Letter To Minister VAC - Lack of Support from Veterans Affairs
I am writing to you yet again to comment on your lack of sensitivity for veterans with disabilities. You seem to be ignorant of the detrimental impact of your correspondence with us. The most recent example is your letter that I received on 26 September in which you state that the advisory group that was recently formed will solve problems. What exactly is it that makes you believe that anything will change given that your department has a long history of abusing veterans?
It was very nice of you to acknowledge that VAC does not satisfy the needs of some veterans. It would have been nice to know exactly what you plan to do in order to rectify these deficiencies. You have been provided with information and recommendations, and yet you do not acknowledge the input. Instead you keep replying with generic letters or tasking your flunkies to do so in your name.
If you care so much about veterans then you would not be allowing people like Jack Stagg and Ken Miller to dictate what VAC policy will be in the future. Neither of these gentlemen are veterans nor have they shown much interest in veterans whose needs are not met by VAC.
In my opinion, you have no intention of improving the performance of VAC except if it will benefit your own personal and political goals. If you really did care, then you would take action to remove those who have repeatedly opposed the provision of better services for disabled veterans, and would support the appointment of an ombudsman. Why is that your own employees can belong to a union, while no parallel organisation or service is provided to the veterans?
Currently there are many veterans who feel persecuted by VAC for complaining about the inferior services and support provided by VAC. One only has to consider the thousands of appeals handled by VRAB and your fellow parliamentarians every year to realise that your department needs to be significantly improved. This is something that is also apparent to the Auditor-General as revealed in the negative comments in past reports.
The situation is only going to get worse as the number of veterans with OSI become clients of VAC. VAC can not handle the current case load because of the lack of dedicated medical services and the lack of experience (or is it ignorance) demonstrated by VAC employees.
The personnel of the CF are expected to serve their country with unlimited liability. It would be nice to know that VAC honours their efforts by providing services and support of unlimited liability.
I called BPA in PEI last week and there was one lawyer in the office at 1500 Ottawa time. Why was this when it was only noon in BC? This indicates that the offices located in PEI are not responsive to much of western Canada. I do not accept that the infamous 1-800 system is the answer as the personnel who answer those calls direct clients to PEI for help.
I would also strongly urge you to be more humane in your dealings with veterans. Receiving a letter from VAC is a very traumatic experience because we do not know if the contents will be bad or good. Unfortunately, too often it is bad news.
You and your staff are personally responsible for worsening the conditions of many veterans. Some of us are made to feel that we are criminals by asking for better services and support. It seems that we are not to be trusted as we are nothing more than money grubbing layabouts with minor medical problems. It is unfair and unethical to treat us in the same way as the wrong doers in some of the well known political scandal cases. The only crime that I have committed is to serve my country to the best of my abilities. I did not abuse my authority in the military so why does your department abuse me as if I have been found guilty of some crime?
Do us all a favour, minister, step down and give the job to someone who is more qualified and more understanding of our problems. You and your ilk really make me question why I was willing to sacrifice so much for our country. This very act tends to worsen my condition because I just get more depressed.
Some days the only way I can cope with life is to focus on my contempt for VAC. I do not want to be this way, but what choice do I have when VAC makes it difficult to cope with reality.
Every week I must remember to document my appointments, travel expenses and other things in order to apply for reimbursement. At the same time, I am occupied by doubts that these will be discontinued by one of your staff because they think that I should not be entitled to them. The whole process tends to diminish the quality of life. It is also why two of my friends have seriously contemplated suicide.
Make things better or step aside so that someone else can try. May be then you will deserve to be called the honourable minister.