We were disturbed and disappointed to read Stephen Harper's recent comments erroneously claiming that Justin Trudeau has a "deep distrust" of the Canadian military. In my experience, actions speak louder than words, and while Mr. Harper has always been quick to stand with our soldiers for photo ops, he has failed to have their backs when it counts. We have a sacred obligation to our soldiers -- past and present -- which this Prime Minister has clearly rejected. By contrast, Mr. Trudeau is firmly committed to fulfilling our nation's obligation to our veterans, and to investing in the equipment and training that our troops need to get the job done
Yes, Julian Fantino's shambolic performance as Minister of Veterans Affairs has earned condemnation from coast to coast, and he should resign. But he is not the ultimate source of the problem for Canada's veterans. That shameful distinction rests with Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper's government is a one-man show. Mr. Fantino has no influence, no independence of thought or action. He just does what he's told. That spinelessness -- his failure to stand-up to Mr. Harper -- is Mr. Fantino's greatest offence.
I have gone so far to argue that my experience in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban was equally as damaging to me mentally as the fight I face every day on the home front in Canada, with Veterans Affairs Canada. The ineptitude that the department operates under led to my first blog post and I can attest that I am not the only soldier who feels they have not been taken care of when coming home. Documentation of these abuses will be our greatest asset, because as the system gets inundated with the claims for sanctuary trauma, along with them will come testimonies of veterans about the glaring deficiencies within VAC.
There are many cases of privacy violation at Veterans Affairs. Those that have gone public have two things in common: they have all spoken out about VAC policy and they are all veterans. Some can prove the Minister was given their information. Some can only prove that Ministerial staff was reading their files. Why is this happening?