Corporal who testified won’t suffer ramifications, says MacKay
Defence Minister Peter MacKay says an Afghan war veteran who told CTV News he was warned not to testify about his struggle for health benefits “will suffer no ramifications from his testimony.”
Vancouver-native Cpl. Glen Kirkland, who was ambushed by the Taliban in the Zhari district of Afghanistan five years ago, spoke about his long recovery at a Parliamentary committee on Wednesday.
Kirkland said he had been ordered not to speak out about his fears he’ll have no pension when he’s discharged, or be given adequate assistance for covering his medical bills for a long list of injuries.
“I was expecting to be treated like a human being, but unlike a human I was given no compassion,” said Kirkland, whose post-traumatic stress disorder is so severe he has been unable to visit his home in Vancouver for years.
Kirkland’s testimony was brought up in the House of Commons on Thursday by New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer.
“This prime minister owes Mr. Kirkland and all those other veterans out there an apology for that type of treatment,” he said.
MacKay said Kirkland will be looked after.
“He will receive every and all benefits to which he is entitled,” he said.
“I will go further and commit to him and his family, that he will suffer no ramifications for his testimony.”
Kirkland said he has mixed feelings from the response of his testimony.
“I wasn’t doing this for myself,” he told CTV News. “I want to know what’s going to happen with other people who are in the same shoes as me.”
One of them is Cpl. Daniel Chapeski.
His hearing was damaged in Afghanistan, but the Department of National Defence won’t pay for his treatment.
“They denied it because I didn’t have one specific incident that I could draw from with a loud bang, whether it be small arms fire, pyrotechnics” or otherwise, he said.
With a report by CTV’s Richard Madan in Ottawa