Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

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Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

Post by Wolfman on Mon 12 Feb 2018, 11:09 am

Protest comes after PM says some veteran groups are asking for more than Canada can give

By Marc-André Cossette, CBC News Posted: Feb 12, 2018 7:30 AM ET


Trevor Sanderson has been camping since Friday beneath the walkway connecting the East and West Memorial Buildings on Wellington Street. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

Two former Canadian soldiers have set up camp beneath the veterans memorial buildings in downtown Ottawa, hoping to draw attention to their frustration with the federal government's treatment of veterans.

Trevor Sanderson and Dick Groot arrived in Ottawa Friday after driving from Winnipeg.

Since then, they've spent their days and nights in the tents they've erected at the corner of Wellington and Lyon streets, near the East and West Memorial Buildings.

Braving the cold temperatures and blowing snow, they plan to camp out until Thursday, when a larger protest calling for improvements to veterans' services is scheduled to take place on Parliament Hill.

Sanderson said he hopes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hear and respond to the group's grievances.

"We're not asking for a lot," he said. "We're only asking to feel normal again."

'Broken' system


Sanderson said he has lived with PTSD for close to 25 years, tracing it back to a training exercise from his time with Princess Patricia's Light Canadian Infantry at CFB Calgary.

He described a normal day as waking up with his body hurting, not knowing whether he would endure an anxiety attack and not being able to enjoy being with his family and friends.


Trevor Sanderson, a former soldier with the Canadian Armed Forces, drove to Ottawa from Winnipeg to demand better services for veterans. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

Like Sanderson, Groot said he also has PTSD, first triggered by a training exercise during his service as a reservist in Saskatoon.

"We want to go back to being human," he said.

Groot describes his experience with the veteran benefits system as frightful. He says he felt totally abandoned by the country he set out to serve.

"When I did go to the system, everything went crazy," he said, describing wait times and a crippling lack of treatment options.

"It failed utterly."

'More than we are able to give'


Sanderson and Groot both said they were angered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments during a town hall meeting in Edmonton earlier this month.

"Why are we still fighting certain veteran groups in court? Because they're asking for more than we are able to give right now," Trudeau said, answering a question from a veteran, who said he lost his leg to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.


Former reservist Dick Groot says he's still dealing with the PTSD he developed 30 years ago during a training exercise in Saskatoon. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

Colin Saunders, a veteran of the Bosnian war, said the prime minister's comments only inflamed dissent among the country's current and former soldiers. He is frustrated by what he describes as a "broken system."

In response, Saunders organized Thursday's rally on Parliament Hill, hoping to spur the government to reconsider its recent changes to veterans' benefits.

Compensation system overhauled


In December, the Liberal government launched an overhaul of the system that compensates wounded ex-soldiers, pouring an extra $3.6 billion into veterans' benefits.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan said that not everyone will receive the same level of compensation. He also said the government is also committed to providing improved rehabilitative services to get able veterans back to work.

But those investments are cold comfort to Saunders, who says the new system does not treat all soldiers equally.

"The reality is — veterans aren't seeing that money," he said.


Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan announced changes to veterans' pensions in December in 2017 that allow former soldiers to choose between a lump sum or monthly payments for life. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Instead, Saunders said, the new compensation regime prioritizes critically injured veterans, leaving soldiers with less serious injuries with fewer resources and options.

"It's one thing to say that we're providing more services to our veterans, but they're making it really hard for veterans to get that care," Saunders said.

"If our government can't take care of our veterans, where does that leave us?"

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/veterans-ottawa-protest-camp-trudeau-1.4531043

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Re: Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

Post by Wolfman on Mon 12 Feb 2018, 11:16 am



Canada: Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa, to protest with demand for better services
India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 12 Feb 2018


Ottawa, Feb 12 (IBNS): Former Canadian soldiers have camped out in Ottawa and is also scheduled to stage a protest against the federal government's ill-treatment of the veterans, media reports said.

Trevor Sanderson and Dick Groot flew down from Winnipeg on Friday and erected a camp outside the veterans memorial buildings in downtown Ottawa.

The veterans are trying to draw attentions of the government.

The former soldiers will continue the protest until Thursday, when a large protest will take place on the Parliament Hill.

Sanderson feels Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hear their grievances.

"We're not asking for a lot. We're only asking to feel normal again" Sanderson told CBC News.

Groot said: "We want to go back to being human."

"When I did go to the system, everything went crazy" he told CBC News.

Early this month, Trudeau had faced tough questions during a public interaction in Edmonton where a former soldier had vented out his anger against the federal government.

A former soldier, who had lost a leg in Afghanistan, vented out his anger against the federal government's changes in pensions of the disabled people.

"I was prepared to be killed in action. What I wasn’t prepared for, Mr. Prime Minister, is Canada turning its back on me" Brock Blaszczyk said.

Trudeau, keeping his cool, said the soldier's frustration and anger are justifiable.

Defending his government, Trudeau said the shift has changed from lump payments to long term benefits.

"We have significantly invested in services, rehabilitation support, investments in training and support for caregivers and families" Trudeau was quoted by Toronto Star.

"Why are we still fighting against certain veteran’s groups in court? Because they are asking for more than we are able to give right now,” the PM added.

https://indiablooms.com/world-details/USN/14504/canada-former-soldiers-camp-out-in-ottawa-to-protest-with-demand-for-better-services.html
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Re: Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

Post by JAFO on Mon 12 Feb 2018, 12:31 pm

Just making a point....nothing else....nothing implied

There is two vets in tents in Ottawa. Last time there was a tent in Ottawa it was for an Indigenous gathering/protest and Trudeau put on his jean jacket and went in for a visit and talk.

Think he will do the same with either of these veterans?
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Re: Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

Post by vet1 on Mon 12 Feb 2018, 2:45 pm

Thanks guys for doing that. I wish I was anywhere close to Ottawa.
Of course there is no $$ for veterans. With the 'new care' package it will be: jump through the hoops when we tell you (VAC) and, as Shames said, money will go to getting new workers for VAC that will be needed to implement that 'care package'. New computer programs, new offices, probably new buildings for VAC. Sweet deal for ... VAC and *ack the veterans.

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Re: Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

Post by Trooper on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 6:53 am

Dick Groot added 3 new photos.
February 11 at 11:49am · Ottawa, ON








My first night in Ottawa, and amazing support from the Ottawa Police service and an opportunity to reconnect with a few RCMP. Thank you for your service. Today Groot is recalling a memory of his mother saying " ohh you don't understand, it's a wet cold". Hmmm whoda thought mom was correct! Happy to be warm at night :-)

It's quite an honor to be able to participate in the gathering on the 15 th. With Trevor Sanderson Kim and Joe.
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Re: Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

Post by Wolfman on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 12:29 pm

Frustration over PTSD services has vets camping by Parliament

By: Dylan Robertson
Posted: 02/13/2018



Dick Groot (left) and Trevor Sanderson of Winnipeg speak with a passerby in downtown Ottawa Monday.

OTTAWA — A Winnipeg veteran is camping steps from the parliamentary precinct, to spread the word about long-standing problems with federal programs for former soldiers.

"I’m tired of people talking and not doing, so I thought I’m going to put up, instead of shutting up," said Trevor Sanderson, who says he trained with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

He arrived Friday from Winnipeg and set up two tents in the archway that connects the Memorial buildings in Ottawa, across from the Supreme Court.

With friends, he’s spending a week outside, building momentum ahead of a Thursday march where veterans will decry problems accessing federal services.

Sanderson said he’s suffered panic and anxiety attacks for years due to PTSD, as well as physical pains, as a result of the intense training he received 25 years ago at CFB Calgary.

"It’s not money that veterans are looking for; it’s services," Sanderson said Monday, as locals braved sidewalks covered by the weekend’s frozen rain, and braced for a -19 C evening.

Sanderson said he got a payout in December, but spent two decades not knowing he qualified for it. He said veterans struggle to get information on services available to them, and then face wait lists, a problem that has persisted through multiple governments.

To him, the government needs to better fund hospitals, community centres and mental-health counsellors "instead of trying to place a Band-Aid on a festering wound."

As Sanderson talks, his smartphone vibrates with messages from former and active veterans, sharing their frustration with accessing support for mental illness. He gives multiple interviews to try breaking stigma around mental health and to let veterans know what services exist.

Sanderson made the trek to Ottawa with two Winnipeg friends and Dick Groot of North Bay, Ont., whom he met through a grassroots veterans’ support retreat.

Groot says the training he received in Saskatchewan prepared him for winter conditions, but not for mental anguish and towering bureaucracy.

"It’s crazy; it’s insane and it has to change," said Groot, who only recently left a two-year period of homelessness.

"I guess I’m used to a tent," he quipped.

The two have been livid with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, based on how he responded this month to criticism about veterans’ lawsuits over a reformed compensation system. The reforms lowered payouts in many cases, and administered them on a monthly basis, instead of a lump sum.

The government claims the drop is meant to account for federal services and that those who are the most injured receive higher payments.

At a town hall in Edmonton, Trudeau said Ottawa was fighting court cases with veterans groups because they are "asking for more than we are able to give right now."

His comments played a big part in convincing Sanderson to drive to Ottawa with a yellow tent and a green tent.

The encampment has caught the eye of multiple passersby — and Parliament. A Conservative MP mentioned them Monday in question period.

The Liberals have claimed their new "pension for life" program will leave veterans with less paperwork and better stability.

Sanderson said he’s dubious about the new program, because he’s heard from few veterans who were actually consulted about the changes. He previously camped out in downtown Ottawa last fall.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/frustration-over-ptsd-serviceshas-vets-camping-by-parliament-473881583.html









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Re: Former soldiers camp out in Ottawa to demand respect, better services

Post by Trooper on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 8:25 pm



‎Ken Proude‎ to CA Vets - Left in the Cold. *protest

Feb 13, 2018 - Ottawa Ontario


Visited the guys camping out downtown brought them coffee,
soup, socks, mitts, lip balm, toques and some hand warmers.
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