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The old guard: NCVAC recommends, Korea medals, student scholarships & VAC Minister Fantino.

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF VETERANS ASSOCIATIONS IN CANADA (NCVAC)

The NCVAC is an umbrella group representing 60 independent veterans' organizations. For years, veterans' champion the late Cliff Chadderton was its chairman; Ottawa lawyer Brian Forbes now holds that position. (I have been associated with NCVAC for over 30 years as a representative of the Korean Veterans Association and later as NCVAC vice-chair). The Council has prepared a submission to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, which I feel is an excellent account of what needs to be done for our veterans. I will try to summarize them.

Concerns:

1. Decreased income and standard of living for veterans over 65 years of age.

2. Restricted implementation of Permanent Impairment Allowance.

3. Insufficient lump-sum disability payments.

4. Limited rehabilitation and retraining funding.

5. Inadequate support for families.

Recommendations:

1. Eliminate or increase Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP).

2. Increase Earning Loss Income to 100 per cent for life.

3. Permanent Impairment Allowance to be made available to all veterans.

4. Lump-sum payments to equal those awarded by Canadian courts.

5. Exceptional Incapacity Allowance to be incorporated in the New Veterans Charter.

6. No distinction made between classes of reservists.

7. Attendance Allowance to be included in the New Veterans Charter.

8. Provision for higher rates for veterans with dependants.

This is a very short summary of a comprehensive submission, and I would recommend that any veteran wishing to see what NCVAC (and, by extension, perhaps their own member-association) is working towards, obtain a complete version. E-mail me at jlpeate@rogers.com and I will forward one.

IN PASSING

There has been brickbat for MP Parm Gill, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Fantino, who accused a leader of Canadian Veterans Advocacy of 'partisanship' and demanded that its funding sources be disclosed. I receive communications frequently from Mike Blais (of CVA) as well as other veteran activists, and would be very surprised to learn that they obtain any funding except perhaps from within their own veteran groups. One instance did come to light where the Public Service Alliance (PSAC) supposedly sponsored a group of vets to a meeting in Ottawa. However, the union (who claimed to be supportive of veterans) showed its true colours when members strongly opposed the "priority hiring for disabled veterans" project.

The PTSD problem is still with us--and likely to be for years to come. A disturbing number of suicides among veterans are still coming to light but one aspect, equally serious, is not getting as much attention. A significant number of family assault cases (and locally, one murder charge) have been attributed to veterans allegedly suffering from this disorder. Now, it appears an Iraq War veteran killed a number of comrades before turning his gun on himself. According to one report, his complaint of a brain disorder after his return was discounted, as he was a truck driver and not a "sharp-end" soldier. (Perhaps some of the 'experts' should realize that in Afghanistan and other locations, the "sharp end" is everywhere). The object of my rant is if you suspect any need for psychological help or counsel in a buddy or relative, try to obtain it--YOU could be a victim.

KOREAN WAR VETS TAKE NOTE

Many Korean War veterans have taken part in return visits to Korea and during their tour were presented with the "Ambassador of Peace" medal in recognition of their service. This award is now being made available to all Korean War veterans who served there between June 25, 1950 and July 27, 1953. Posthumous awards may be made on application by dependents.

Although it is not approved for wear on the left with official Canadian medals and decorations, it is nevertheless an attractive reminder of 60 or more years ago and well worth passing down to your family. It comes with a handsome certificate and lapel badge. I have application forms online, or you could contact the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (Defence Attache) at 613-244-5027.

STUDENTS PLEASE NOTE

I have received word on three scholarship and bursary programs. The Canadian Airborne Forces Association offers scholarships to Association members, spouses and dependents, as well as Army Cadet qualified parachutists and members of affiliated Cadet Corps. Please contact Bob Janik at 613-547-3142. Families of past and present members of the Royal Canadian Regiment can learn of the RCR scholarship by contacting http://thercr.ca/ main/index.php/the-rcr-association.

The Korean Veterans Association offers a bursary open to all students, regardless of any regimental affiliation. For details call Doug Finney at 705-579-0751.

VETERANS AFFAIRS: THE POSITIVE SIDE (?)

Veterans Affairs Minister Fantino has announced a "voluntary payment" of $19.9-million towards alleviating conditions of some veterans. Veterans and dependents will supposedly be compensated for shortfalls in earning loss, income support and War Veterans Allowance. According to his statement, about 5,000 veterans will benefit. They include 560 War Veterans Allowance recipients eligible for VIP, 460 treatment benefits and 2,050 vets needing long-term care. While this does not come close to meeting all the veterans' needs, it is perhaps a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile the Veterans Ombudsman has a favourable report on the Veterans Independence Program. I quote Mr. Parent: "VIP provides excellent value for the services it delivers and achieves its goal of keeping veterans living independently and with dignity in their homes for as long as possible in a cost-effective manner."

HERE AND THERE

* Well-known folk-singer J.P. Cormier has produced a CD of his new composition "Hometown Battlefield," detailing the experience of a returning veteran. Twenty per cent of the proceeds go to "Paws Fur Thought" --a project to provide canine support for PTSD victims. To order, contact www.pawsfurthought1.com. A worthy cause!

* I enjoy Chinese food, and have long been under the impression that it was good for keeping my weight down. Sadly, I found that the Chinese People's Liberation Army has a problem: over the last two decades soldiers have gained an average 2 cm in height and 5 cm around their waist. This has led to cramped conditions in tanks and other military equipment. (I sympathize--my own career as an infantryman was based on the fact that when I joined, any applicant of 6'1" was rejected as too tall for the Comet tanks in use at that time).

* It seems that a submarine, HMS Argyll, accidentally launched a torpedo in Plymouth Harbour. Luckily, it was a "dummy"; at least the Royal Navy can take comfort in the fact that its torpedo tubes function. (A comment to the "Army Rumour Service" site suggests that in view of the vessel's name, this may be an effort on the part of Scottish nationalists).

* Agent Orange has resurfaced, this time in an unusual location. Maine Governor Paul LePage presented a motion to have the U.S. government recognize the effects on Maine National Guard members who were exposed while undergoing training in Camp Gagetown.

* Liberal Veterans Affairs critic Jim Karygiannis has vacated his position after about six months on the job. During his "tour of duty" he has served veterans well--one notable effort was his continual encouragement to veterans to appear before the Commons Committee to express their concerns. Also 'moving on' is the Deputy Veterans Ombudsman, Gary Welbourne, who is moving on to greater heights as the DND/CF Ombudsman.

* NATO is 65 years old this month. Scott and I (both NATO vets) raise our glasses of Steinhager (or Slivovitz) to the thousands of Canadians who proudly wear the Special Service Medal with NATO clasp.

Caption: Tense encounter: A member of the Queen's Guard can be seen levelling his rifle, tipped with a bayonet, at the throat of a man in front of the gates of Buckingham Palace, (daily mail)

Caption: The NCVAC has prepared a submission to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs in the hopes of getting significant changes made to the New Veterans

Charter, (VETERANS AFFAIRS CANADA)

Caption: Military humour: The latest defence cuts could mean the Canadian Army might have to revert to a bicycle MMG.

Les Peate is a Korean War veteran based in Ottawa, and author of The War That Wasn't: Canadians in Korea

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Title Annotation:VETERANS NEWS & VIEWS
Author:Peate, Les
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2014
Words:1369
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