Niagara Falls ON – Election 2011 Situation Report, Canadian Veterans Advocacy,
My apologies for the absence of updates, I have been exceedingly busy and between travel and the consequential chronic/acute medical issues, it has been difficult to devote the time required under these extraordinary times. I have been seeking consultations from veterans across the nation during the past month and would thank those who have so aptly expressed their concerns, proposals and support. I can assure you, as a community of veterans we are truly politically diverse, as such, it is very important to our mandate that we respect and consider the opinions of everybody. Many have encouraged the Canadian Veterans Advocacy to endorse the parties who have stood up for veterans since 2006, such as Peter Stoffer/NDP or Kirsti Duncan’s liberals. Colonel Patrick Stogran recently encouraged veterans to join the Progressive Canadian Party, a conservative alternative. Others have suggested that we do nothing, that this is not the time to interfere with the democratic process. Many have suggested that we focus SOLELY on the government through protest (my preference!) yet I am mindful of something Stogran once said, to paraphrase, it may have been bureaucrats who have gotten us into the situation, only politicians…
Bear in mind the Canadian Veterans Advocacy must remain consistent in policy and approach. We must embrace the same One Veteran, One Standard principle veterans united to champion during the Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest, and that we address ALL politicians with our concerns and with all due respect, insist parliamentarians restore the Sacred Social Contract that was abandoned in April, 2006. The CVA, as an organization, cannot be seen endorsing one singular political party, as we maintain focus on veterans issues, as advocates we must ensure that we attain the support of all parties in the House of Commons within two years when, compliments of the VO Parent’s intervention, the Act will be formally revisited.I would note also that Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s formal investigation into the Lump Sum Award will be presented roughly around the same time period, an event that I am confident will boost our prospects to ensure this unjust practice is Abolished and the One veteran, One Standard, lifetime national obligation to our wounded warriors is restored.
Regional CVNDOP Team Leaders are encouraged to take responsibility for their respective regions and initiate any actions they feel they HAVE LOCAL VETERANS SUPPORT to conduct. I am aware that there are many veterans who do not wish to enter the political realm during an election and I would encourage TL’s to consider this prior to considering options. Team Kingston has taken the lead on the first formal protest and will be rallying in favour of veterans on the 14th of April at Conservative MP Alicia Gordon’s riding office, located in a plaza near the intersection of Princes Street and Bath Road. I would encourage patriotic veterans in the Kingston region to support Eric and Derrick, your voice can make a difference at a crucial time in our quest to provide relief to the wounded. Three others locations have commenced preliminary ops, I will inform you when they decide of what course of action they are planning and the date. Naturally, CVA national will do everything in our power to ensure veterans in the region are aware of your plans and that the national and provincial press elements are notified of your operations. Whenever possible, I will support your rallies by traveling from Niagara Falls.
For veterans who feel the need to participate in a less formal manner, I would encourage you to fulfill your duty to our troops and veterans by talking the opportunity provided through the election to raise awareness of the primary issues at your level. We can make the veterans issue relevant simply by ensuring questions are posed in all ridings, to all candidates. I would encourage you to focus on the Lump Sum award as this is the issue that affects our serving members the most!!!!! We can do this through a variety of methods, inclusive of letters to the editor via your local or national papers, participation in call-in radio stations and most importantly, attending local political rallies and either in public or private and presenting EACH candidate with veterans related questions of your choice. Many veterans advocates have proposed various questions and an ongoing list will be maintained at the CVA message board.
There have also been a variety of proposals reference the vote, from not voting at all, voting collectively, voiding the ballot with the word veteran… In fairness, I have considered these measures yet am conflicted by the fact that I believe, with great conviction, that Canadians deserves the right to vote with good conscience, that there right right to do so without being coerced by political fear mongering or pressure on any veterans organization’s, particularly the Canadian Veterans Advocacy’s, behalf. As such, the CVA will not formally endorse or support any political party and, as demonstrated at our web site, will attempt to provide serving members and our veterans and a4chival news base and information base to make informed choices at the Canadian Veterans Advocacy message board.
Party support! The Canadian Veterans Advocacy’s non-endorsement policy certainly does NOT preclude YOU, as an individual veterans advocates, to exercise your good conscience, join any political party you choose and volunteer to any extent, even being a candidate if you so desire. We have stood on guard for Canadian democracy, it is only right that veterans so inclined to serve Canadian democracy in the public forum are provided the opportunity to do so. But let us stay true to our mandate, to our duty to those who serve and have served. Let us champion the need for substantive reform, to honourably unite our voices to draw public attention to our troops/veterans plight and to ensure these hardships are addressed within the context of the electoral dialogue.
Please bear in mind at all times that we are veterans representing veterans; be courteous, firm, passionate yet not disrespectful. The task falls to each veteran on a local basis to rally to the call in his/her own way, it is important that we engage nationally, that every party and every candidate realizes that veterans are resolved to stand up for those to whom we have passed the torch, that we will fight until we have successfully completed this mission as we have successfully completed many, many missions during our military careers.
FYI. We are composing list of veterans who believe they have been sickened by exposure to Depleted Uranium in former Yugoslavia, at sea or during the Gulf War with the prospect of presenting a dedicated advocacy on their behalf, perhaps inclusive of a legal action.
God bless our troops, our veterans, the widows and families of the fallen, God bless Canada!
Canadians Veterans National Rendezvous, Niagara Falls, July 8-10 2011.
Michael L Blais CD
Founder, Canadian Veterans Advocacy