If you are one of Canada’s Veterans you are probably familiar with dealing with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). Some of that experience will have been positive, some negative. The one thing that virtually all those experiences will have in common?
You sought out VAC, they didn’t come looking for you.
That’s how things are done, right?
Why is it done that way? Or, why is it always done that way?
VAC, and Veterans themselves, have no idea if their service in the military may have caused a chronic condition that will only crop up years later. Why is that? Well, VAC does not track the ongoing health of Veterans. Our ‘sacred obligation” is only served if you seek out service, then prove military linkage… AND if your condition fits one of the pre-defined cubby holes into which such things are stuffed by any bureaucracy.
Let’s suggest another course. One that serves Veterans, one that ensures that our sacred obligation is actually, not theoretically, met.
Each year, let VAC send out a medical questionnaire. Each former member would get that questionnaire and return it once complete. The data would allow VAC to match members by age, trade in the military, deployments and any number of other factors. It’s a simple task for a computer to then look for commonality, and to ring an alarm bell if an atypical percentage of members with certain commonalities develop similar illnesses.
VAC can then reach out, seek out Veterans that may be suffering from a service-induced condition. It would make the difference between speaking of sacred obligations, and fulfilling them.
There are other things that can be done to benefit all Veterans, not just those who fell, or received wounds.
Let’s look at some rough ideas:
- Free, or reduced cost access to National Parks, Museums and Cultural sites
- Tax breaks for businesses that support the CF One Appreciation Program
- Tax breaks for all Veterans
My first suggestion is obvious, to some degree or another every Veteran has earned the right to enjoy Canada, and all that it has to offer. Make that part of the pact between Canada and our Veterans. They paid, we pay back.
Tax breaks for supporters of CF One needn’t be large. Just enough to attract sponsors who need that final push. We aren’t trying to bribe folks, just attract their attention.
The tax break for all Veterans would likewise be small. Just a small amount so that every Veteran can feel the country is giving back, and every person filling out tax forms can see that no Veteran is left behind.
Canada has the ability to make the appreciation of Veterans concrete. That is how we cement the sacred obligation.