Veterans' coalition announces boycott of government photo-ops
A newly formed coalition of veterans’ groups says it will boycott all government photo-ops and participation in news releases until Ottawa improves its treatment of veterans.
Six groups, including Veterans of Canada and Canadians for Accountability, have formed the Canada Coalition for Veterans, which is seeking “much-needed improvements in how veterans, injured serving members and their families are treated and supported.”
At a news conference in Ottawa Thursday, advocate Sean Bruyea said veterans have been “widely and comprehensively ignored by this government.”
The coalition cited inadequate health and retirement benefits for injured soldiers and those dealing with mental health issues, the closure of Veterans Affairs’ offices across Canada and lack of government support for veterans’ families.
Bruyea, an outspoken Gulf War veteran who sued the government after his medical files were leaked, said members of the new coalition group will boycott all government photo-ops and refuse to be quoted in press releases until Ottawa improves its “inefficient” and “discriminatory” policies.
Michael Blais, the president and founder of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said the boycott is just the beginning.
“We plan on stepping it up and using every democratic tool in our arsenal during the election period,” he told CTV’s Power Play Thursday.
Blais said the Canada Coalition for Veterans wants to ensure that “Canadians understand that our veterans are being treated – especially our modern veterans – with a standard that does not reflect the sacred obligation that this nation owes to those who have sacrificed so much.”
Don Leonardo, another advocate whose group, Veterans of Canada, is part of the coalition, said the upcoming Remembrance Day is a “perfect opportunity” for the government to reconsider its treatment of veterans and “tell us how you’ll take care of us.”