A message from the man who conceived of OpBeacon, Philip Brooks.
Greetings from Haliburton Ontario and the site of the Fourth Annual Operation Beacon #OpBeacon. As we prepare to pause and honour the fallen we have lost, this vigil is a remembrance of the fallen who yet survive but now must live each day injured, sick and suffering. Canada’s scale of injury compensation was poor before they cut it nearly in half in 2006. Valid injury and disability claims routinely arbitrarily denied.
Op Beacon is also a signal to remember the survivor spouses, children and parents – the families who carry Remembrance Day with them every day. In our schools, places of worship, groceries stories and malls they walk among you. Not just the families from the fields of Europe or in the East or of the 158 soldiers and professionals we lost in Afghanistan but the families of the many soldiers we have lost since they came home.
We have no military or veteran hospitals in Canada. Civilian doctors are not trained or prepared for military injury. We are different in many ways.
There used to be military hospitals across the country at every major base plus National Defence Medical Centre. All gone. There was no preparation of the civilian Provincial medical authorities and no assistance to the thousands of injured veterans who have to find their own doctors and figure out their own injuries to even start the laborious, difficult and arbitrary Veterans Affairs claims system.
Our injury pensions were unilaterally and arbitrarily taken away without a single whisper of debate by Parliament in a hidden act of legislative trickery in 2006.
We suffer unchecked aggressive clawbacks of our benefits from the government and from private insurers. Our inured and disabled in service, people hurt on duty for Canada, lose their earned retirement pensions that they saved for their whole working life while they were still fit and able to earn a living. Now taken as an insurance clawback. They don’t do that to the police or to firemen. Or politicians who get disabled at work. Just your military professionals who have no union and no independent bargaining or advocacy organization.
The reason we have veteran homelessness and distress and suicide is because we have been systemically cut off from the entitlements and respect we deserve. By a growing and bloated make-work insurance empire at Veterans Affairs feeding off your tax dollars. It is government job crafting at the veterans expense. It is not necessary and it is harmful to your Veterans.
Our survivors, the precious families and loved ones of the colleagues we have lost to duty… they suffer as well. Our survivors have had entitlements taken away and are subjected to the same rude and abusive insurance behaviours as our Veterans.
Our treatment of inured Veterans is shameful. It is just as bad as the open secret about our abuses in our senior care and long term care homes. An outrage that was known by all levels of government but just allowed to continue for years… until your military professionals got deployed at home and found the third world conditions right here.
Call your MP and tell them to grant the veterans claims and shut down the rampant insurance company abuses at Veterans Affairs. We need a culture change at VAC. A big one.
Thank you for remembering those who serve.