Le­gion pres­i­dent de­cries clo­sure of dis­trict of­fices

The Compass - - LETTER TO THE EDITOR -

As pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion New­found­land and Labrador Pro­vin­cial Com­mand, I hereby call upon the Gov­ern­ment of Canada, through the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Canada (VAC), to im­me­di­ately can­cel the de­ci­sion to close the eight dis­trict Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Of­fices. This, of course, in­cludes the one in Cor­ner Brook.

Fur­ther, on be­half of the more than 4,000 mem­bers of our Com­mand, and on be­half of vet­er­ans and their de­pen­dents, I also ask that VAC im­me­di­ately move to­wards ini­ti­at­ing an ef­fec­tive con­sul­ta­tive process, whereby key stake­hold­ers are given the op­por­tu­nity to have di­rect de­ci­sion-mak­ing in­put into ap­pro­pri­ate, eq­ui­table, fair and timely ser­vice de­liv­ery for our vet­er­ans and their de­pen­dents in re­la­tion­ship to this mat­ter.

In our opin­ion, as stead­fast ad­vo­cates for our vet­er­ans, the RCL can­not stand silently by and watch the un­prece­dented ero­sion of ser­vice de­liv­ery for the men and women who have given out­stand­ing ser­vice to the peo­ple of Canada and the world.

Th­ese proud vet­er­ans of Canada un­selfishly placed their lives and per­sonal safety in dan­ger, so as to en­sure that peo­ple can live their lives in a plu­ral­is­tic lib­eral demo­cratic so­ci­ety, where free­dom and safety are para­mount.

In our opin­ion, in an en­vi­ron­ment where sui­cides of vet­er­ans have sud­denly in­creased, and where the av­er­age age of Sec­ond World War and Korean War vet­er­ans is within the late 70s, 80s and 90s, and where cases of post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der/oc­cu­pa­tional stress in­juries have sky­rock­eted, we firmly and sin­cerely be­lieve that now is not the time to have cut­backs to vet­eran ser­vice de­liv­ery, by clos­ing Vet­eran Af­fairs dis­trict of­fices.

It is not our in­ten­tion to get in­volved in a fin­ger-point­ing ex­er­cise with any stake­holder, but it is our sole mis­sion to have this crit­i­cal is­sue ef­fec­tively dealt with in a timely fash­ion, through mean­ing­ful con­sul­ta­tion, so as to en­sure no neg­a­tive ef­fect or ex­tra stress is placed upon our vet­er­ans or their de­pen­dents.

They have enough chal­lenges to deal with as it is.

We also sin­cerely be­lieve that the clos­ing of the re­spec­tive of­fices will place un­due hard­ship on our vet­er­ans and their de­pen­dents in re­la­tion to ser­vice de­liv­ery.

In clos­ing, on be­half of all our vet­er­ans and their de­pen­dents, as we rapidly move to­wards com­mem­o­rat­ing the cen­te­nary of the First World War, I ask for the strong sup­port of all of our Cana­dian cit­i­zens, which cer­tainly in­cludes all lev­els of gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity groups. — Ross Pet­ten is pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion in New­found­land and Labrador. He is a res­i­dent of Port de Grave.

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