Federal government unprepared for influx of wounded soldiers - Macleans.ca

Federal government unprepared for influx of wounded soldiers

Veterans Affairs minister admits his department is scrambling to meet demand


Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn has admitted that his department wasn’t prepared for the large numbers of wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan and is now scrambling to meet their new demands. The department was born to meet the needs of veterans from previous conflicts, he said, and was ill-equipped for the influx of soldiers suffering the scars of Canada’s current war. “This department was functioning with traditional veterans. With the Afghanistan situation, this department was not ready,” Blackburn said. “Now we are doing those changes to be sure that our new modern veteran will obtain all the services that they should obtain.” As such, Blackburn says he will introduce a “second chapter” to the charter as early as next week, which includes a package of improvements meant to address these complaints. The changes will include guaranteeing financial support for wounded veterans during their rehabilitation. For example, all wounded veterans will now be guaranteed a minimum annual income of about $40,000, instead of 75 per cent of their salary. More veterans will also be allowed to tap into a permanent monthly allowance for seriously wounded veterans, worth between $536 and $1,609. More than 3,500 veterans are expected to be eligible for this allowance over the next five years. These changes mean that most seriously wounded soldiers in Afghanistan will be guaranteed a minimum yearly income of $58,000.

Toronto Star

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Federal government unprepared for influx of wounded soldiers

  1. The Conservatives have repeatedly said in the Commons that they are the party for our veterans, while the opposition were questioning their support for our troops and veterans.

  2. Nice to see latest pictures of Blackburn with his 'remember' ance poppy.

  3. We have had soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan for how many years now and they are just now realizing they have a problem ?? Heads need to roll, including the minister in charge . Don,t these bunglers think ther will be any injuries during conflict, not everybody gets killed.

  4. The Prime Minister , Minister Blackburn and the new ombudsman have made comments on what appears to be a ‘desparate’ situation at Veterans Affairs as highligted by the Sean Bruyea and the suicide of Stuart Langridge (brought forward by his mother Mrs. Sheila Fynes). These comments were all made this week and by the content and tone of these comments it does not bode well for ultimately the Veterans whom this Conservative government has made out as the champions of the veterans interests.

  5. What?!! Wounded veterans!!! This can' t be!!! But it is. Not even the Bible tells us what to do about wounded veterans once they return home from war, so how can you expect Mr. Blackburn to pull a solution from up his sleeve? Then there's the nature of their injuries. It seems that the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have more closed head injuries than ever before. And there's post-traumatic stress: a female veteran could shake her baby to death for no apparent reason. There's nothing that we clutch to our bosoms so tightly as the madness of war, but at least we have army hospitals. Remember that next time you sniff your poppy.

  6. I hope they will not forget to have rehabilitation programs ready for soldiers who are suffering from mental and emotional ravages of war.