Veterans Advocate Dale Dirks, MMM, CD, rebuts Ron Cannan MP.

Letter to the Editor….

Re Assistance for Veterans and CF personnel. – Ron Cannan MP

I would like to address the information  imparted by MP Ron Cannan in regards to the assistance afforded by VAC located here in Kelowna.  Ron is absolutely correct in saying VAC has one service agent located downtown Kelowna in the government building.  The Local Legion also has one staff member provided by the Legion to assist Veterans who need help.  Remember Kelowna did  have 10 personnel in their VAC office before closing  which included five actual trained agents, a medical person on call and cleaners.  Remember this office had over 2200 case files all of which had to be transferred to the closest VAC office in Penticton.  These files belonged to DISABLED VETERANS  now requiring them to contact Penticton office for help when they should have been able to do so in their own community, a community large enough to have a VAC office.  Ron is  now asking DISABLED VETERANS TO TRAVEL TO PENTICTON ESPECIALLY IN WINTER ROAD CONDITIONS  to seek help and thinks this is OK.  After all it was the VETERAN WHO FOUGHT FOR DEMOCRACY ALLOWING THIS GOVERNMENT TO CLOSE THIS VAC OFFICE.  It was not Ron in uniform.  Ron can now say if any Veterans is having problems call his office.  Very admirable, he is the MP, although conservative, is to handle all Veterans problems regardless of political posture and i am only dealing with  veterans issues here.
We Veterans are a proud bunch.  Just look at the largest crowd ever in Ottawa backing Veterans and thank you Ottawa and Canada.  We served so  you have the right to express yourselves and we thank you dearly.  I can speak for myself, i don’t want to go down town to the government office and seek the service agent and ask for help.  I am proud.  I want to go to a place set aside for me and my fellow veterans to discuss my problems  in confidence knowing others around me understand me and i feel comfortable.
Ron speaks of the enormous amount of funding set aside for Veterans yet as sent to me by a Veteran advocate millions of dollars were not spent in some VAC budgets which could have been used  to help veterans, our veterans in Kelowna.
This government and Ron is an MP used millions of dollars fighting a challenge by Cpl Dennis Manuge in the SISSIP CASE where this government said they did not have an obligation to provide assistance under this program, lost and now Veterans are receiving payments which was their right in the first place.  Over 600 million dollars now being paid to some disabled veterans in back pay and i have no idea as to how much as this payment continues.  Another case is before the courts called Equitas similar to SISSIP where soldiers are taking government to court over a sacred obligation to take care of them costing millions of dollars of your money.  Government lawyers in this case and the words of the Minister of Veterans Affairs  THE HONOURABLE  JULIAN FANTINO, stated veterans are not any better than any other citizen of Canada(Equitas) and the Minister stated Veterans are no better than police, fire fighter, and EMS.  Ron on one hand says he backs veterans and how special we are and then on the other hand sides with his government which says we are not special.  PM Harper and remember Ron is an MP under Harper, did not attend one ceremony where our dead military personnel came home in coffins all 158 of them, did not attend one funeral of the fallen until the Cpl was murdered on Parliament Hill.  Why the Hell Not i must ask.
Yes government has instituted many new programs for veterans especially those who suffer with PTSD(last count around 1400 and climbing).  Accessing help is the problem.  I have to wait up to six months to see a specialist for my stomach and this has nothing to do with being a veteran but think how long it might take a veteran who suffers with PTSD to first of all seek help with our one service agent and then seek medical aide and then find a specialist who will then book the veteran an appointment.  We have more Veterans who have committed suicide then we had killed in action in our last war and now we have entered another.  Don’t forget Government and Ron is part of the Government tells you of all the many programs they have to help veterans but not once have they released actual numbers as to how many veterans are actually partaking of the programs.
Dale Dirks Veteran   MMM, CD
Mike Blais
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