July 30, 2008
Hon. Peter MacKay, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Defence
Hon. Greg Thompson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Veterans Affairs
Attached is a story today in the Toronto Sun
concerning the plight of Petty Officer Robert Leroux, and other veterans
who have been put through bureaucratic hoops and unimaginable delays in
order to get their proper pension and medical care benefits after they
have served Canada with distinction in Afghanistan.
Ministers, this is not a partisan issue, so do not
make the mistake to view my letter to you today as such. I am
writing you simply to request that you both personally intervene and see
if it is possible, once and for all, to enact the necessary protocols,
guidelines and ministerial directives that will put an end to story’s
like Petty Officer Leroux’s.
It is truly unconscionable that these brave soldiers
who did their bit for Canada can’t get the proper compensation and
health benefits that are owed to them. Quite frankly, I am ashamed
that these soldiers have to go through such experiences while the
Government and, indeed, all Parliamentarians strut around saying how
much they support our troops. Well, there is a definite gap in
that support and I am asking both of you today to take necessary steps
to close it.
I have endeavoured over the years, along with
parliamentarians on all sides of the House; families of Canadian
soldiers in active service in Afghanistan; and the media, to bring to
light the deplorable manner in which Canada’s wounded soldiers are
treated with respect to losing danger pay and tax benefits when removed
from the theatre of operations. I have also assisted grieving
parents of Canada’s war dead to get appropriate financial assistance for
the burial costs of their loved one and tried to ensure that wounded
soldiers, especially reservists, are not discarded by the military and
are given either adequate re-training and employment - or pensionable
earnings befitting what they deserve. Enough is enough. If we, as a
government and as a nation, are incapable of properly looking after our
wounded soldiers and veterans, perhaps we should rethink calling upon
them and their comrades to place themselves in harms way.
Ministers, I look forward to your reply at your
earliest convenience as to what you are prepared to do to correct Petty
Officer Leroux’s situation and address any other of our wounded soldiers
who are struggling to make ends meet and in obtaining the medical
attention they so richly deserve.
Hon. Dan McTeague, P.C., M.P.