2019: Veterans’ Group Relaunches ‘Anybody but Conservatives'

2019: Veterans’ Group Relaunches ‘Anybody but Conservatives'

Postby Oscar » Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:24 pm

Harper government finally wins gold medal for lying -- to veterans

[ http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/gerry-c ... o-veterans ]

By Gerry Caplan | December 8, 2014


I know it feels that the Harper government is the most dishonest in our history. But there's really no way of measuring such things -- and it behooves the government's critics to be evidence based, after all -- and really, it doesn't matter whether it is actually the very worst or not. (It has some pretty tough competitors, don't forget.) Just check out any of the websites and blogs dedicated to tracking the lies of Harperland -- this beyond actual public policies -- and be confident that it stands among the Olympians of Canadian political mendacity.

But last week the government finally won the gold medal for perhaps the most despicable act ever of deceit and outright lying. And wouldn't you just know, given the Harper record, that it was Canada's veterans they lied to.

This space, to my own surprise, has covered the Harper government's treatment of vets perhaps more than any other single subject. To be honest, it had never been a preoccupation of mine before this government made it one. The vast disjunction between its rhetorical pandering to all things military and its actual policies for vets has been nothing less than mind-boggling. And neverending. Each and every column has been spurred by an entirely different example of bad faith and betrayal of trust. And if you don't believe me, there are countless vets lined up to share their own heartbreaking story.

Understand: I don't mean here the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs to spend its full budgetary allocation, instead returning a total of $1.13 billion to the treasury while veterans go begging for services. I don't mean the decline in department employees since 2009 by fully 25 per cent, leading public servants to warn that the department "will not meet the needs of veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. Or the $2.6 million it failed to spend maintaining Canadian war graves in Europe, so that only 2,500 of 7,000 grave markers were properly tended to last year. I don't even mean the shameless request by the department for another $5 million to spend this year on advertising how splendidly it takes care of vets, after spending $4 million last year on similar self-promotion.

No, this is yet a different travesty. Stephen Harper and his government have seemed inexplicably indifferent to vets returning from war zones with post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the latest Defence Department stats, 160 military personnel committed suicide between 2004 and March 31, 2014. That compares to the 138 Canadian soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2014. [ http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/news/article ... n/hgq87xxk ]

It's a stunning comparison, isn't it? By any measure it's a crisis of epidemic proportions, and yet the government refused to take it seriously. Rhetoric? Of course; a great deal. Money? Some. Yet no serious attempt to deal with the problem. It's truly baffling.

For years, vets and their advocates have pressed the urgent need for better mental health services, to little effect. Finally, last week, it became known that the Auditor-General was about to release a report showing that many vets had to wait months, even years, to access mental health benefits. Suddenly, the government was all over the issue.

Two days before the A-G's report, two senior Harper ministers and Veteran Affairs Minister Julian Fantino held a press conference to announce spending of $200 million over the next six years on mental health services for vets. Just to ensure there were no ambiguities, a news release was also issued, which was then posted on the Veterans Affairs website. It said straight out that the government "has committed to providing an additional investment of approximately $200 million over the next six years."

Immediately after the press conference, by the way, Mr. Fantino was shipped off to Italy on urgent government business, namely keeping him away from Canada so he couldn't again abuse his stakeholders. But this minister is completely irrelevant to the government's scandalous treatment of our vets. If the Prime Minister chose, he could order the mess to be dealt with this very day.

And so to the shabby punchline: The $200 million money is not for the next six years at all. It's for the next 50 years, as the government was soon forced to acknowledge, maybe $4 million a year. According to Scott Maxwell, executive director of the activist Wounded Warriors Canada, the 50-year figure "has never been mentioned in any briefing, in any press release or conference." The government willfully covered up the truth from beginning to end.

Mr. Maxwell's members have vowed to remember this number, among others, at next year's election. So should all Canadians who pretend gratitude to our veterans.

- - - - -

Auditor General’s report slams government for failing veterans on mental health services

[ http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/11/25 ... -services/ ]

John Ivison | November 25, 2014 | Last Updated: Nov 25 10:05 AM ET

It’s one of the great mysteries of modern Ottawa – how can a Conservative government that claims to venerate its veterans screw up so badly and so often when it comes to their welfare in civilian life?

The report of the Auditor General on mental health services for veterans, released Tuesday, goes a long way to answering that question.

In essence, the report suggests the Department of Veterans Affairs is run like an insurance company – minus the facade of customer service that the industry presents.

Michael Ferguson, the Auditor General, was a little more diplomatic. “The findings we have presented today…underscore the disconnect that happens when departments don’t have a clear understanding of whether the services they are providing are meeting the needs of their clienteles,” he said.


[ http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/11/25 ... -services/ ]
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Re: Harper government finally wins gold medal for lying--to

Postby Oscar » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:26 am

Fantino's troubled tenure at Veterans Affairs

[ http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1252508 ... s-affairs/ ]

By Staff The Canadian Press January 5, 2015 Updated : January 5, 2015 | 3:09 pm

OTTAWA – Julian Fantino’s tenure as minister of Veterans Affairs was troubled by controversy almost from the time he took office in July 2013. Here’s a look:

October 2013: The veterans ombudsman says the government provides former soldiers with insufficient compensation for pain and suffering, warning some vets will face near-poverty in old age because they don’t get certain allowances or military pensions.

- - - - SNIP - - - -

January 2015: Fantino is shuffled out of the Veterans Affairs portfolio, replaced by Erin O’Toole. Fantino returns to his old position as associate minister of defence.

= = = = =

Stephen Harper kicks off election year with Veterans Affairs shuffle

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/stephen ... 18?cmp=rss ]

Can a former soldier turned rookie MP undo the damage done to his party's pro-military reputation?

By Kady O'Malley, CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2015 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Jan 07, 2015 3:46 PM ET


It's worth noting that if his new responsibilities include the operations and oversight of Canada's electronic spy agency, Fantino could very well find himself spending nearly as much time on his feet in the Commons as he did in his previous job.

Fantino on defensive throughout fall sitting

Even if he doesn't, he'll almost certainly have a prominent role on the Greater Toronto Area party fundraising circuit during the leadup to the next election, as Vaughan and its surrounding areas — as well as the Italian-Canadian community — are crucial points on the Conservatives' projected path to victory.

It's that very same looming date with the electorate that likely led the prime minister to conclude it was time for a changing of the ministerial guard at Veterans Affairs.

After all, both the New Democrats and the Liberals spent much of the fall sitting hammering away at Fantino — and, by proxy, the prime minister and his party — over his handling of everything from disability payments to mental health services to the closure of regional offices.

There's every reason to think that both parties are planning to pick up where they left off when the House returns later this month — and carry on right through the coming campaign.

It will now fall to O'Toole — himself a former soldier, albeit not a combat veteran — to do his best to restore, in the minds of voters, the Conservatives to what they see as their rightful position as the most pro-military party on the ballot.

Fortunately for the newly minted minister, he's had some practice defending his government's record on veterans.


[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/stephen ... 18?cmp=rss ]
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Re: Harper government finally wins gold medal for lying--to

Postby Oscar » Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:39 pm

Brockville chapter says Harper government neglects veterans with PTSD

[ http://www.canadians.org/blog/brockvill ... erans-ptsd ]

March 2, 2015 - 12:19 pm

The Council of Canadians Brockville chapter submits a letter to the editor and pays for a 2" x 3" advertisement in their local newspaper every month. The letter to the editor is printed in a newspaper with a circulation of 6,000 readers and the advertisement goes in a newspaper with a circulation of 24,000 readers. Their letter last month focused on the Harper government's neglect of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In that letter, Brockville chapter activist Jim Riesberry wrote, "[An ad during the Super Bowl game] spent thousands of our money by the Harper government in an attempt to undo the terrible wrong it has done to the sick and injured vets. This is a trick that Harper does. He uses our money to promote his agenda. ...The truth behind this ad is that vets feel they have been betrayed by the Harper government. The health services provided to vets wounded in body and mind have been woefully inadequate. The wounded, and those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, have not got the help they needed. Harper cut the budget of Veterans Affairs and reduced veterans’ benefits."

"Veterans Affairs Canada offices (VAC), the major treatment centres for vets in need, [have been] closed. They can get what they need at Service Canada Centres Harper said. This was a lie. ...Harper’s program for vets was described by vets as a triple D plan: 'delay, deny, and die'. After the VACs offices were closed, the London office’s caseload went from 6,400 to 9,000 over night with vets coming from Windsor."

Riesberry concludes, "Instead of money towards helping the wounded and those with PTSD, Harper has spent the money on celebrating D-Day, the start of WWI, the 1812 war, etc. Funding for programs to honour veterans has increased by 20 per cent to over $50,000 for 2014-2015. Vets say this money would be better spent on vets who need help now. I guess this Super Bowl ad was paid for by us as part of this program. Harper stands proudly beside soldiers going to war when they are strong and healthy, but he is not to be seen when they return in need of his help. He does not 'Support Our Troops' when they need him."

His full letter can be read here:
[ http://www.easternontarionetwork.com/in ... es-another ]

Further reading

Council of Canadians calls for Veterans Affairs offices to remain open (January 2014 blog)

[ http://canadians.org/blog/council-canad ... emain-open ]

Tell MPs veterans deserve better (January 2014 action alert)

[ http://canadians.org/blog/action-alert- ... rve-better ]

This is supporting our troops? (August 2010 blog)
[ http://canadians.org/node/5758 ]

Brent Patterson
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://www.canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: Harper government finally wins gold medal for lying--to

Postby Oscar » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:53 am

Veterans’ Group Relaunches ‘Anybody but Conservatives’ Campaign

[ https://thetyee.ca/News/2019/10/14/Vete ... ign=141019 ]

Chair of 2015 anti-Harper effort is back with praise for Trudeau’s Liberals.

David Beers 14 Oct 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew Scheer meets with veterans in Oshawa, Ontario in June 2019. A veterans’ campaign against Stephen Harper in 2015 is back this election, once again arguing for ‘Anybody but Conservatives.’ Photo: Andrew Scheer Flickr, public domain.

A former Canadian soldier who spearheaded a 2015 effort to deny Stephen Harper’s Conservative government re-election because of its treatment of veterans is once again urging voters to vote “ABC — anybody but Conservative.”

This time around, Tom Beaver says he is personally endorsing the Liberal government for meeting its key campaign promises to veterans. But the website for his group is called Veterans Against Conservatives.

“Yes, I am a Liberal. But In the past, I have also voted NDP and even Conservative once!” writes Beaver in a statement circulating via social media. “And yes, I have many good friends that support the NDP and Conservatives.... I trusted my life to them in the past, and I would again. I hope they would do the same. The ABC campaign is not telling anyone who to vote for. We are asking you not to vote Conservative.”

In a widely shared 2015 piece published in The Tyee, co-written with fellow veteran Ron Clarke, Beaver laid out his group’s grievances against the Harper government, including denying pensions to some disabled veterans, cutting their benefits and closing federal offices dealing with veterans’ issues.

The issue caused some flash-points on the election trail in 2015. And a Conservative veterans’ group formed to counter the ABC effort.

Four years later, Beaver says the current leader of the Conservatives, Andrew Scheer — and People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier — should be held accountable for their actions as members of the Harper government.

“Mr. Scheer and Mr. Bernier were standing right beside Mr. Harper when (he made) the most significant cuts off the backs of veterans since World War II,” he wrote.

Beaver says the Trudeau Liberals have completed “all obligations” they made to veterans in 2015.

He checks off this list of items “completed”:

Help injured veterans by re-establishing lifelong pensions.
Expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance to better support veterans.
Pain and suffering compensation.
Deliver a higher standard of service and care, and ensure that a “one veteran, one standard” approach is upheld.
Re-open the nine Veterans Affairs service offices recently closed.
Ensure veterans have access to financial advice and the cost is covered.
Double funding to ensure that all veterans receive a dignified burial.
Improve rehabilitation services.
Create a Veterans Education Benefit that supports the education costs of Canadian Forces veterans after completion of service.
Improve career and vocational assistance for veterans.
Reduce complexity and strengthen partnerships between National Defence and Veterans Affairs.
Develop a suicide prevention strategy for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and veterans.
Increase the veteran survivor’s pension amount from 50 per cent to 70 per cent.
Support families who are providing care and support to veterans living with physical or mental health issues.
End the time limit for surviving spouses applying for vocational rehabilitation and assistance services.

For one Liberal promise, ensuring surviving spouses of veterans receive appropriate benefits even if they were married after the age of 60, Beaver says there is “more work to be done.”

The Scheer-led Conservatives have slammed the Liberals for not yet clearing the backlog of veterans’ benefits applications. “Talk is cheap,” Scheer said of Trudeau last month while unveiling his party’s veterans’ platform. “You have been betrayed. You deserve better.”

Beaver is not swayed. Of Scheer and the Conservatives, he says, “They promised everything they took away while they were in power.”

“As veterans,” he writes, “we answered the call from our country to serve. We expected, if we were fortunate enough to come home, that we would be given the support we need to survive. In too many cases, this has not happened.

“We believe that Canadians support their veterans and are also angered by the disrespect shown by the Conservative party.” [Tyee]
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Re: Harper government finally wins gold medal for lying--to

Postby Oscar » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:55 am

‘You Have Forgotten’: Seven Conservative Attacks on Canada’s Veterans

[ https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/08/19/C ... -Veterans/ ]

August 19, 2015

Last year retired general Rick Hillier, the former head of the Canadian Military, spoke about high rates of suicide and mental anguish among Canadian soldiers returning home:

“I do not think we had any idea the scale and scope of what the impact would be. I truly do not. This is beyond a medical issue. I think many of our young men and women have lost confidence in our country to support them.”

And why would they not, given the callousness of the Harper government? In the past decade Conservatives closed offices, cut 900 jobs, clawed back benefits, killed lifetime pensions for Afghanistan veterans, and failed to spend $1.13 billion of the Veterans Affairs budget but found money to increase advertising and ceremonies for politicians to honour veterans.

Here are seven ways the Harper government has waged war on its own veterans.


[ https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/08/19/C ... -Veterans/ ]
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