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Precarious optimism for veterans

By Sean Bruyea      

This government has a chance to fix a small part of this and receive the praise of approximately 5,000 totally disabled and incapacitated veterans as well as thousands to follow. Incrementalism is demeaning for veterans who never hesitated to fulfill their obligation to Canada at a moment’s notice while in uniform.

The 95 per cent of VAC bureaucrats who never served in the military don’t get it. Former rank is everything, especially when it determines one’s professional and financial worth in a frustrating world of disability. All that holds many disabled veterans together is pride in one’s rank. This is a demotion in a veterans’ purpose-giving status. One would think that Veterans Affairs deputy minister and former top general Walt Natynczyk would get this, writes Sean Bruyea. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
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Cautious optimism has infected veterans and Canadians alike hoping that injured veterans’ lives will be made better under the current Liberal government. Even with the usual bureaucratic shenanigans underway, the budget announcements, if done right, justify limited hope. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr contains 15 priorities, each containing one or more promises. Of these, some are conceptual feel-good, but hard-to-measure pledges such as “Deliver a higher standard of service and care,

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