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12 Oct 2021

 

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'I think they’re waiting for him to die': Veteran with vision loss denied benefits

Laura Brown
Updated Sept. 21, 2021 9:09 a.m. CST, Published Sept. 21, 2021 8:52 a.m. CST
VVi 12 Oct 2021

HALIFAX - A veteran from Halifax, who served for almost 30 years in the Canadian Forces, says the country isn’t returning the favour.
Now legally blind, Stanley Wight has been denied benefits to help, despite being able to prove his sight started to deteriorate while he was still in uniform.

Stanley Wight served Canada for nearly 30 years, working as a radar technician on aircraft for the Canadian Armed Forces.

Now at 85, he blames that work for his failing vision.

“Any radar that was working, I used to get in close enough to check that it was working properly. It would be radiation, in fact, I actually have, in my left-eye, a hole that has been burnt there,” says Wight.

According to documents that Wight’s son Stephen has gathered through access to information, three doctors diagnosed his father with early onset macular degeneration back in the 1980s, when he was still an active member of the Canadian Forces.

Despite that, the family says veteran affairs has denied their appeal for help, time and time again.

“I’m very upset with the military because I was diagnosed in the service with it, and I have three medical documents to prove it, but I don’t think when they went to the board that they even looked at them,” says Stanley Wight.

Stephen Wight, also a retired member, thought that finding one of those doctors that originally diagnosed Stanley might help.

“He responded ‘my diagnoses of early macular degeneration stands’,” recalls Wight.

Wight says they will try again with that new evidence, but he feels other documents have been overlooked, and the family has lost faith in the veterans' appeal process.

“I think they’re waiting for him to die so they don’t have to worry about this case,” says Stephen Wight.

In a statement to CTV News, Veterans Affairs Canada says they can’t comment on individual cases, but did confirm that a member must have a permanent disability and the disability must be related to their service in order to be eligible for disability benefits.

They also said that if an applicant has exhausted their appeal options, they have the right to apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review.

The Wight family says the benefit would help provide Stanley the care he needs to stay at home, and they are hoping the country that he served won’t forget about him now.

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Canadian veterans hit hard by Afghanistan's return to Taliban
'I have friends that are definitely torn up over it, feeling like it was a waste of time and a waste of life — like friends I've lost'

Tyler Dawson
Publishing date:Sep 17, 2021 • September 17, 2021
VVi 12 Oct 2021

"It is still upsetting to think about, because you did have a connection there," Canadian veteran Matt Anderson (shown receiving pin) says of the collapse of Afghanistan's government to the Taliban. PHOTO BY MATT ANDERSON

As the world watched Afghanistan fall to the Taliban, Canadian veterans and their families were dealing with conflicting emotions about what their sacrifice and hardship accomplished in the war-torn nation, and reflecting on the support networks that have sustained them in the years following Canada’s withdrawal.

Matt Anderson, who was part of the reconstruction team in Kandahar from 2008 to 2009, said the last month and a half has been a “bit of a rollercoaster” as he watched Afghanistan’s government collapse amid the final withdrawal of U.S. troops.

“It is still upsetting to think about, because you did have a connection there,” Anderson said. “I go back to thinking about spending time in villages with kids, giving them pens and water and muffins and stuff. And, and then wondering, you know, what they’re doing now. They’re old enough now that they can have kids.”

While for many Canadians, this country’s role in Afghanistan ended in 2014, for those who served — and have family who served — the memories, and the scars, from that time still linger. Anderson said he tries to think of his mission in Afghanistan as a job.

“You try and have that disconnect. It’s just so hard to,” he said. “And then I have friends that are definitely torn up over it, feeling like it was a waste of time and a waste of life — like friends I’ve lost.”

Friday marks Military Family Appreciation Day, an annual day to “raise awareness of the challenges, to recognize the resiliency and to thank military families for their sacrifices,” according to the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services. It’s held on the third Friday in September each year since it was created by the House of Commons in June 2019.

Rick Seymour, the chief executive officer with the Together We Stand Foundation, said the work military families do so often goes unnoticed. The TWS Foundation was created to recognize and support military families.

“The support Canadian military families give their loved ones in uniform is critical to the unimpeded ability to focus on their important missions. Deployments, moving, isolation, loss of life … they make these sacrifices in the name of service to their country and so that our families don’t have to,” Seymour said.

For those in the military, and soldiers who’ve served abroad, the burdens they bring back home with them are shared, whether with friends or parents, or spouses.

“When I was over there, I was 21 at the time, and I was single, no kids…. For me, it was my parents,” said Anderson, who lost friends in two improvised explosive device detonations.

After he returned, he was diagnosed with PTSD.

“I had a suicide attempt in 2009…. I was in New Brunswick at the time, my dad dropped everything to go out there and support me,” said Anderson, who is now a volunteer with TWS. “Even my best friend had a really rough time while I was over there… And then seeing that I changed.”

Eleanor Millar’s husband, Tom, served in Afghanistan and has done other tours, too. She knows intimately the stresses that military families face when their loved ones are abroad, and recalls the worry every time he was outside the wire, embedded with the Afghan National Army.

“I was happy for him, because he’d call me being, like, you know, we’re doing good things over here … this sense of, like, I’m doing something important,” said Miller. “So I felt kind of, I don’t know, I almost felt guilty, being anxious about him, you know?”

While he was deployed, she worked hard to keep any stressful news from home to herself, she said. Millar now volunteers with TWS.

“And I just kind of, you know, internalized it and had to find other support systems for myself when he was away, which is hard, because it’s your partner,” she said. “You’re used to that person being there to support you. And then you’re just like, okay, the rules are reversed. I have to be 100 per cent focused on what’s best for him.”

Millar said the last couple months have been “triggering,” thinking about the people who helped Canada while we were in Afghanistan, and the Canadians sent to try and get our allies out.

“I found myself very glued to the news all the day. And quite unexpectedly, you know, getting a little choked up and teary-eyed, which is very unusual for me,” she said.

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Afghanistan veterans fight to see Victoria Cross awarded to Canadian soldier
Global National: Veterans fight for Victoria Cross to be awarded to Canadian solider

By Mike Drolet Global News
Posted September 17, 2021 5:00 am, Updated September 17, 2021 6:49 pm
VVi 09 Oct 2021

From a hospital bed in North Bay, Ont., Pte. Jess Randall LaRochelle pauses ever so briefly when asked about the day he became a Canadian hero.

“I was doing a little bit more than my job,” he says.

A group of Afghanistan veterans, as well as Canadian former chief of defence staff Gen. Rick Hillier, respectfully disagree, and have begun lobbying the federal government to upgrade LaRochelle’s Star of Military Valour to the Canadian Victoria Cross.

If successful, LaRochelle would be the first Canadian soldier to be awarded the country’s top military citation since the Second World War.

“I think if you looked up Canadian hero in the dictionary, you see a picture of Jess LaRochelle right next to it,” Gen. Hillier said in an interview with Global News.

“I really do believe that.”

On Oct. 14, 2006, part of the Royal Canadian Regiment were providing security for a road construction project in Pashmul, Afghanistan, an area that would later become known as “ambush alley.”

LaRochelle’s 10-man section was shorthanded so he offered to man a two-person machine gun in an observation post by himself.

The Taliban attack killed two Canadian soldiers and wounded four others.

As LaRochelle fought back, an RPG rocket hit his position, knocking him unconscious.

When he came to he saw Taliban fighters about to overrun his position, but when he crawled back to his machine gun he found that it had been damaged. The only weapons nearby were 15 M72 rocket launchers.

He fired them all off one by one, forcing the Taliban to retreat.

“From what I understand, his firing with the rockets was so accurate that he was hitting them directly,” says Bruce Moncur of the group Valour in the Presence of the Enemy. “And that may also indicate just how close they were.”

Gen. Hillier says LaRochelle prevented an even worse tragedy because his position was on the flank of the larger Canadian force.

“Most of the platoon would have been very vulnerable to get hit by those fighters from the flank,” Hillier says. “And we, in my view, would have lost a lot of Canadians that day that we did not lose because of Jess LaRochelle’s valour.”

The next day LaRochelle took part in the ramp ceremony in Kandahar for the two soldiers who were killed, Sgt. Darcy Tedford and Pte. Blake Williamson, despite knowing he was injured.

“Yeah, I was having trouble walking,” LaRochelle says. “And the one officer told me to go to the hospital and I said, after I carry Blake or Darcy’s casket and I’ll go right away.”

Doctors would confirm LaRochelle fought back against the Taliban and then helped carry the casket of Pte. Williamson, all the while suffering from a broken back.

Today, LaRochelle is a shadow of his former self. Complications from his war injuries have seen him lose enough weight that his father says he’s almost unrecognizable. Retired veteran Randy LaRochelle says he only learned of the push to get his son the Canadian Victoria Cross a week ago, and while he’s supportive of the effort, he’s urging for Jess’ case to be expedited.

“Things are not looking good for Jess (medically),” he says. “If you’re going to do something like this, just do it, because Jess would be extremely honoured to get it alive. Don’t ask me how he would feel if once he’s passed.”

Canada awarded the Star of Military Valour, the second-highest citation, to 16 soldiers who served in Afghanistan. In contrast, the United States gave out its top honour 18 times. Australia (5), Britain (3) and New Zealand (1) also found its soldiers to have earned the highest citation.

So what happened with Canada?

Gen. Hillier was part of the committee that awarded LaRochelle the Star of Military Valour. He says they were reluctant to hand out the Canadian Victoria Cross especially early in the conflict because they didn’t know what feats of bravery they’d witness in the years to come.

It’s only now, he says, that they’re able to look back at specific cases and realize they got them wrong.

Moncur, who was wounded in a Sept. 4 2006 friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, says, “I think we’re getting in our own way. I think the humility and the humble nature of Canadians that don’t want to brag or be advocates for ourselves, I think that kind of got in the way.”

A letter has been sent to the Governor General’s office asking for LaRochelle’s case to be reviewed.

Canada to accept 20,000 vulnerable refugees from Afghanistan – Aug 13, 2021
Days before the federal vote on Monday, Global News reached out to Liberal and Conservative leaders to ask if they’d ask the Governor General to speed up the process. While agreeing that LaRochelle is worthy of consideration for the VC, neither party would commit to making that request.

However, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said he would be discussing the LaRochelle case with officials.

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Vets Pension Error  Miscalculation of Disability Pensions Class Action

https://vetspensionerror.ca/

Vets Pension Error
Claim filed 30 Oct 2019

VVi 10 Aug 2021 db

Veterans Affairs Canada administers certain disability benefits for current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which must be adjusted annually. The class proceeding seeks damages for alleged underpayments that occurred because of errors in the calculation of annual adjustments under section 75 of the Pension Act.

ABOUT THE ACTION

Annual adjustment provisions under Part V of the Pension Act require that the basic pension amounts listed in Schedule I be adjusted annually based on the statutory formula in section 75 of the Pension Act.

Annual adjustments ensure that basic monthly disability pensions and awards keep pace with the cost of living and price inflation. The annual adjustments are based on calculations that take into account:
(a) annual increases in the Canadian Consumer Price Index; and
(b) average wages of certain categories of federal public sector employees minus income tax for a single person calculated in the province with the lowest combined provincial and federal income tax rate (“Wage Rate”).

On 5 November 2018, Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman announced that his office had discovered that Veterans Affairs Canada (“VAC”) had failed to factor the basic provincial tax credit into the Wage Rate used in indexing calculations under section 75 of the Pension Act, which resulted in “an accounting indexation error” by VAC and lower annual adjustment rates than what the rates would have been in the absence of the error. This error led to reduced payments to eligible recipients of disability benefits. The Veterans Ombudsman reported that VAC estimated that this error affected about “270,000 Veterans” of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as “survivors and their estates”. The Government of Canada has publicly acknowledged this error and announced that $165 million had been secured for correcting the error, which Canada has said it will pay out without interest.

Based on access to information requests and other investigations made since the Veterans Ombudsman discovered the original indexation error, the Plaintiffs have learned about additional errors in VAC’s annual indexing calculations under section 75 of the Pension Act, and allege:

* VAC failed, from 2002 to present, to calculate the Wage Rate using the province or territory with the lowest combined provincial and federal income tax rate (the Nunavut income tax rate should have been used instead of the rates applicable in Ontario and British Columbia);
* VAC failed, from 2007 to present, to include the Canada Employment Amount in its calculation of the Wage Rate; and
* VAC failed, from 2002 to present, to include the Northern Resident Deduction in its calculation of the Wage Rate.

The Plaintiffs allege that affected individuals are entitled to interest on the amounts wrongfully withheld and that they are entitled to equitable compensation for loss of use of entitlements on the amounts wrongfully withheld.

CLASS MEMBERS

On 23 December 2020, the Federal Court certified the action as a class proceeding. The class is defined as:

All members and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and their spouses, common law partners, dependants, survivors, orphans, and any other individuals, including eligible estates of all such persons, who received – at any time between 2002 and the present – disability pensions, disability awards, and other benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada that were affected by the annual adjustment of the basic pension under section 75 of the Pension Act including, but not limited to, the awards and benefits listed at Schedule “A” of the certification order:

* Pension Act: pension for disability; pension for death; attendance allowance; allowance for wear and tear of clothing or for specially made apparel; and exceptional incapacity allowance;
* Veterans Well-being Act: disability award; and clothing allowance;
* Veterans Well-being Regulations: remuneration of an escort;
* Veterans Health Care Regulations: remuneration of an escort; and treatment allowance;
* Veterans Review and Appeal Board Act: compassionate award;
* Civilian War-related Benefits Act: war pensions and allowances for salt water fishers, overseas headquarters staff, and air raid precautions workers; and injury for remedial treatment of various persons and voluntary aid detachment (World War II);
* Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act: monthly allowance for education; and
* Flying Accidents Compensation Regulations: flying accidents compensation.

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A Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 carrying Afghan nationals at risk due to their significant and enduring relationship with Canada arrived today at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

CAF
04 Aug 2021

VVi 04 Aug 2021

May be an image of one or more people and people standing

Locally engaged personnel were instrumental to the CAF mission in Afghanistan and provided invaluable translation, labour, and other services not available within the CAF. Afghans who supported the CAF did so at great personal risk, and on occasion lost their lives while serving alongside Canadians.

Operation AEGIS is the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to the evacuation effort, supporting our Government of Canada partners with planning, coordination, and as required, airlift support.

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Strategic Plan for Commemoration consultations / Consultation sur Plan stratégique pour Commémoration

VAC
08 Jul 2021
VVi 08 Jul 2021

(Message en français suit)

Dear partner,

As you may know, we launched online consultations on June 18 to obtain the personal perspectives of Veterans, serving CAF members, RCMP involved in international policing, their family members and the general public.

We believe it’s time to explore innovative ways to recognize all Veterans. We want to know how Canadians would like to pay tribute to Veterans, those currently serving and those who died for our country. Therefore we are now exploring how commemoration should evolve.

To guide us, we have developed a draft 10-year strategic plan. We propose to focus attention on Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) post-war operations in a different region of the world each year. The five proposed regions are Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. For more information on our proposed expanded approach, please view a short video outlining the concept and read an overview or the full consultation draft of the strategic plan.

We want to know what you think of our approach. How do you think we can best implement the plan? How can your organization and VAC align our respective commemorative programming?

Please provide your organization’s input on our Stakeholder survey designed specifically for Veteran associations and stakeholder groups.

Your organization’s input is valued and appreciated!

Your organization can also submit your comments directly to the Commemoration Division via our email or mailing address:

• email commemoration-commemoration@veterans.gc.ca
• mail documents to:

Commemoration Division
Veterans Affairs Canada
PO Box 7700
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 8M9
Attn: S. Hartigan
Sincerely,
Paul Thomson,
Director General, Commemoration Division
Veteran Affairs Canada
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cher/chère partenaire,

Comme vous le savez peut-être, nous avons lancé des consultations en ligne le 18 juin afin d’obtenir les points de vue personnels des vétérans, des membres actifs des FAC, des membres de la GRC engagés dans la police internationale, des membres de leur famille et du grand public.

Nous croyons qu’il est temps d’explorer des façons novatrices de reconnaître tous les vétérans. Nous voulons savoir comment les Canadiens et les Canadiennes aimeraient rendre hommage aux vétérans, à ceux qui servent actuellement et à ceux qui sont morts pour notre pays. C’est pourquoi nous examinons actuellement comment la commémoration devrait évoluer.

Pour nous guider, nous avons élaboré la version préliminaire du Plan stratégique décennal où nous proposons de mettre l’accent sur les opérations d’après-guerre des Forces armées canadiennes (FAC) dans une région du monde différente chaque année. Les cinq régions proposées sont l’Asie, l’Afrique, les Amériques, l’Europe et le Moyen-Orient. Pour en savoir plus sur l’approche élargie que nous proposons, veuillez visionner une courte vidéo décrivant le concept et lire un aperçu ou l’ébauche intégrale aux fins de consultation du plan stratégique.

Nous voulons savoir ce que vous pensez de notre approche. Selon vous, quelle est la meilleure façon de mettre en œuvre le plan? Comment votre organisation et ACC peuvent-ils harmoniser leurs programmes de commémoration respectifs?

Veuillez nous faire part de la rétroaction de votre organisation en répondant au sondage auprès des intervenants conçu précisément pour les associations de vétérans et les groupes d’intervenants.

La contribution de votre organisation est précieuse et appréciée!
Votre organisation peut également soumettre ses commentaires directement à la Direction générale de la commémoration par courriel ou par la poste :

• Courriel : commemoration-commemoration@veterans.gc.ca
• Adresse postale :

Direction générale de la commémoration
Anciens Combattants Canada
C.P. 7700
Charlottetown (Île du Prince Édouard) C1A 8M9
À l’attention de : S. Hartigan
Cordialement,
Paul Thomson
Directeur général, Direction générale de la commémoration
Anciens Combattants Canada
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    Afghan interpreters face death threats from Taliban after U.S. troops leave

Global News
June 3 2021 8:32pm

VVi 26 Jun 2021

With U.S. troops about to withdraw from Afghanistan, interpreters who help these soldiers are losing vital protection from the Taliban. As Mike Armstrong explains, calls are growing for Canada to offer help.



See video...

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Veterans with PTSD should have MedicAlert IDs, says Afghanistan vet

by Stephen J. Thorne
June 22, 2021

VVi 25 Jun 2021


Then-governor general Michaëlle Jean presents Corporal Sean Teal with the Star of Military Valour at Rideau Hall on Oct. 12, 2007. A veterans group, Valour in the Presence of the Enemy, is calling on Ottawa to consider him for the Victoria Cross.
CORPORAL BERN LEBLANC/DND

War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should have validated MedicAlert bracelets stating that they have a combat-related illness, said the decorated survivor of an RPG attack and subsequent firefight.
Sean Teal, a wounded veteran who served four eventful tours in Afghanistan and earned the military’s second-highest award for valour, struggled with physical pain and mental health issues until he was ushered out of the army in 2014. Then his problems got worse.

“It’s hard to get sympathy or empathy from people who can’t relate.”
He said civilian doctors unfamiliar with his experience overseas and the stresses of combat all but ignored his military medical files and perpetuated a cycle of treatment that eventually rendered him a “slug,” unable to eat, sleep or function.

“You’re judged immediately because you’re a veteran,” Teal said in an interview with Legion Magazine. “It’s hard to get sympathy or empathy from people who can’t relate.”

He said civilian doctors have continually asked him why the military isn’t handling his case and are content to prescribe antidepressants and other drugs before sending him out the door. “I don’t think they get how bad it is. I mean, when you’re on the floor and you barely have the strength to dial 911, that’s terrible.”

It was so bad that Teal—who’s still dealing with head and back injuries from the 2006 blast that killed his warrant officer, Rick Nolan—said he stopped trusting the system. The Cole Harbour, N.S., native believes MedicAlert bracelets could help civilians both in and out of the health-care system better address the cases confronting them.

“Before you’re released from the military, you should have a MedicAlert bracelet that says ‘PTSD,’ what conflict and whatever, with a phone number, because when you’re lying on the ground paralyzed, and you can’t speak, those people should be able to verify that, yes, this person did stuff, he is messed up and, if you don’t believe the words coming out of his mouth, you call this number,” he said.

The bracelets are issued by MedicAlert Foundation Canada, which also provides around-the-clock family notification services and a hotline through which paramedics, police and other first-responders can get access to subscribers’ detailed medical profiles, including lists of prescribed drugs.

The 60-year-old organization provides subsidized services to veterans, including partial or full financial assistance for MedicAlert IDs and service plans. The website doesn’t list PTSD or related medications, but a staffer at the foundation call centre said there’s nothing stopping PTSD sufferers from receiving bracelets and other services. The process starts with a phone call.

“People have them for diabetes; people have them for other injuries,” said Teal, who has made multiple trips to the emergency room due to his condition. “PTSD is as real as any other injury and we should have a MedicAlert bracelet.”

Some 40,000 Canadian military personnel served in Afghanistan for more than 12 years. While no official figures exist, thousands are believed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress injuries. Dozens of Afghanistan war vets have committed suicide.

“It’s a shitty go because I don’t think they were ready for that level of people coming in with PTSD. And I also don’t think they were equipped. Even with all the money in the world and all the doctors, they couldn’t come up with a solution that kept people in [the military] without twisting them up.”

It took Teal years to admit he had mental health issues. He said others recognized he had a problem long before he did and, even after he realized it following his third tour, he didn’t want to deal with it. Like so many other soldiers, he feared acknowledging the problem would cost him his career.

“You have to lie to the system to keep your job,” he said, adding that, while the stigma surrounding mental health issues inside the military appears to have improved, it’s not cured. “You know when you’re going in there, you’re giving up.

“Once you go into Mental Health, it’s like turning yourself into the cops.”

For a long time, Afghanistan was the only place he felt he belonged.

Teal and his wife Sarah, herself a veteran of two Afghanistan tours, live with their three daughters in an isolated home outside Stewiacke, N.S., 70 kilometres north of Halifax. He figures that, by telling his story, he might help others.


Sean Teal with wife Sarah and children Olivia, 9, Abigail, 3, and Caitlin, 1.
COURTESY OF SEAN TEAL

Fifteen years after he fought his way out of a Taliban ambush, saving the lives of his interpreter and the platoon medic, Teal still can’t get a full night’s sleep and avoids the public as much as possible.

For a long time, Afghanistan was the only place he felt he belonged—the place where he knew he made a difference, where he was constantly hyperaware, where death was always just a sniper’s bullet, rocket-propelled grenade or improvised explosive device away.

Back home, he felt nothing; he could muster no feelings of happiness or sadness, no enthusiasm for life. People’s mundane existences and trivial complaints bored and angered him.

He was drinking, taking meds by the fistful. His comrades-in-arms, who had nicknamed him “the Battle Hobbit,” were no longer in touch. The uniform was no longer on his back. He felt “naked” without a weapon in his hands.

No one seemed to understand. Crowds agitated his condition, so he avoided them. “I live a life full of avoidance,” he said.

He had finished his 12-year military career as a master corporal, relegated to a menial job that only exacerbated his depression and diminished his self-worth. He hated everyone and everything.

“What they don’t tell you is that when you walk out that door, you’re not going to get the same level of health care that you had on the inside. You’re starting over again. They don’t know anything about the military and you can’t expect them to.

“It sucks.”

From the start, he said, both military and, later, civilian doctors were “fishing in the dark,” experimenting with different dosages and combinations of drugs to treat his symptoms. His mind fell apart before his body. PTSD “turns you inside out.”

“It started off good,” said Teal, “but it ended really, really bad for me.

“They’re throwing drugs at you, but they don’t know what’s going to work; they don’t know what’s going to give you serious side-effects and, once you go on these things, you can wind up with a whole other set of problems.

“They’re setting you up for disaster.”

The drugs—antipsychotics and antidepressants—didn’t help him eat or sleep, and they failed to stabilize his mental health. So the doctors boosted his dosages, ultimately turning him into a half-sedated “slug.”

“They keep adding more and more because they’re not getting the result they want—and I’m not getting the result I want,” he said. “Yet they somehow think that by increasing your dosages it’s going to somehow make you better.

“So by becoming a slug—and that’s what you become, a slug—you’re not hurting anyone and you’re not hurting yourself but somehow they think this is progress. They really believe that, as long as you’re not hurting yourself, you can push through this, which is complete horseshit.”

Teal was getting barely three hours of sleep a night. His wife was on a posting in Ottawa. He was on his own, literally crawling to his bed. He was hallucinating and hearing voices. His mental state was compounding his physical issues.

“PTSD is a bombshell. And you spend your whole life picking up the pieces.”
He was seeing different clinicians, and they weren’t talking to one another.

He ended up overdosing. That trauma and the love of a devoted family got him through. That, along with music: the weapon that saved his life in this fight, he said, was a guitar. Now he lives on a disability pension and he’s moving on, one day at a time.

“PTSD is a bombshell. And you spend your whole life picking up the pieces,” he said.

Teal said soldiers need to be given the freedom to say what’s wrong with the military while they’re still soldiers, without fear of retribution.

“If they see a lot of the same things being said, now at least they know what’s wrong. And until they have that sort of honesty, without retribution, they’ll never be able to fix the problem.”

Further thoughts from Sean Teal:

“They teach you to be something more than yourself and then you begin to believe that’s who you are 100 per cent of the time. But it’s not true.”

“Being in pain limits you from doing some things; having PTSD limits you from doing almost everything.”

“If you let a soldier run himself into the ground, which is exactly what I did, then they [the military] are as much a catalyst as an RPG.”

“I’m telling [army doctors] what happened…and they’re looking at me like ‘why didn’t you come in sooner?’ I understand why they ask that question but the point is, when you’re mentally ill you don’t always know where the line in the sand is.”

“The therapist doesn’t fix you. You fix you. People get it in their mind that the military didn’t do their due diligence and help out these people. OK, but the member…also has to take accountability for their actions.”

“You can go to work and put your Superman cape on, then you go home from work and you’re a bloody mess. You can just keep it together long enough to appease the crowd but you spend half your day in the bathroom and the other half avoiding people. There are people who scrape through their whole careers doing that.”

“I was able to push pain aside to get out of [the doctors’] way but, with PTSD, I couldn’t get out of my own way. And in a lot of ways, I still can’t.”

“There is a stigma around PTSD. It’s 100 per cent real and it will probably never go away. There are still people who think mental health is hogwash.”

“Remembrance Day is only one day a year and you only get a moment of silence to think about and reflect on all the wars. For everybody else like me, it’s every day.”

“Why the hell don’t they just put all the names of all the people who died in Afghanistan on one side [of a banknote] and a picture of somebody saluting a flag at half-mast on the other? Maybe that’s only way to honour the war dead, to actually put their name on something that people look at every day.”


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SPENCER FERNANDO  With Bill C-36, Trudeau Government Launches Dangerous New Assault On Your Freedom Of Expression

INSIGHT SPENCER FERNANDO
JUNE 24, 2021

VVi 24 Jun 2021

The trend in all of this legislation is clear: More government control, less freedom. And C-36 takes that to a terrible new level.

With Bill C-10 having passed in the House of Commons and going on to the Senate, the Liberals are wasting little time in launching yet another assault on your freedom of expression.

The Liberals have introduced Bill C-36, which they claim is aimed at countering ‘online hate’:

As you can clearly see in this description of the legislation, they are leaving the definition of ‘hate’ deliberately vague:

“Bill C-36 would allow a person to appear before a provincial court, with the Attorney General’s consent, if the person fears that another will commit an offence “motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.”

Hate is defined in the bill as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain,” but hatred is not incited solely because it “discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.”

In addition, the bill would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to make it a “discriminatory practice” to communicate hate speech through the internet where it is “likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.””

Vague & Dangerous
When it comes to government power and authority, vagueness is dangerous.

And consider how vague the idea of “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain.”

Interestingly, the Merriam-Webster dictionary lists ‘disdain’ as a word ‘related’ to ‘detest,’ making that distinction nearly irrelevant.

How do you figure out whether someone ‘detests’ or ‘disdains’?

Could someone give a speech in which they say they ‘disdain’ people from a certain country, yet not say they ‘detest’ them?

Who decides what emotion someone is feeling?

Then, the legislation lists ‘Exclusions,’ noting “For greater certainty, the communication of a statement does not incite or promote hatred, for the purposes of this section, solely because it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.”

But what if someone says something that humiliates someone in such a way that it invites others to detest them?

Would that then be a hate crime?

You can see how absurd all of this is.

And it gets even worse.

Under the section “Fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime,” C-36 makes it possible for the government to bring someone before a judge if someone else is worried they could commit a crime. I’ve included that section below in its entirety, because it is essential for all Canadians to familiarize ourselves with how dangerous this legislation is:

Fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime
810.‍012 (1) A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay an information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit

(a) an offence under section 318 or subsection 319(1) or (2);
(b) an offence under subsection 430(4.‍1); or
(c) an offence motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.

Appearances
(2) The provincial court judge who receives an information under subsection (1) may cause the parties to appear before a provincial court judge.

Adjudication
(3) If the provincial court judge before whom the parties appear is satisfied by the evidence adduced that the informant has reasonable grounds for the fear, the judge may order that the defendant enter into a recognizance to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of not more than 12 months.

Duration extended
(4) However, if the provincial court judge is also satisfied that the defendant was convicted previously of any offence referred to in subsection (1), the judge may order that the defendant enter into the recognizance for a period of not more than two years.

Refusal to enter into recognizance
(5) The provincial court judge may commit the defendant to prison for a term of not more than 12 months if the defendant fails or refuses to enter into the recognizance.

Conditions in recognizance
(6) The provincial court judge may add any reasonable conditions to the recognizance that the judge considers desirable to secure the good conduct of the defendant, including conditions that
(a) require the defendant to wear an electronic monitoring device, if the Attorney General makes that request;
(b) require the defendant to return to and remain at their place of residence at specified times;
(c) require the defendant to abstain from the consumption of drugs, except in accordance with a medical prescription, of alcohol or of any other intoxicating substance;
(d) require the defendant to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of a bodily substance prescribed by regulation on the demand of a peace officer, a probation officer or someone designated under paragraph 810.‍3(2)‍(a) to make a demand, at the place and time and on the day specified by the person making the demand, if that person has reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant has breached a condition of the recognizance that requires them to abstain from the consumption of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance;
(e) require the defendant to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of a bodily substance prescribed by regulation at regular intervals that are specified, in a notice in Form 51 served on the defendant, by a probation officer or a person designated under paragraph 810.‍3(2)‍(b) to specify them, if a condition of the recognizance requires the defendant to abstain from the consumption of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance; or
(f) prohibit the defendant from communicating, directly or indirectly, with any person identified in the recognizance, or refrain from going to any place specified in the recognizance, except in accordance with the conditions specified in the recognizance that the judge considers necessary.

Conditions — firearms
(7) The provincial court judge shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the defendant’s safety or that of any other person, to prohibit the defendant from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, or all of those things. If the judge decides that it is desirable to do so, the judge shall add that condition to the recognizance and specify the period during which it applies.

Surrender, etc.
(8) If the provincial court judge adds a condition described in subsection (7) to a recognizance, the judge shall specify in the recognizance how the things referred to in that subsection that are in the defendant’s possession shall be surrendered, disposed of, detained, stored or dealt with and how the authorizations, licences and registration certificates that are held by the defendant shall be surrendered.

Reasons
(9) If the provincial court judge does not add a condition described in subsection
(7) to a recognizance, the judge shall include in the record a statement of the reasons for not adding it.

Variance of conditions
(10) A provincial court judge may, on application of the informant, the Attorney General or the defendant, vary the conditions fixed in the recognizance.
That is all incredibly disturbing, because it means that someone ‘fearing’ that another person will commit a ‘hate propaganda offence’ or ‘hate crime’ can initiate a process that would result in someone facing a severe loss of freedom and/or financial damage, all without that person having actually committed any crime, not to mention that ‘hate propaganda’ and ‘hate crime’ are incredibly vague in the legislation.

This is the kind of legislation you would expect to see in an anti-democratic, Communist state that is seeking to create wide pretexts to arrest or punish whomever the government feels has ‘stepped out of line’ with the official government message.

That’s why the vagueness of this is – in the eyes of the Trudeau government – a feature, not a bug.

The more vague the definition of hate in Bill C-36 is, the more the government can abuse their power and apply that power in a politically biased way to chill and silence their opponents, while giving themselves and their ideological allies a free pass.

Free expression under attack
With Bill C-10, and now Bill C-36, there can be zero doubt that the Trudeau Liberal government is engaged in an attack on your freedom of expression.

They abhor your rights and your ability to think for yourself, and they want to control you and impose a chilling effect on speech across our nation.

Rather than protecting our rights as a government is supposed to do, the Liberals are trying to restrict and attack our rights.

Bill C-36 is incredibly dangerous, goes against Canada’s values, and must be stopped.

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  LILLEY: As country slumbers, Liberals pass C-10
Contentious bill passes third reading after marathon 14-hour house session


Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:Jun 22, 2021 • June 22, 2021

VVi 24 Jun 2021

While most Canadians were sound asleep, the Trudeau Liberals — along with their allies in the Bloc and NDP — were busy passing a bill to regulate your social media feed.

The controversial Bill C-10 passed third reading shortly after 1:30 Tuesday morning after a 14-hour marathon sitting of the House.

One thing is certain, the Liberals desperately want this bill to become law.

It’s a bill that, if ever implemented, will fundamentally change the way Canadians experience the internet.

Why the rush to regulate which Instagram stories you see or which YouTube videos you watch?

So far, the Trudeau Liberals have resorted to shutting down debate at the committee level, a drastic step only done three times in Canadian Parliamentary history.

They have even passed amendments in secret, something the House Speaker ruled out of order.

And for the last several months the Liberals have rejected calls to insert language back into the bill to protect individual users of social media platforms from being regulated by the government.

That language was originally in the bill until the Liberals moved and passed a motion to remove such protections.

Conservative MP Alain Rayes moved a motion to restore that very protection for social media users as the bill was in the final stages of being passed but it was voted down 200-117.

On one side were the Liberals, Bloc and NDP — who think the government should regulate your social media use — and on the other side the Conservatives and former Liberal MP and justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Under C-10, anyone with any level of success online will be subject to the kinds of regulations currently placed on CTV, CBC and Global.

The Liberals also say this bill isn’t about deciding what you can or will see on social media but then can’t clearly answer basic questions about what the bill will do should it become law.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has waffled several times when asked if this bill will give Canada’s broadcast regulator, the CRTC, the ability to change the algorithms of social media platforms.

The clear answer to anyone who has read the bill and knows how the CRTC works is yes.

For the average social media user, that means what you get to see won’t be set by you or even the social media platform you are using but by an unnamed, unseen, government bureaucrat.

Someone with no connection to you, or your social media platform of choice, will decide if you get to watch a video from your friends or will be served up the Canadian content they have decided is good for you.

Under the guise of promoting Canadian content, the Liberals are pushing what they call “discoverability.”

It is this tool that they will use to insert those government bureaucrats into your Facebook feed, your Instagram and Twitter timelines, that will decide if you are viewing enough Canadian videos on TikTok and YouTube.

In reality, you could be watching what is mostly Canadian content uploaded by the many successful content creators this country has but if they are not the right content creators — the government approved ones, those getting grants and such — then you will have new content inserted into your day.

All so that you can discover Canadian content.

Thankfully, this bill is unlikely to pass the Senate before the upper house rises for the summer recess, but the Liberals have made it clear that they want this passed and will push hard when Parliament returns in the fall.

Any Canadian concerned about their online freedom, their ability to watch and post what they choose — rather than a bureaucrat — should contact as many senators as they can to express their displeasure with this bill.

Let’s hope the Senate gives C-10 the sober second thought it deserves and stops this madness.

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Canadian Soldiers Assistance Team (CSAT) Forum Newsletter - 7 May 2021

VVi 13 May 2021

The trending topics

Budget 2021 and Vets
FYI https//www.mypowellrivernow.com/34402/mp-blaney-says-liberal-budget-not-good-enough-for-veterans/ I like this article.........yes it calls a spade a spade but Blaney also points...

Vaccinations: Rights/Compensation
I don't want this to become a debate of whether they are good or bad. My concerns lately have been. Can we be forced to take it under VAC direction/policies of continued support? If so, would...

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I swithched from MedReleaf to Shoppers a while back. I have been haveing a hard time finding Avidekel that they stocked after waiting for over a month I just found out by asking them when it would...

Desmond inquiry VAC responds...
https//www.kamloopsthisweek.com/desmond-inquiry-veterans-affairs-refusing-to-disclose-review-to-fatality-inquiry-1.24309349

Covid Vaccination Side Effects Website
Came across this info and thought this might be helpful for everyone to make a decision on if they want the vaccine or not. NOTE The link referred to in the story is at the bottom of the...

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DND to create independent reporting system

FrontLine
Posted on Apr 29, 2021

VVi 16 Apr 2021 no

“Every day, Canadian Armed Forces members across the globe risk their lives to support our allies, partners, and friends. They uphold values that Canadians hold dear – peace, freedom, and respect for the dignity of all people. But, it is clear we have not lived up to our responsibility to protect members from harassment and misconduct. It is why we are taking these important initial steps to ensure that we have a system that better responds to the needs of those who have been affected by sexual harassment and violence while holding those who perpetrate it to account. We are committed to making a lasting change, one that will see the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence shed the toxic and outdated values, practices, and policies that have harmed our people. Today’s steps are the beginning of that,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, in a DND Statement released today.

April 29, 2021 – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces Statement

Over the past months, Canadians have heard from members of the Defence Team who have been affected by sexual trauma and sexual misconduct. On behalf of those who serve their country, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) must live up to our professed values of integrity, inclusion, and accountability. We also know that the current reporting systems do not meet the needs of those who have been affected or have witnessed misconduct. We need to change this.

We accept responsibility for our failings, continue to undertake critical examination of lessons learned, listen carefully to those we have failed, and take deliberate action to ensure that we achieve long-term culture change while providing the needed supports to those who have been impacted by sexual harassment and violence. We have been actively engaging with survivors and experts to listen to their experiences and the devastating impact that harassment and violence has had on their lives and careers. We are committed to creating a space where all members of the Defence Team are able to report misconduct free from any fear of reprisal or retribution so that members feel safe to come forward and can easily access the resources and support they need.

Today, the Minister of National Defence, Harjit S. Sajjan, is announcing that Madame Louise Arbour will lead an Independent External Comprehensive Review into harassment and sexual misconduct in the DND/CAF. Over the coming months, Madame Arbour will provide concrete recommendations on how the DND/CAF can set up an independent, external reporting system for Defence Team members that meets the needs of those who have been affected by misconduct, free from any influence of the Chain of the Command.

In addition, this review will examine the policies, procedures, programs, practices, and culture within National Defence, and make recommendations aimed at addressing systemic issues and creating lasting culture change within the organization. It will look at the CAF military justice system’s policies, procedures and practices to see how we can make this system more responsive to the needs of those who have been impacted by misconduct while holding perpetrators to account.

To ensure we are able to address these important issues as soon as possible Madame Arbour will provide any interim recommendations to the DND/CAF, which we commit to acting upon. The final report and the Departmental response to the report will be made public once complete.

While Madame Arbour undertakes her review, the Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, and the Deputy Minister, Jody Thomas, are also creating a new internal organization to be led by Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan as the Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture. This group will unify, integrate, and coordinate all associated policies, programs, and activities that currently address systemic misconduct and support culture change across National Defence. Their efforts will closely align with the work being carried out by Madame Arbour. This will ensure that immediate steps are taken to address and act upon any interim recommendations made to provide better and more streamlined support to all those impacted by misconduct.

We recognize that those who have military sexual trauma need additional support, which is why in Budget 2021 the Government committed over $236 million so that DND/CAF and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) can jointly develop a professionally co-facilitated peer support program to assist CAF members and Veterans who have suffered harm as a result of experiencing sexual misconduct in connection with their military service. This program will include online and in-person group support: mental health professionals and peers with lived experience will co-facilitate these platforms in line with best practices. We will also be expanding the reach of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) across the country to better support those who have experienced sexual misconduct.

The DND/CAF continues its important work in support of victims and survivors by following through on its commitment to consult with victims and survivors of service offences, which will inform the development of the regulations needed to implement the Declaration of Victims Rights from Bill C-77. Direct engagement with victims’ groups has been completed and an online questionnaire will be launched soon to allow for the collection of anonymous feedback from DND employees and CAF members.

All of these efforts incorporate recommendations from our people, experts, and stakeholders, and are part of the Defence Team’s next phase of institutional evolution. These initiatives are the first steps towards a renewed commitment to the Defence Team and everyone’s right to work in an environment of mutual respect, dignity, and inclusion, where they have the opportunity to thrive and contribute to achieving mission success.

“Today we are listening to survivors,” said Anita Vandenbeld, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence. “We know that to truly put an end to sexual harassment, assault, and abuse of power, we need a reporting mechanism outside of the Chain of Command. Madame Arbour is the right person for this job to ensure that we get this right. To all the survivors who have spoken out with heartbreaking stories – you are making a difference.”

Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, stated: “The lived experience of many members does not reflect the professed values of the organization. That has to change and we have to be that change. We have to listen to our people — present, past, and at all levels — to learn from and guide our actions, finding solutions and making decisions reflective of their experiences and suggestions.”

“Culture change targeting attitudes and beliefs cannot be ‘ordered’ ” acknowledges Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence. “It is complex work that requires dedicated, deliberate, and sustained action to make change while preserving the good work that is being done. This is what we will do.”

The Independent External Comprehensive Review will also provide the MND interim assessments and recommendations for immediate actions that can be undertaken while the review progresses. These assessments and recommendations will be made public.

The review will be conducted with the utmost discretion and confidentiality. Names of any participants in the Independent External Comprehensive Review will remain anonymous and there will be no findings made in relation to any specific cases.

This neutral, third-party review will be independent of DND/CAF. It will consider all relevant independent reviews conducted to date concerning the DND/CAF, along with their findings and recommendations.

Recommendations on establishing external oversight and/or review mechanisms related to misconduct will also be included.

The Chief Professional Conduct and Culture group will have an Assistant Deputy Minister, yet to be named, in direct support of Lt.-Gen. Carignan. The team will be inclusive of members of all ranks/classifications and will emulate the diversity that Canadians expect of it.
Budget 2021 provides strong fiscal support to make sure no one is left behind. This means $236.2 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $33.5 million per year ongoing to the DND and VAC (including $158.5 million over five years and $29.9 million per year ongoing funded from existing resources) to support this, and other work to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military and support survivors.

The peer support program will be fully resourced and will leverage existing peer support programs to accelerate development. Co-designed with the SMRC, the program will be informed by mental health professionals and engagements with individuals who have lived experience to ensure that nothing about people affected by sexual trauma is decided without their input.
It is important to name and acknowledge the harm that results from experiencing sexual harassment and/or violence during service and that this harm has distinct aspects. To clearly define sexual trauma in connection with military service, initial discussions are underway with stakeholders including survivors, academics, and the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre.

Work on the Third Independent Review of the National Defence Act continues by the Review Authority, the Honourable Morris J. Fish, with the report expected to be tabled in Parliament this June. The Independent External Comprehensive Review will be complementary to that of former Justice Fish.
 
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Senior military commander under investigation after being accused of sexually assaulting subordinate
Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson is now on indefinite leave with pay

Ashley Burke, Kristen Everson · CBC News ·
Posted: Mar 31, 2021 5:00 PM ET | Last Updated: April 1

VVi 15 Apr 2021


The military's head of personnel — one of the more prominent leaders in the Canadian Armed Forces — is on indefinite leave with pay as he faces a military police investigation over an allegation of rape that dates back almost three decades.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service opened a file on Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson after CBC News notified the Department of National Defence (DND) that it was about to release a story featuring on-the-record remarks by the woman involved.

The allegations against Edmundson are the most serious to be levelled recently against a senior leader in the Forces.

Stéphanie Viau named Hayden Edmundson and detailed the sexual assault allegations against him in her claim for the CAF-DND sexual misconduct class action settlement. CBC News reviewed a copy of her claim, which was dated July 22, 2020.

Former military member Stéphanie Viau said she was a 19-year-old steward in the navy when Edmundson, a superior and lieutenant commander in 1991, started exposing his genitals to her onboard a navy ship deployed to the Pacific Ocean for an exercise.

Viau said she yelled at Edmundson and told him it was unacceptable behaviour. Days later, she said, the misconduct escalated and Edmundson sexually assaulted her onboard HMCS Provider in early November, 1991 while the ship was docked in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.

"He wouldn't let me go," Viau told CBC News. "I can't say that it was a violent situation, but he sort of pushed me to the wall and he started undressing me.

"Then he turned me around and he raped me. There's no other way to say it ... My body just froze. I didn't know what to do. I was terrified."

Viau said she didn't report the assault at the time because she was afraid to speak up against the third-highest ranking officer on the ship. She described a pervasive culture of silence surrounding sexual misconduct, a lack of support from the chain of command and fear of career reprisals.

Stéphanie Viau shares her story of alleged sexual assault by current military head of HR1 month ago

Viau said Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson's inappropriate behaviour escalated to rape onboard HMCS Provider decades ago.

Edmundson denies the allegations

Viau said she is sharing her story publicly for the first time in an effort to heal. She said she now wants an independent investigation and charges laid.

I categorically deny that I have ever had non-consensual sex with anyone...ever
- Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson

DND told CBC News today that Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, the acting chief of the defence staff, has referred the matter to military police.

"The Canadian Armed Forces are very troubled by these allegations and, above else, are concerned for the well-being of the victim who has been carrying this burden for 30 years," wrote the department in a statement.

Edmundson denies the allegations.

"I categorically deny that I have ever had non-consensual sex with anyone ... ever," wrote Edmundson in a statement sent to CBC News.

CBC News contacted Edmundson Tuesday afternoon and asked him to reply Wednesday afternoon to a detailed 12-point list of the allegations, including the location and timeframe for the claims. Edmundson said he was not provided with "sufficient particulars" and the "time necessary to respond to the allegations in any detail whatsoever."

DND said Edmundson "will be on leave until further notice."

A 'systemic' problem

Viau's allegations add to a pattern of claims of inappropriate behaviour involving Edmundson already reported by CBC News earlier this month — a pattern that does not seem to have affected his career arc.

Naval colleagues gave Edmundson the nickname "Mulligan man" in the late 1990s because a military investigation into claims of unwanted sexual comments, predatory behaviour and inappropriate relationships with subordinates under his chain of command cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Sources described the probe as flawed since not all witnesses and complainants were interviewed.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's office said it asked Eyre to look into the claims involving Edmundson after CBC News' first story.

DND confirmed that Edmundson took leave after CBC's first story was published but his job status did not change. Edmundson retained the title of commander of Military Personnel Command, which gives him authority over career consequences for sexual misconduct cases.

Military’s human resources commander was investigated for inappropriate behaviour 2 months ago

CBC News has learned the commander in charge of human resources for the Armed Forces was investigated for allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the 1990s. The discovery comes as the Canadian military has two senior officers facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

Megan MacKenzie, the Simons Chair in International Law and Human Security at Simon Fraser University, said Edmundson's case shows the military does not have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual assault in the ranks.

She said Edmundson should have been asked to step aside temporarily until the allegations were properly investigated.

"It's just such a sign of the systemic nature of this problem," said MacKenzie, who is part of an international project focused on sexual assault in the military.

"I think it's so disappointing and it weakens the claim that this is being taken seriously."

Sajjan's office said Eyre "has been handling the matter directly" in cooperation with military police and military personnel and noted that Edmundson is on leave "and not currently serving in his role of Military Personnel Command."

In a media statement, the minister's office said it was made aware of the sexual assault allegations yesterday and has asked officials to provide Viau support. That support, said Sajjan's spokesperson Todd Lane, "includes assisting her to obtain the appropriate police investigation that she requests."

Edmundson named in class-action application
Last year, Viau named Edmundson as one of her alleged abusers in her application to join the military's sexual misconduct class action settlement, according to documents viewed by CBC News.

Viau claimed she was also sexually assaulted by two other superiors during her first two years in the military before the alleged incident involving Edmundson. Her class-action claim is currently under review.

"How ironic that HE was placed in such a position," Viau wrote about Edmundson in the claim dated July 22, 2020. "We will not be able to fix this tolerated sexual misconduct culture with the same people that nourished it."

Viau wrote in her application that there was an underlying culture of misogyny onboard HMCS Provider in the early 1990s. She described male colleagues playing pornographic videos in the lounge of the ship, men walking in on her while she was showering, and men frequently making unwanted sexual comments about her appearance.

She said one of her responsibilities on board was to quietly wake up officers for duty without disturbing roommates or turning on bright lights (to avoid compromising their night vision).

Viau said when the ship was at sea during an exercise called "NZAUS SOPLOY" from Sept. 4 to Nov. 20, 1991, Edmundson started sleeping naked and exposing more and more of his body to her. Viau said she also believes he pretended to be asleep at times so that she'd have to spend longer trying to wake him.

"The last time he did that, I went to wake him up and he was on his back completely naked," said Viau. "And he was waiting for me. I was so angry.

"I just flashed the white lights and I started yelling, 'I can't take this any longer. I can't believe this is what I have to do for work. I mean, this is unacceptable.' And I just burst out.'"

Days later, Viau said, when the ship was docked in Hawaii, she went looking for another member's glasses at the front of the ship so they could go to Waikiki Beach.

'I didn't know how to get out of that situation'
Viau said Edmundson saw her and asked to speak to her in his cabin. Viau said she assumed he was going to apologize for exposing himself — but when she entered his room, the lights were off and she immediately felt uncomfortable.

"I was extremely nervous and I didn't know how to get out of that situation, and I thought to myself, 'Just apologize and get the hell out,'" Viau said.

Viau alleges she told Edmundson her friends were waiting and she had to leave, but he "penetrated me against my will," according to a copy of her class-action claim.

CBC News interviewed an individual who confirmed that Viau went missing during the time of the alleged assault.

"I do remember going to look for her and I remember calling her name," said the woman, who asked not to be named because she fears it could undermine her career.

Viau said that while Edmundson was sexually assaulting her, she tried to call back to her friend, but Edmundson put his hand over her mouth.

Viau said she was later reprimanded by the chain of command and given a recorded warning in her file for speaking French aboard ship rather than English.

Viau said she was told to be on her best behaviour for the subsequent six months and was warned that she faced dismissal from the Canadian Forces. She said she wasn't given any prior verbal warning and believes it was an attempt to keep her quiet.

Two other members who served with Viau back up claims

Edmundson is just one of the military members named in Viau's 10-page class-action claim. The document contains a series of sexual assault allegations ranging from inappropriate comments to being forced to model bathing suits on stage to nonconsensual sex with superiors during Viau's career in the Forces between 1989 and 1997.

Viau alleged that she woke up to a master corporal sexually assaulting her in her barracks cubicle in Feb. 1990 during basic training at Saint-Jean Garrison in Quebec. Viau also alleges her direct supervisor with the military police raped her at the Connaught military range in Ottawa when she was on temporary duty there in the summer of 1990.

Veterans Affairs Canada approved her claim for disability payments for post-traumatic stress disorder on Nov. 23, 2020, according to government documents viewed by CBC News. Viau said her trauma is connected to the sexual assaults.

WATCH | 'She had nobody': Woman who served on ship in 1991 said Stéphanie Viau couldn't have reported alleged sexual assault:

'She had nobody': Woman who served on ship in 1991 said Stéphanie Viau couldn't have reported alleged sexual assault1 month ago

A woman who served on HMCS Provider in 1991 — and who asked to keep her identity secret — said the chain of command wouldn't have taken Viau's sexual assault complaint seriously in 1991. 1:25
CBC News also reviewed Viau's employment history, personnel record and certificate of service, all of which confirmed her timeline of events.

A copy of a "cruise book" from NZAUS SOPLOY viewed by CBC News also contains a series of photos placing Viau and Edmundson on that ship during the relevant period of time, and verifies the dates and routes Viau detailed in her allegations.

CBC News interviewed two people who served with Viau who corroborated much of her story; CBC has agreed to keep their names confidential because they fear damage to their careers. They both said that, based on everything they know, they believed Viau's version of events.

'She had nobody'

They both also said the military culture at the time would not have supported Viau reporting the alleged sexual assault. One said the chain of command would have brushed it off.

"She had nobody that she could trust to talk about it, or to make a complaint," said one of the individuals who served with Viau at sea in 1991. "She had nobody. I think that was the biggest struggle back then — you couldn't trust anybody."

A second person who served with Viau and was told about the alleged sexual assault last year said it took "a lot of bravery and courage" for her to go public.

"For her to expose herself and her family to this, it's huge. Based on that and her integrity, there's no chance that there's a hole in this."

Both individuals told CBC News they also were sexually assaulted during their time in the military. One said she did not report it because of the prevailing culture in the Canadian Forces at the time. She also said her alleged attacker spread rumours leading others to publicly mock and humiliate her.

Viau calls on PM to order independent investigation
Viau said she wants Edmundson charged with sexual assault.

There is no time limitation on sexual assault reports, said retired colonel and military law expert Michel Drapeau, adding that a victim can come forward and report the crime decades after it happened.

I want justice for me. But I also want justice for others.
- Stéphanie Viau

It would be the military's responsibility to investigate, he said, since the incident is alleged to have happened aboard a military ship.

But Viau said she wants an independent investigation because she doesn't trust the military to properly investigate and prosecute her case. The military has its own police and usually handles sexual assault charges through its separate justice system.

CBC News' The Fifth Estate reported this month that a former military police investigator said the military's judicial system is "ill-equipped" to handle such crimes. The former investigator said he dealt with commanding officers interfering with sexual assault cases, and prosecutors who were reluctant to move forward with charges.

Statistics from 2014-2017 show that sexual assault conviction rates in the military were well below those in the civilian justice system.

Viau said she has no faith in the military's ability to conduct an investigation in part because she alleges a military police officer sexually assaulted her in the past.

She's now calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for help.

"I'm asking Justin Trudeau to change that so that it makes it possible for people like me to disclose and also to seek justice," said Viau.

"I want justice for me. But I also want justice for others."

Stéphanie Viau wrote in her class action claim that she was sexually assaulted by three superiors during her first years in the military from 1989 to 1991.

After the military investigates, it has the option to lay charges in civilian court if the victim requests it, said Drapeau.

In a media statement, the Prime Minister's Office did not comment specifically on the case. The PMO said that Prime Minister Trudeau has stated that those who serve in the military must have a "safe work environment and have the resources and the supports needed to come forward with any concerns or allegations."

"As the Prime Minister and Minister Sajjan have said, we will continue to move forward on measures to ensure that we are not only giving those supports to people who come forward, but also ensuring that we're putting in place independent mechanisms to put an end to these deeply troubling allegations and this behaviour once and for all," wrote Alex Wellstead, a spokesperson for the PMO.

Give military sexual assault cases back to civilian courts: Drapeau

Decades ago, the civilian justice system handled sexual assault cases involving military members. But in 1998, the Department of National Defence asked for a change to the National Defence Act to remove sexual assault from the list of serious crimes that fall outside of the military's jurisdiction, said Drapeau.

Military’s human resources commander accused of sexual assault1 month ago

A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces alleges she was raped by Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson in 1991. Edmundson, the commander in charge of the military’s human resources, is under investigation because of the allegations.

Overnight, he said, military police and tribunals were put in charge of those cases without any prior experience.

"I have long argued that jurisdiction for sexual assaults should be returned to civilian police and the civilian criminal court," said Drapeau.

Mackenzie agreed the military is not equipped to deal with sexual assault allegations "well," especially when it comes to high-ranking officers. The system is built on the assumption that high-ranking members won't commit misconduct, she said — and the current crisis in the military shows that isn't the case.

Former chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance and his replacement, Admiral Art McDonald, are both facing military police investigations over sexual misconduct allegations.

Senior female officer quits Canadian Forces, says she's 'sickened' by reports of sexual misconduct
Vance spoke with Global News after the allegations against him first surfaced. He declined to offer comment to CBC News. McDonald has not responded publicly to the investigation involving him.

Two parliamentary committees are conducting their own inquiries into what the Liberal government knew about the allegations against McDonald and Vance, and when.

Viau said she hopes the committees will look at Edmundson's case as well.

"The military has to stop handing sexual misconduct in-house," she said. "The consequences should be the same for every Canadian."

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Commandos MC: United We Conquer

Laurice Alexander
December 21, 2020

VVi 02 Apr 2021



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Veterans Foodbank Association


VVi 02 Apr 2021  no

Our Mission
The Veterans Association Food Bank is dedicated to supporting and enriching the lives of Veterans and their families.

Our Vision
As a community of Veterans helping Veterans, we will be the support base where together we create healthy and resilient futures.

Who We Serve
The Veterans Association Food Bank recognizes any person who is currently serving or has honourably served in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Veterans Association Food Bank also recognizes and offers support to those currently serving, honourably discharged or honourably released Commonwealth Allies, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Peacekeepers, Merchant Marines, or Ferry Command (Coast Guard). Support will be extended to spouses, widows, widowers, and any dependent children in need. Proof of military service or affiliation required.

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PETITION

VVi 30 Mar 2021

They never had any brochures or briefing about the possibility of this at the recruiting office.

Just the part about taking oath to knowingly avow and be willing to lay one's life on the line for your country.

Then terrorism up and reared its ugly head, even here in Canada with FLQ and other international Terrorism Gangs. Cowards, trying to rule, dominate and mandate their philosophy by fear.

A whole new way of life for dealing with enemies of freedom and democracy. A new issue for our Veterans and Troops that were and still are dealing with life in the Armed Forces and the effects of the past and future effects it would bring.

God Bless our Veterans and our Troops and their families.

Let's support all our Veterans' for Recognition and Inclusiveness.

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3224&fbclid=IwAR2tjbBJkyWwkKutq49jSGxv7OpZBPkEq9N1PFD47TjmK3f411RUpXZIx6o

Be well, stay well, Godspeed,
Dave W. Palmer
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Wounded Warriors - Ride for Mental Health

VVi 28 Mar 2021 no

Challenging Mental Health

We know that everyday, thousands of Veterans, First Responders and their family members are working hard to challenge the effects of trauma exposure and, for many, the symptoms of operational stress injuries such as PTSD.


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FRONTLINE - Ethics through the Lens of Military Reform

Posted on Mar 01, 2021

VVi 02 Mar 2021

In an attempt to set the record straight on some of the misunderstandings, skewed agenda of some media commentators, and the reluctance to forthrightly address the key issues, Tony Battista answers questions related to how the military handles past, current and future indiscretions...

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Valour in the Presence of the Enemy

VVi 22 Feb 2021

Our mandate is to try to get a Canadian Victoria Cross awarded to an Afghanistan veteran. To achieve this goal we are going to put on a two hour special that highlights the actions of ten soldiers and then you the viewer decides who you would award the most prestigious medal to.

Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/Valour-in-the-Presence-of-the-Enemy-115919716985560 
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Commandos MC: United We Conquer - December 21, 2020 - Laurice Alexander

VVi 22 Feb 2021


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Canada Army Run

VVi 22 Feb 2021

We are happy to announce the 2021 Virtual edition of Canada Army Run, Presented by BMO Financial Group is now live, taking place September 10-19! While we had to make the difficult decision to not host an in-person event this year, we have an exciting virtual event experience to bring to you.

Building off of the success of our 2020 event, we are bringing new ways to train, race and engage with us.

Featured Race Distances:

- 5K
- 10K
- Half Marathon
- 5K + 10K Challenge
- 5K + Half Marathon Commander's Challenge

Early bird pricing in effect until March 31! Register now at armyrun.ca & check out our new website!!!!
//
Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer que l’édition virtuelle 2021 de la Course de l’Armée du Canada, présentée par BMO Groupe financier est maintenant en ligne, et elle aura lieu du 10 au 19 septembre! Même si nous avons dû prendre la décision difficile de ne pas tenir d’événement en personne cette année, nous avons une superbe expérience virtuelle à vous faire vivre.

Tirant parti de la réussite de notre course de 2020, nous présentons de nouveaux moyens de vous entraîner, de courir et de communiquer avec nous.

Les distances de course offertes :

- 5 km
- 10 km
- demi-marathon
- Défi 5 km + 10 km
- Défi du commandant 5 km + demi-marathon

Les tarifs réduits de la préinscription sont en vigueur jusqu’au 31 mars! Inscrivez vous maintenant au site armyrun.ca et voyez notre nouveau site Web!

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Salute! January 2021/ Salut! Janvier 2021

VAC

VVi 22 Jan 2021

(Le message français suit)

Veterans Affairs Canada’s magazine, Salute! is now an e-newsletter and we are proud to present this first issue. Please share this e-mail with your friends and networks, and encourage them to register by visiting letstalkveterans.ca to keep up on issues that matter to Veterans and their families.

Let us know what you think about the new Salute! by emailing vac.consultation-consultation.acc@canada.ca .
________________________________________

The Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund is open for applications

Does your organization support the well-being of Veterans and their families?
Apply for the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund. Funding is available to organizations from the private, public or academic sectors doing research and realizing projects and initiative in support of the well-being of Veterans and their families. Applications will be accepted until 8 February 2021.

Not sure if you qualify? Check out our funding guidelines.

Interested in applying? Find the application here. https://vfwb-fbvf.vac-acc.gc.ca/vfwb/public/login?lang=en...
________________________________________
(The English message precedes)

Le magazine d’Anciens Combattants Canada Salut! est désormais un bulletin d’information électronique et nous sommes fiers de vous présenter ce premier numéro. Veuillez partager ce courriel avec vos amis et vos réseaux et les encourager à s’inscrire en consultant le site parlonsveterans.ca pour se tenir au courant des questions qui comptent pour les vétérans et leur famille.

Faites-nous savoir ce que vous pensez du nouveau Salut! en nous envoyant un courriel à l’adresse vac.consultation-consultation.acc@canada.ca.
________________________________________

Les demandes sont acceptées dans le cadre du Fonds pour le bien-être des vétérans et de leur famille

Votre organisme soutient-il le bien-être des vétérans et de leur famille?
Présentez une demande dans le cadre du Fonds pour le bien-être des vétérans et de leur famille. Du financement est offert aux organismes des secteurs privé, public et universitaire qui mènent des recherches et qui mettent en œuvre des projets et des initiatives à l’appui du bien-être des vétérans et de leur famille. Les demandes seront acceptées jusqu’au 8 février 2021.

Vous n’êtes pas sûr d’être admissible? Consultez les lignes directrices pour le financement.

Vous souhaitez présenter une demande? Vous trouverez le formulaire ici.
https://vfwb-fbvf.vac-acc.gc.ca/vfwb/public/login?lang=fr...
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OVO Release of Report /Le BOV publie un rapport

VAC

VVi20 Jan 2021

Le français suit

Today the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman (OVO) released its report on Mental Health Treatment Benefits For Family Members, In Their Own Right, For Conditions Related To Military Service.

The report examines and makes recommendations regarding treatment benefits for those family members of Canadian Armed Forces Veterans who might be experiencing their own mental health conditions as a result of military service. The OVO believes that this is an important fairness matter in need of both attention and action.

We encourage you to read the full report and appreciate you sharing it through your networks and on your social media channels.

Sincerely,

Nishika Jardine
Veterans’ Ombudsman
Office of the Veterans Ombudsman / Government of Canada
Click here to read the full report: Report on Mental Health Treatment Benefits For Family Members, In Their Own Right, For Conditions Related To Military Service.
Facebook: @VeteransOmbudsman
Instagram: @Veteransombudsmancanada
Twitter: @VetsOmbudsman
________________________________________

Aujourd’hui, le Bureau de l’ombudsman des vétérans (BOV) a publié son Rapport sur les avantages pour soins de santé mentale destinés aux membres des familles, de plein droit, pour des problèmes de santé mentale liés au service militaire.

Le rapport porte sur les avantages médicaux offerts aux membres de la famille des vétérans des Forces armées canadiennes qui ont leur propre problème de santé mentale lié au service militaire et il fait des recommandations à cet égard.

Le BOV croit qu’il s’agit d’une question importante en matière d’équité qui doit être portée à notre attention et pour laquelle il faut prendre des mesures.

Nous vous encourageons à lire le rapport en entier et nous vous remercions de faire part du rapport au moyen de vos réseaux et de vos médias sociaux.

Veuillez agréer nos salutations les plus sincères,

Nishika Jardine
Ombudsman des Vétérans
Bureau de l’ombudsman des vétérans / Gouvernement du Canada
Cliquez sur le lien suivant pour consulter le rapport en entier : Rapport sur les avantages pour soins de santé mentale destinés aux membres des familles, de plein droit, pour des problèmes de santé mentale liés au service militaire.
Facebook: @OmbudsmanVeterans
Instagram: @Ombudsmanveteranscanada
Twitter: @OmbudVeterans
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  COVID Coverup: Trudeau gov’t helped China hide origins of COVID-19

Rebel News, Keean Bexte
14 Jan 2021
 
VVi 16 Jan 2020 db

Read the documents for yourself: http://www.COVIDcoverup.ca
Keean Bexte reveals some explosive information provided to him by a high-ranking member of the Canadian Armed Forces regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FULL REPORT from Keean Bexte: http://rebelne.ws/2LwtGqc

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