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Canada's military veterans are suffering another condition of late: envy. They watch National Defence Ombudsman Gary Walbourne, relentlessly petition government to improve the lives of soldiers. Veterans long for their Ombudsman, Guy Parent, to have the same backbone.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau's new fiscal plan called for $725 million in additional benefits for injured veterans.
Bernice and Eddie Graf
We cannot continue to hide from the truth. We broke them; we owe them. No amount of re-framing will change that fact. If these veterans made it home from a war, then we should be able to stop them being further casualties.
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They've come a long way since they were 20-somethings performing for troops in the army. Today, Eddie and Bernice (also known as "Bunny") are 95-years-old, and both live together at Sunnybrook's Veterans Centre.
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If I were a member of the Liberal caucus who unceremoniously and quietly replaced a parliamentary secretary that cared about veterans with someone that helped ensure that 2015 would not be the last past-the-post election, I know I couldn't look myself in the mirror.
In Canada, men account for three out of every four suicides -- with seven men dying by suicide every day. And the risk is even greater for gay and bisexual men, who are four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual men. Which isn't surprising since they also experience higher levels of harassment, discrimination in the workplace and are more likely to be the victims of violent crime.
My message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is that Lionel Desmond's death and his killing of his family could have been avoided. It's time to stop lying to veterans. It's time to stop fighting veterans.
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They have demonized Lionel Desmond as a typical example of male entitlement and bemoan the media portraying Lionel as a victim - when the lack of mental health services is central to this tragedy. Lionel was trying desperately to get help. Lionel was denied that help. The Desmond family is now dead.
Whether help comes in the form of artillery fire, jet fighters, or helicopter gunships, no expense is spared to support and protect our troops when the bullets start flying. But is the federal government willing to continue to fork out $85 a day to keep each of our veterans with PTSD out of harm's way? Apparently not!
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Former Canadian combat engineer Fabian Henry used to thrive on adrenaline - especially in combat zones - during his 12 years in the military. Now he smokes medical marijuana to avoid stressors that remind him of his most disturbing wartime experiences. And that's what now keeps him sane, he says.
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Remember that today marks the culmination of a militarist, nationalist ritual organized by a reactionary state-backed group. While there's some criticism of the nationalism and militarism driving Remembrance Day, the organization sponsoring the red poppy campaign receives little critical attention.
We all know where the problems are. Disappointingly, the Trudeau government is using the same delaying tactics of its predecessors. Canadians won't ignore this. Veterans were a key issue in the last election and will continue to be until they are treated with respect and compassion.
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At Sunnybrook -- home to the country's largest veterans centre -- 30,000 flags will be planted in the ground for Remembrance Day. It's a campaign known as Operation Raise a Flag, and it's an opportunity for Canadians to show their appreciation for our country's veterans. Proceeds from the campaign will go towards the hospital's Veterans Grant a Wish Program.
The costs of war are borne by all, from those on the front lines to the spouses, families and communities who serve on the home front. As such, it is critical that we focus not only on the short-term investment that a mission requires, but the life-cycle costs and resources requisite for any mission.