Month: January 2019

Invisible injury
Military Health Matters

Invisible injury

If a soldier’s moral conscience is damaged, the problem and the solution can both be hard to find   For almost a decade, Canadian Armed Forces reservist James (not his real name) has been haunted by memories from one of his three tours to Afghanistan—haunted by something he did not do.  An Afghan civilian reported to him that a member of the Taliban had set an improvised explosive device (IED) along a route travelled by patrols returning to base. The informant said he could see the terrorist lying in wait, ready to blow up the next military vehicle to come by. Although he was in radio contact with a Canadian convoy using that road, James had been ordered to pass such information only up through the chain of command, where it would be verified and orders issued. He was warne...
Ernie Verhulst (Part 2): Growing up fast in occupied Holland
Front Lines

Ernie Verhulst (Part 2): Growing up fast in occupied Holland

This is the second of two stories on Ernie Verhulst’s childhood in occupied Holland. To read part one, published on Jan. 23 click here. A wide-eyed boy when the occupation of the Netherlands started, Ernie Verhulst had witnessed widespread atrocities, death and destruction. The sound of streams of Allied bombers passing overhead on their way to targets in Germany—Americans by day; British and Canadians by night—had become so commonplace he rarely bothered to look up anymore. By the fourth year of Germany’s occupation, the Dutch youth’s Jewish neighbours had been hustled off to concentration camps, suspected resistance members had been shot, suicide victims floated down the Maas River and in this, the “Hunger Winter” of 1944, 20,000 Dutch would die of starvation. Indeed, Verhulst’s...
A Mountie is killed by the Mad Trapper
Military Milestones

A Mountie is killed by the Mad Trapper

On Jan. 30, 1932, Albert Johnson, known as the Mad Trapper of Rat River, sealed his fate by killing RCMP Constable Edgar Millen. Surly and unfriendly, Johnson built a cabin in the summer of 1931 at prime trapping grounds along the Rat River in the Northwest Territories—but he never got a licence to trap. When trapping season started, members of the Loucheux First Nation found someone interfering with their traps—and the only new person on the scene was Johnson. They complained to Millen at Fort McPherson, south of Inuvik. Millen sent out two investigators, who trekked a week to Johnson’s cabin. Met with surly resistance, the constables went to Aklavik for reinforcements and a search warrant. When the expanded party of four reached the cabin again on Dec. 31, 1931, Const. Alfred Ki...
Support given for research on first responders
News

Support given for research on first responders

Research into the health and well-being of military personnel and veterans will help in a 2019 national action plan on post-traumatic stress injuries among first responders and public-safety workers. There are linkages between mental-health issues that confront firefighters, police officers, para-medics, correctional officers, border personnel, emergency workers and serving military and veterans, said Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale in the opening speech at the 2018 Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) forum in Regina. Like military personnel, public-safety officers run into the teeth of a crisis, he said. “The gruesome realities they are called upon to witness take a heavy toll”—58 first responders committed suicide in 2017 alone. Yet research i...
Help is just a phone call away
Serving You

Help is just a phone call away

What is the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Assistance Service? The VAC Assistance Service is a counselling and referral service, available 24/7 through a toll-free number to veterans, former RCMP members, their families and caregivers. The VAC Assistance Service is a voluntary and confidential service delivered through a nationwide team of mental-health professionals. When you phone, you will speak to a mental-health professional who will ask you questions to determine your needs and your location, and then match you up with a local mental-health professional for face-to-face counselling. There is no cost for the services provided. What types of counselling are available? The VAC Assistance Service can provide up to 20 sessions of counselling in a number of areas, including work-rela...
Veterans benefit from correction and settled lawsuit
News

Veterans benefit from correction and settled lawsuit

As much as $265 million will be put in veterans’ pockets as the federal government rectifies an accounting error and settles a class-action lawsuit over benefits clawbacks. The accounting error between 2003 and 2010, uncovered by the veterans ombudsman, stinted veterans and RCMP retirees of indexation increases to their disability pensions. The adjustments did not take into account a change to provincial tax credits. About 270,000 veterans, RCMP retirees, survivors and estates are affected. “We will ensure those affected receive the compensation to which they are entitled,” said then Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan. The error has been fixed and affected veterans, or their estates, will receive retroactive compensation ranging from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars...

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