Lest we forget? Clearly we've forgotten, Rick Mercer says of Veterans Affairs cuts - Macleans.ca

Lest we forget? Clearly we’ve forgotten, Rick Mercer says of Veterans Affairs cuts


“Never done this before,” Rick Mercer said Friday night as he tweeted a link to “Lest We Forget” — an advanced viewing of a “rant” that will run during his Nov. 13 program.

The segment, which runs a little longer than a minute and a half, takes aim at the Conservative government and its treatment of veterans.

“As all Canadians know, there is nothing more moving than watching veterans of WW2 or Korea attend the Remembrance Day ceremony,” says Mercer, a long-time advocate for the Canadian Forces. “Those people have been there my entire life. But the truth is that as time marches on, Canada loses 500 veterans of WW2 every single week.”

Mercer criticizes the closure of Veteran Affairs offices across the country and makes light of the Government of Canada app that directs veterans — average age of 88 — to the closest Service Canada office. “If they want to make burial arrangements, they have to take a number behind some guy like me who’s waiting to get his passport renewed.”

Says Mercer: “I’m sorry, if you fought on the beach in Dieppe and survived, you should not have to spend any portion of your final days on this earth in a Service Canada office. And the fact that a majority of our MPs voted to send those who served on the front lines to the back of the line means ‘lest we forget’ is meaningless. Clearly, we’ve forgotten.”

From our archives:


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Lest we forget? Clearly we’ve forgotten, Rick Mercer says of Veterans Affairs cuts

  1. I
    was on duty with the Canadian Forces in 2009 when I received the H1N1
    shot (AREPANRIX by GSK GlaxoSmithKline) and had a severe adverse
    reaction resulting in PERMANENT neurological, cardiovascular,
    gastrointestinal, and respiratory symptoms: dizziness, vertigo,
    irregular heart rhythms, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and
    pain, and numbness in hands and feet. My physical fitness changed
    from special forces fit to that of a 70 year old in a matter of days.
    I advised the military doctors that my change in health occurred
    following the H1N1 vaccination and although they noted my concerns on
    8 different occasions, they did not investigate the link. Due to the
    severity of my symptoms I was unable to continue performing my duties
    and was released from the military. Following my release, the
    military determined I was disabled and altered my release record due
    to the severity of my symptoms. Two years later Alberta’s health
    officer in charge of the Immunization program for Alberta reviewed my
    medical history and verified I had an adverse reaction to the H1N1
    vaccine. I applied to Veterans Affairs for disability benefits and
    was denied on 3 separate occasions. Even though I was on duty
    training personnel when I received the vaccination, Veterans Affairs
    stated “There is no evidence that your barriers to reestablishment
    are related to your service time”. Regarding another application,
    a Veterans Affairs doctor reviewed my file and stated my condition
    was not related to service, ignored medical information from several
    of my doctors, altered the conclusion of one of my neurologists
    reports, and speculated that had the military determined my diagnosis
    was related to service there was no medical treatment that would
    relieve my symptoms. I forwarded this report to my neurologist who
    indicated the doctors conclusions were false and that he should have
    consulted a specialist who was familiar with my condition and
    symptoms. Veterans Affairs admitted the doctor had made errors, but
    refused to review the original application advising me to appeal the
    decision through an Administrative review which would take another 6
    – 8 months. Since I left the Canadian Forces 19 months ago I have
    been hospitalized on numerous occasions totalling 30 days. Spent
    more than $10,000 paying for medication and therapy to manage my
    symptoms. I am now unable to afford the specialized physiotherapy
    which costs thousands of dollars each year and am unable to work due
    to my disability.