PERIODICAL - (Dec, 2006) Issue No: 200611 English Francais
Print Version Table of Contents What is VeteranVoice.info? Veteran's Pension Survey - Initial Results Sifting through the Distortion Veterans' Anger Goes Beyond Disappointment Job Well Done! Military/RCMP Pensioners Against Benefit Reduction at age 65 How you can help! Recommended Links www.VeteranVoice.info VeteranVoice.info VVi is for you, all veterans, regardless of whether you belong to a veteran organization or not. VVi is a distribution centre, a conduit for making sure that the information you need as a veteran is there for you in a timely fashion. Our aim is to provide a forum for all Canadian veterans, serving members and their families to have access to information pertaining to veteran rights. VVi is an independent site, not associated with any governmental department, agency or veteran organization. VeteranVoice.info is maintained by independent contributions. Return to Top
Veteran's Pension Survey - initial Results By the Veterans' Survey Group Initial stats have indicated that in 92 percent of the cases, Veterans Affairs (VAC) had overruled the diagnosed medical conditions, resulting in military Medical Releases. This is in light that the military (DND) did everything correctly and in accordance with universality of service the medical release was warranted. DND made no mistakes in medically releasing all members (Officers: Major to 2nd Lieutenant and Chief Warrant Officers to Private). DND used both military and civilian physicians, medical specialists and completed all required tests for release. However, it appears that VAC, in particular the Veterans Review Appeals Board (VRAB) either ignored or reversed professional diagnosis. Where DND did an outstanding job in 99.9 percent of the time, VAC overruled on all cases, by using non-medical VRAB members. VAC completed no medical tests and consulted with no medical specialists (physician's, physiotherapists, etc) nor did they request any medical (or dental) tests on 92 percent of all case files. This is based on 10,000 medical files reviewed between 1982 to September, 2006.
in consultation with all Colleges of Physicians and the Canadian Medical Association, it is illegal to practice medicine without a licence in Canada, even for those persons being appointed on the Recommendation of the Prime Minister of Canada such as VRAB members. VRAB members who receive very medium training are then commissioned to overrule military Medical Releases without consulting any medical authority.
Sr Analyst VSG
VVi Comment: The Veteran Survey Research form is still available on this site at http://www.veteranvoice.info/vetsurvey.htm . VSG will continue to review survey responses adding to their continuous stats database. All veterans are encouraged to complete a survey form.
Return to Top Sifting through the Distortion This is a two-part piece about the news conference organised by Sean Bruyea on 15 November, 2006. The first part is the CBC article and the second is a rebuttal of the statements made by VAC officials. Please note that Sean Bruyea does not belong to a recognized veterans group; however, he is a supporter of veterans’ issues and has spoken many times to government agencies and the media on these issues.Afghan soldiers' benefits lower than civil servants, group says Last Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | 8:28 PM ET CBC News A group of Canadian veterans is calling on the government to create an ombudsman for veterans affairs, saying it's not fair that Ottawa gives much lower benefits to military personnel than it does to public servants.
"We wonder about the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan who receive a lump sum of $250,000 plus two years of a very modest salary, while a director in the federal civil service who fatally slips on a bar of soap in the bathtub will receive more than $650,000, or a deputy minister fatally falling down the stairs to his basement would receive $1.25 million," Sean Bruyea, a retired captain and spokesman for the group, said Wednesday. Bruyea said civil servants who become disabled are eligible for a medical pension after only two years of employment, while military members have to wait 10 years.
He also said that disability benefits for soldiers are taxable, while they're not for civil servants.
The group called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fulfil his promise during the campaign for the January federal election to create a veterans ombudsman. The government has since introduced a new system of benefits for veterans. But Bruyea claims the Veterans Affairs Department designed the veterans charter and the benefits program to save money, not help those who've served their country. The group said the ombudsman could have protected veterans against some problems with the new benefits system. But Bryson Guptil, director general for program and service policy at Veterans Affairs Canada, disputed some of Bruyea's claims. He said while he doesn't know the details about the specific benefit packages given to some directors or deputy ministers in the public service, the benefit packages delivered to the military are generally "a hell of a lot better" than what the public service receives. 'Far-reaching' consultation Those packages include an automatic tax-free, lump-sum death benefit of $250,000 to the spouse or partner of someone killed in action, monthly income support of 75 per cent of the veteran's military salary and other kinds of support. Gerald A. Lefebvre, director of communications for Veterans Affairs, added that consultation during the development of the new veterans charter was the "most extensive and far-reaching" ever to be conducted in the history of Veterans Affairs.
He said the consultations included those with six major veterans' organizations, which support the charter and represent more than 500,000 Canadian veterans.
Lefebvre added the government is still committed to establishing a veterans ombudsman. Disingenuous or Ignorance One would hope that federal bureaucrats would take the time and make the effort to provide factual information when responding. This does not seem to be the case. The result is that they come across as ignorant or disingenuous, neither of which reflects well on their professionalism. Bryson Guptil, director general for program and service policy at Veterans Affairs Canada, said while he doesn't know the details about the specific benefit packages given to some directors or deputy ministers in the public service, the benefit packages delivered to the military are generally "a hell of a lot better" than what the public service receives. Mr Guptil, here are the facts that you could not or chose not to provide: For PS Disability Insurance: "Disability benefits will NOT be offset by: a) any amount of war disability benefit provided under the Pension Act to the extent of the amount that is payable to the employee on the date that he completed his elimination period or any subsequent increase in such amount arising under the Pension Act because of an adjustment related to the Consumer Price Index for Canada, or any increase provided by subsequent amendments to the Pension Act; NOTE: However, if there is an increase in the war disability benefit because of the disability which gives rise to benefits under the Disability Insurance (DI) Plan, the amount of that increase may be subject to offset. b) an immediate annuity payable on release to a member of the Canadian Armed Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under a pension plan applicable to either; " Reference: http://www.pwgsc.gc.ca/compensation/iam/iam-3-11-6-e.html For PS Long Term Disability: "Long-term disability benefits will not be offset by (a) disability payments to a veteran under the Pension Act; (b) an immediate annuity payable on release to a member of the Canadian Forces (CF) or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) under a pension plan applicable to either;" Reference: http://www.pwgsc.gc.ca/compensation/iam/iam-4-8-15-e.html Gerald A. Lefebvre, director of communications for Veterans Affairs, added that consultation during the development of the new veterans charter was the "most extensive and far-reaching" ever to be conducted in the history of Veterans Affairs.
Mr Lefebvre, this is what Ontario Command of the Royal Canadian Legion said about those consultations:
“While the Dominion Command Legion policy statement refers to extensive and comprehensive collaborations between the RCL and other organizations in the development of this major legislation, the Legion’s provincial commands, their service officers and their veterans services committees had no meaningful opportunity to understand or participate in the debate on the new charter and the ‘trade-offs’ that had to be made to fund the new benefits. In fact, there has been no organizational debate within the various levels of the Legion on the costs of this legislation.” He said the consultations included those with six major veterans' organizations, which support the charter and represent more than 500,000 Canadian veterans.
The Legion and the five other organisations represent less than 25% of the 837,000 veterans that VAC acknowledges. The Legion includes in its numbers members who are neither military veterans nor serving and former members of the RCMP. You may be eligible for membership in a Canadian branch of The Royal Canadian Legion if you are a Canadian citizen or Commonwealth subject and are of federal voting age.
Anyone wishing to know how many Legion members there are and other information can do so at : http://www.legion.ca/
VVi Chief Editor's Comment: Forgive my ignorance for I have limited experience dealing with the media and senior bureaucrats; however, I am once again confounded by the ease with which VAC tries to use nebulous statements to rebut complaints.
Above is an article published by CBC, which includes statements by two VAC bureaucrats. Neither person bothered to provide factual information. Please do not take my word, check other sources for confirmation. In addition to what has been published by veteranvoice.info, the article above has several other websites that can be searched.
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Veterans' Anger Goes Beyond Disappointment A number of people have expressed their disappointment with veterans’ groups and senior military leadership. The six groups that supported the passage of the New Veterans Charter have their own agendas when it comes to issues. VAC does a lot to persuade the leadership of these groups to become allies. Coercion is not beneath the bureaucrats of VAC. Serving military leadership must be careful when lending its support as anything deemed unethical can become a career ender. Retired leadership do not always agree with the rank and file on issues, so their support may be limited.
Basically, the various endeavours to improve the lot of military veterans requires individuals to band together and become the front rank fighters. Waiting for someone else to do something is highly unlikely. The Legion has had years to address concerns and has failed to do so. As a result thousands of veterans and their dependants have gone without benefits.
Writing letters and e-mails does help to focus attention on veterans’ concerns, but quantity is essential. VAC can simply state that it is a dozen upset vets at most who like to rock the boat, particularly when the Legion remains mute. All the individuals and cells who support reform need to be heard and seen. Starting with local projects such as contacting the media, provincial groups and politicians, and all of the MPs and senators.
The next step is to communicate with others to spread the news. VeteranVoice.info was founded to give any and all vets a chance to express themselves. In one year, circulation blossomed to over 60,000 but more people need to join in. There are about 837,000 vets and with their family members, this is a major special interest group; however, we must keep recruiting so that VAC cannot simply state that the majority of vets are members of groups aligned with VAC.
There is a need to keep restating information until it becomes common knowledge. The Legion is not united in its support for the NVC, but vets have to prove this by quoting facts and figures to a national audience. And getting involved in the local branch to sway support away from the VAC position.
Members of the media need to be approached as potential allies. Rather than complaining about the lack of coverage, vets must keep making contact so that news is repeated from coast to coast. It is possible to get wider distribution if vets bombard the media with information.
In addition to communicating with politicians, the media and the veterans’ groups, there is a need to get out in public and make everyone aware of the issues. Public support is essential.
Cells can consider financing activities such as advertising in local media and sponsoring witnesses to address the Senate and Commons committees. Go through the proper channels to get speakers to appear before the committees and talk to the media.
I have suggested a national rally for next year to be held on Parliament Hill. We need to get people out to such events and spread the word.
Remember many vets have become disillusioned with VAC and have faded away. If you know such vets then make sure that you can speak about why these things happen. They need help and may not know how to get it.
Information can be a very powerful weapon. Exchange ideas, thoughts and opinions. Compare notes on personal experiences, which can be very difficult for some of us. At least 92% of all disabled vets do not receive the benefits and services they deserve from VAC. Comparing information may help to generate some statistics on what should be allocated, rather than each vet being treated as a unique case. Similar medical conditions should receive similar benefits, but only by sharing information can we learn what should be standardized.
VAC has a system riddled with systemic problems and these need to be publicized. Do some research on the failure by VAC to correct its errors and circulate this information. Many grassroots movements started with less than what we represent, and yet they grew into organizations that now have clout as lobby groups. Our aim should be such a goal. Regardless of what we may call ourselves, we need to band together and keep up the pressure if reform is to happen. A Veteran's Opinion
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Job Well Done! Military/RCMP Pensioners Against Benefit Reduction at age 65
To our Supporters:
November 26, 2006
I regret to inform our supporters, since I no longer have the support of the Committee, that I am now taking action to close down the web site and therefore terminating the Mission.
I view this initiative as a great success and not a failure. The Mission has accumulated the support of over 83,000 supporters. Numerous Associations and Veterans from England, Mexico, Germany, CYQQ Forces, Florida, Warsaw Poland, Syrian Arab Republic, Greece, UK, USA, Cayman Island, Afghanistan, South Africa, Iraq, Thailand, Sarajavo Bosnia, Italy, and Japan have pronounced their support of the Mission.
The NDP determination to introduce to the House of Commons a 5 points motion on November 2, 2006 was contrary to our written objection, Bill C-221 and our Mission. The omission of RCMP Veterans from the motion was simply not acceptable to me. Mr Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP failed to fulfil his written promise to our supporters to have Bill C-221 voted on during the fall session of Parliament as requested. I firmly believe that the Mission is no longer attainable under an NDP banner.
The most valuable contributions made by Roger Boutin and Mel Pittman shall always be remembered as second to none. For almost 2 years they have generously given of their time, talent, and have also financially contributed towards the initiative. I would never be able to express in word my gratitude and sincere appreciation. I’ll simply say thank you. The Web site was prepared and maintained by Mel Pittman, it is simply extraordinaire. I shall forever be grateful to the 37 most Senior Retired Leaders whom have endorsed the Mission. Your written pronounced support of the initiative was indeed very much appreciated by me the team and our supporters.
In closing I wish to say thank you to the numerous Veterans Associations and of course our supporters for your major contributions towards our success. We should now pass the torch and join force and support The Royal Canadian Legion Calais Branch 162 resolution that was unanimously adopted at a convention of the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion. I firmly believe that to succeed the resolution will require the support of a major Political Party.
As Veterans we want our Golden Years Financial Dignity restored, we paid for it! “CFSA surplus 15.6 billions dollars, Employment insurance surplus 46.5 billion dollars, CPP benefits surplus 98 billion dollars.” Sincerely,
VVi Publisher Comment: Very sorry to hear this, John. You all did a terrific job. To me your greatest success was getting numerous vets involved and the, literally dozens of new vet initiatives and lobbies that have sprung up, which undoubtedly were encouraged by the standards and proactive activity of your group. As a vet, and on behalf of the small VVi staff, thanks to you all.
Return to Top You Can Help! All veterans are encouraged to pass information, opinions, links to self-help sites onto VVi. VeteranVoice.info is a distribution centre and we are dependant on others to pass information. This is your site. Tell other veterans about your site. Email info@VeteranVoice.info . Return to Top Recommended Links Military Veterans Research-Study (Medical Pensions) http://www.veteranvoice.info/vetsurvey.htm