Veterans Affairs Canada’s sole purpose for existing is to administer, see to and help with the medical, mental, social and financial needs of Canada’s past military and RCMP personnel, also known as veterans. For the most part, this is and has been done by very many, very dedicated and compassionate frontline workers within Veterans Affairs and when treated with respect, understanding and fairness most veterans are actually happy with the level of service which they receive. Ya sure, we could all use a bit more money, then again who couldn’t, and we definitely could use a more streamlined, as well as a less confusing, disability pension process.
But today, veterans are faced with a situation which won’t go away by ignoring it and which Ottawa and Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn seem to have their hands tied (or so we have been told) by the Public Services Union. This problem, which involves members working in or directly for Veterans Affairs deliberately and maliciously contributing to the causes and/or worsening of a veteran’s pensionable condition. And it is being portrayed to us that nothing can be done about it. Worse yet, the offenders have actually been rewarded with money, paid time off and promotion for their indiscretions and mistreatment of the very veterans they are obligated to serve and help.
I am talking about the infamous 54 bureaucrats, within Veterans Affairs, who found no problem with invading someone’s private military and medical files. Some went further to use illicitly and illegally gained information about one particular veteran, which was contained within his private files, to try and destroy his credibility because he chose to disagree with their wishes and reasoning behind the implementation of the new Veterans Charter and continued to work as an advocate for other veterans in their disputes with Veterans Affairs.
This veteran had a documented case of post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition which often involves depression and paranoia, and in this case, if the veteran had a case of paranoia or not, they definitely didn’t exclude the fact that they were out to get him Ã a fact which could only have added to both his depression and paranoia.
So basically, there are 54 known Veterans Affairs employees, still working at Veterans Affairs, who not only did not provide the help, care and understanding this veteran needed, but actively added to and maliciously contributed to his already identified condition.
Blackburn’s own words, “I apologize for what happened to this man and the others,” would seem to indicate that this man wasn’t the only one that this was done to and because the Veterans Affairs employees have not only been left in place but some have even been promoted, this tells me that they won’t be the last.
Should veterans be asked, or should I say forced, to continue on as if it never happened? It’s not like veterans have a second choice for their needs, and because of this, right now there are not many of us veterans who can any longer trust Veterans Affairs security, integrity, or the privacy of our medical files
To me, this is an unworkable situation for veterans but sadly it is also destroying the reputation of so many frontline workers still trying to work under these adverse conditions, who now also have no idea who they can trust.
Bill C-55 has not changed this.
Kenneth H. Young CD