Letter to the Ministers of Defence and Veterans Affairs

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

Dear Ministers:

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.

Sincerely, 

Hon. Dan McTeague, P.C., M.P.   

© 2008 Dan McTeague. Reproduction without prior written consent is prohibited.