form of permanent damage, we would be looked after. Perhaps our instructors shouldn't have used the examples of our then surviving veterans to make their point. Clearly they believed something different than the reality which faces veterans today.

Canada treated its Great War veterans like dogs. After suffering through the Somme, taking Vimy Ridge, liberating Passchendaele and becoming the acknowledged storm troopers of the armies of the British Empire, Canada kicked them into the gutter within six months of them returning home.

That was corrected after the 2nd World War. Canada was acknowledged as having one of the most generous and comprehensive veterans' rehabilitation schemes and life-long care systems in the world. Of course it probably helped that over 50 percent of post-war members of parliament were actually veterans.

Funny how that works. Especially compared to today where almost none have served, including the ministers responsible, and they're finding the Great War solution to veterans the most convenient to their political ambitions. 

To tell a profoundly wounded veteran that he/she will get a lump sum payment and then tossed onto the lines of a provincial medical system (which is not prepared to handle such wounds) is a gross betrayal of the compact with this country which has existed since the end of the 2nd World War. If that isn't a broken system, then demonstrate how it can be described as fair.

In 1938, before the 2nd World War had erupted and referring to Great War and Boer War veterans, Professor Stephen Leacock wrote in the Veteran's Annual Commentator:

When the war ends they are welcomed home under arches of flowers with all the girls leaping for their necks, and within six months they are expected to vanish into thin air, keep out of the public house and give no trouble.
Not this time, mate. You have a lot of work to do and not a lot of time.


Additional listening and reading:

Via Noni Mausa in comments Guy Parent responds to questions on CBC The Current. This is looking like something that is going to end very badly indeed. Listen to yourself, Guy. What do you think veterans heard?

Gerald Caplan lays it all out in front of you. (H/T Greg). Read every word, Guy, but read this over twice.

The Royal Canadian Mint pays for an entire page in The Globe advertising its new commemorative poppy coin and its Remembrance Day collector cards. The cards sell for $9.95 (not $10?), half of which will go to the Military Families Fund. I first discovered this fund a year ago, on the eve of Remembrance Day 2009. An organization I’d never heard of called the True Patriot Love Foundation held a gala in Toronto to raise $2-million for this fund, which assists military families facing urgent financial need resulting from conditions of service.

But no one at the Mint or at the gala seemed to ask the obvious question: Why should military families need private charity if they have issues arising from serving overseas? Two million dollars is chump change for any government. Stephen Harper's office alone now costs us $10-million a year. So why do our vets and their families need $2-million from private sources? What if they need more than $2-million? Why should the soldiers we honour so loudly be dependent on charity?

You have work to do. And you work for the citizens of this country - not Harper.


Noni Mausa said...

I listened to this guy on The Current, and what a purebred Harper lap dog he sounded. Did you know injured vets choose to live homeless? Did you know that permanently disabled men in their early 20s might want to take their quarter mil (enough to buy a house, but not much more) to start a business, not for medical care?

The chances of a young man, injured or not, keeping his hands on $250,000 for more than a year or two is predictably slim. Starting a business makes those chances slimmer.

Back before the current economic collapse, in 1998, Dun and Bradstreet said “businesses with fewer than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving four years (in business) and only a 9% chance of surviving 10 years.”

I can't imagine it is any better now. Urging injured soldiers to start a business is a roundabout way of dumping their longterm support onto the social services of the provinces.

You can find Parent's interview here: It is full of nuggets of neo-con nonsense. He will serve his constituents well -- but not the injured soldiers.


Dana said...

I don't know what you expected, Dave.

Harper wasn't going to be finding anyone other than a lickspittle and an ass kisser.

I realize you said you knew this guy but I think maybe the operative word is "knew", as in past tense.

He's quite clearly been thoroughly whipped.

Boris said...


The wishful thinker in me hopes that the apparent tension between Stogran and Parent is calculated and they're running a strategy.

It is something of a huge 'uh oh' when the CO publicly proclaims his lack of confidence in the chief NCM. THAT, does not inspire confidence at all.

900ft Jesus said...

what a big disappointment. I had such hopes from your earlier post, Dave. Reminded of a friend of mine who was the most trusted of friends...until she had to choose between me and her new boss.

Holly Stick said...

Calgary has several foodbanks, including one for veterans run by the Calgary Poppy Fund. According to this article, it mainly serves WWII vets, and some younger ones.

Those vets are all senior citizens; why do they need a food bank? Could it be that we have inadequate social supports for all senior citizens?

Harper visited it last April, but didn't talk to reporters. So no one asked him why such a food bank exists in the first place.

Dave said...

The problem Holly is that somehow someone managed to turn a Veterans' Food Bank into some kind of glorious photo op for Harper.

The press should have come out screaming about the juxtaposition of Harper's troops supporting mantra and veterans having to survive off charity.

The reason Harper doesn't answer questions, and therefore reporters do not ask them, is that Harper recognizes how dangerous he is to his own false narrative. He's literally afraid of himself.

LK said...

Starting to? Remember why Dudley George died? Seems to me that was a Veteran's Issue.