How our country is failing our veterans (Part I)
By Kevin Berry
|Former Canadian soldier and Afghanistan veteran, Kevin Berry, recounts details of his tour - Op Athena Roto 0 - his experience
with Veterans Affairs Canada and the negative impact of the New Veterans Charter from
his personal point of view. This story will appear in two parts. The following is Part One.
It is difficult to know how or where to begin addressing my concerns about Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the New Veterans Charter (NVC, 2006). My own experiences, as a modern veteran, and the experiences of my seriously wounded comrades, have been consistently negative. With one notable exception, the VAC personnel I have dealt with could not have made me feel like more of an inconvenience or a burden. The mental and physical care delivered by VAC to my comrades and myself has been sadly lacking to date.
The New Veterans Charter was enacted in 2006, and replaced the Pension Act for all future Veterans. It also replaced the Pension Act on all injuries sustained prior to 2006 that had not already been reported to VAC. The New Veterans Charter was announced with much publicity as a new way of taking care of Canada’s new generation of Veterans. The Pension Act has financially compensated and protected the rights of our World War Two, Korean War, Cold War, and Peacekeeping Veterans. The New Veterans Charter drastically reduces the amount of money and support awarded to ill or injured veterans after 2006, and delivers only pennies on the dollar for the same injuries sustained by pre-2006 veterans.
|I am 28 years old; I live in Greater Vancouver, and served in the Canadian Forces from 7 September 2001 until 12 September 2004. I was honourably discharged at the end of my 3-year Basic Enlistment in the Army. I served in the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, as a Light Machine Gunner. I served in Kabul, Afghanistan from 12 August 2003 until 13 February 2004 on Operation ATHENA, Roto 0. I celebrated my 20th birthday less than 4-weeks before my Battalion deployed overseas.|