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Friday, November 7, 2014

How Will You Remember? Rural Remembrance Day Ceremonies Mark Lives Lost!

Kawartha Lakes Remembrance Day Ceremonies 

Update: Millbrook Remembrance Day services added courtesy Scott McFadden.
 Omemee. Bethany and Millbrook will join many other small communities honouring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country with services Sunday, November 9th. Then on Tuesday November 11th, additional services will be held in larger centres like Lindsay, and Millbrook. On this Remembrance Day, will you do more than simply give two minutes of your day to silently thank those who paid the ultimate sacrifice? Could you give a few seconds more?

Also on Omemee Pigeon eFlyer:

Will you do something to actually help families who have lost loved ones, and help veterans whose lives will never be the same? Will you sign this petition?

Veterans Deserve Better!

image Omemee Pigeon Posted: Remembrance Day How will you Remember  Soldiers in green fatigues with Canadian shoulder patch
Remembrance Day 2014 How Will you Remember?
September 11, 2014 National Day of Service, we were shocked the statement by Prime Minister Harper on Canada's Day of Service, made no mention of those who paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan.
Omitting the service of Afghanistan Veterans from the National Day of Service Statement turned out to be just a tiny tip on the cold iceberg of injustice against injured veterans. Veterans are promised when they go to war, our country will take care of them if they die or are injured. This promise is not being honoured.
How so?

Veterans Dishonoured By Conservative Government

In the September 11, 2014 statement by Harper, the ultimate price paid by 158 Canadian Military personnel and the injuries and subsequent deaths of over 2,000 veterans who volunteered to serve in "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan was glaringly absent. This omission lead to an education in how the Harper Government, like the Liberal government before it, dishonours our veterans.
Afghanistan Veterans have filed a class action lawsuit against the Harper government for not honouring promises made to men and women injured while in service to our country. The Harper government is arguing "the Canadian government has no enshrined fiduciary, moral or social obligation to veterans". What???

Injured Veterans Compensated Less Than Industrial Accident Victims!

Did you know Afghanistan veterans receive less compensation for injuries than workers injured in industrial accidents?
This is how the Scott vs Canada lawsuit started - a father discovered his son was receiving less compensation for injuries than a logging accident victim would.
The key point of the class action law suit by Afghanistan Veterans is to repeal the "New Veterans Charter" which came into being in 2006.

Lump Sum Veterans Charter Payment Causing Further Injuries

The "New Veterans Charter", a lump sum payment system, shows a huge difference between the way injured Afghanistan veterans are compensated and Veterans of previous wars who fell under the Pension Act. Drafted by the Liberal Party, and put into place by the Conservatives,  injured veterans today, under the "New Veterans Charter" will receive a pittance compared to veterans from previous wars.  Veteran Michael Bryenton writes:
"The sad thing about this is that someone who rolled their ankle on the old system at the age of 25, receives a check for 300 dollars a month. If they live to be 75, they will have received 1, 800, 000.  Now if you take that same man who gets the lump sum for PTSD and divide that up over the same life time: 60000/50=12000 1200/12= 100 dollars a month. So the person with PTSD will receive 1200 a year, and the person with be perfect ankle now will get 3600. Do the math people"
Not only does the lump sum payment give injured Veterans less money, according to veterans, a lump sum payment, in many cases is a disservice to the individual for many reasons. Captain (retired) Medric Cousineau notes of the many veterans dealing with PTSD or addictions arising from results of injuries.
 "[A lump sum of cash] does nothing for the veteran, does nothing for the family, and it does nothing for society."
Even when a fiscally knowledgeable veteran spends their money wisely, circumstances can arise that leave them penniless. Barry Yhard Veterans Emergency Transition Service cited a case of a veteran being left with nothing after a marital break up. Flight Commander Barry Yhard suggests:
What would be good, and what would probably go a long way towards solving the problem of homelessness among our veterans, is to go back to a monthly payment versus a lump sum payment. That way, if something happens in the individual's life, he hasn't spent all his lump sum, and he actually has a monthly income coming in.
Sign this Petition ask Canada to Honour its Promise to Veterans
Did you know when Canadian Military suffer PTSD before 10 years of service, they are dismissed with no pension? Many military victims suffer alone in silence trying to make it to the 10 year mark, so they can be compensated for their injuries. Do they all make it? No.  Is this new? No.

Veterans Dishonoured By Liberal Government

Lest this treatment of veterans be taken as only one political party acting in bad faith towards veterans, Veteran Peter LeTourneau writes:
"I broke my back while on while in service of my country on a night DP....Years later I was having recurring back pain and trouble walking. OF course I was medically released as I was no longer deployable. I applied for a medical pension from [Veterans Affairs].I was refused and took 4+ years of fighting to get it...It was under John Chretien and the Liberals."
Veterans Affairs is being criticized for not supporting Veterans, but spending $4 million on propaganda, so when the group that is supposed to represent you fails where do you go? The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Group is one resource.

Canadian Veterans Advocacy Group Honours Veterans Will You?

Canadian Veterans Advocacy Group proposes that veterans should be given a choice of whether they het a lump sum payment, and if awarded a lump sum payment, it should also recognize the circumstances under which the injury was received.  CVA asks why is the leg of a reservist worth less than the leg of a regular force member when they are injured in the same incident? CVA proposes a harmonization and the option of choice, choice between a respect-driven lump sum award and the Pension Act. CVA proposes the award given to a permanently disabled veteran who lost their limbs, should be higher than an industrial accident victim. In addition, the loss and suffering of parents of unmarried injured children should not be ignored. Michael Blais states:
The compensation quotient of the lump sum award must reflect and respect the sacrifice borne. Surely we are obligated not only to the wounded but also, as provided in the Pension Act, yet denied in the NVC, to the spouses and the children who were here today, those whose lives have been catastrophically affected by their father's or mother's service-related physical and mental disability. 
CVA proposes, for those who wish to choose the option of the lump sum award, that a 100% disabled veteran be awarded a tax-free lump sum of $1.5 million; that there be a supplementary lump sum award for a wife in recognition of her sacrifice, of $250,000; and that there be a supplementary pension award for the children in recognition of their sacrifice, of $50,000 per child. Conversely, those who would prefer to embrace the Pension Act provisions would be free to do so for a modernized program that would harmonize the Pension Act provisions with the new Veterans Charter opportunities.
Canada Veterans Service is asking Canadians to tell Prime Minister Harper to Honour Canada's promise by signing a petition. Will you sign?
Sign this Petition ask Canada to Honour its Promise to Veterans  

9 -11 - 2011 Canada's Day of Service Recognizes Afghanistan Service

Three years ago, on September 11, 2011 - the 10th anniversary of the air strike against the United States, Prime Minister Harper declared September 11th would be Canada's Day of Service, a day to engage in charitable activities, for worthy causes across the country. Harper stated:
It is equally important to recall the incredible acts of courage, sacrifice and kindness by Canadians on and following that infamous day – acts like a community of 10,000 in Gander hosting several thousand diverted air passengers and treating them like part of their families; the selfless service of civilian and military volunteers who continue to stand up in the face of terrorism; and the outpouring of Canadian support in the aftermath of the attacks"
The following political cartoon from Canada Vets Advocacy Facebook Page foreshadows how vets were ignored by Harper September 9 2014. "May 9 Designated as Day to Honour Afghan Vets." The cartoon shows  a man with a brush cut wearing fatigues reading a paper. Harper proudly announcing"On that day, Canada will recognize those who fought,remember those who fell, and solute all those who contributes to this 10 - year mission." Out of the other side of Harpers mouth? "And on that day only!"The headlines in the paper? "Ottawa has No Obligation to Veterans Federal Lawyers Say" ; "New Charter Takes Away Vet Pensions"; "Suicidal Vets On Increase"
Political Cartoon depicting Harper Government treatment of Afghan service from Canada Veteran Advocacy
Cartoon From Canada Vets Advocacy Service FB Page:
May 9 Designated as Day to Honour Afghan Vets

9 - 11 - 2014 Afghanistan Service Ignored

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement on the anniversary of 9/11 and to mark Canada’s National Day of Service:
 “On September 11th, 2001, a group of terrorists targeting New York and the heart of the U.S.
Government silenced the futures of nearly 3,000 innocent citizens from the United States and around the world – including 24 Canadians.

 “To the people who mourn their loss most profoundly, the friends and families of the victims, Laureen and I offer our respect, our condolences and hope that you find comfort in the fact that Canadians remember that awful day and grieve with you.
 “A key lesson of 9/11 is to remain vigilant against terror groups and regimes that seek to establish safe havens such as the one which existed in Afghanistan prior to 2001, where the 9/11 perpetrators were allowed to thrive.
 “While 9/11 will forever be remembered for the senseless nature of the attacks, it is important to recall that in the midst of terror and destruction, there was also enormous compassion, giving, bravery, and generosity to eclipse that darkness.
 “There were waves of first responders who selflessly risked their lives in the aftermath of the attacks. There was the service of volunteers – military and civilian alike – and the generosity of many more who lent a hand as Good Samaritans. Canadians in Gander, Newfoundland, and a number of other communities hosted several thousand diverted air passengers, treating these stranded people like family and friends, inviting them into their community and into their homes.
 “It is in honour and celebration of these acts of kindness that Canada designated September 11th as our National Day of Service in 2011, a day in which charitable deeds, fundraisers and community service can act as an antithesis to the inhumane acts committed 13 years ago.
 “Canadians continue to step up in times of catastrophe and hardship – whether the front lines happen to be in their community, in this country, or somewhere else in the world – to contribute their time, energy and personal resources to improve the lives of those less fortunate. It is a cherished value that is at the very heart of what it means to be Canadian, a value that shows no signs of abating regardless of the challenge.” -
Sign this Petition ask Canada to Honour its Promise to Veterans
Apparently the value of Afghanistan military service provided is no longer cherished. With new strike action proposed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, we may see a change, yet. The Minister of Defence mentioned our troops in his statement at NORAD September 11th, at least he values the contributions of our troops.

Omemee Memorial Garden Honours Two Former Omemee Students

image Cpl. Mark Robert McLaren MMV
image Pte. Michael Bruce FreemanOmemee and District Horticultural Society and Canadian Legion Branch 497 honoured two former Lady Eaton Elementary School Students for their sacrifice and service of others in making the world a better place. Behind Omemee Legion, there stands a memorial garden dedicated to these two young men who died while deployed to Afghanistan.
The Memorial Garden was dedicated in a Service of Remembrance in honour of Cpl. Mark Robert McLaren MMV and Pte. Michael Bruce Freeman  Sunday,  September 25, 2011 and is tended by volunteers. If you would like to honour the memory of their service, perhaps you could stop for a minute on your way through the village and pay your respects.
Donations to organizations that help our veterans and grieving families of those who have served and are no longer with us, would also be appreciated.

[And yes, for those who are wondering, the Canadian Government still sends out press releases headed as "Harper Government". Today, I have obliged them the courtesy of being called by the name they choose.]

Rural Remembrance Day Ceremonies 

Here are the dates and times Remembrance Day Ceremonies will be held in communities throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes.: 
  • BETHANY: A service will be held on Sunday November 9 at 1:30pm at the Bethany Cenotaph.   
  • OMEMEE: On Sunday November 9th at 12:30pm, a parade will leave the Legion and make its way to Coronation Hall.
  • MILLBROOK Church service, Sunday, Nov. 9th, 10:30 am St. Thomas Anglican Church 
  • MILLBROOK Millbrook Cenotaph Service, Tuesday, Nov. 11th, 10:45 am
  • Other Kawartha Lakes Remembrance Day Ceremonies [on Kawartha Lakes Mums]
 If you are unable to attend the Remembrance Day Service in your area, please participate in the 2-minute “Wave of Silence” on Remembrance Day on November 11. Please stop for 2 minutes at 11:00 am to pay special tribute to the Canadian men and women who gave their lives in war to defend our country.
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