Health

MILITARY HEALTH MATTERS: Checking on your buddies
Military Health Matters

MILITARY HEALTH MATTERS: Checking on your buddies

When this column was written, the world was still in lockdown, practising social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine. Who knows when social distancing can end, or whether we’ll be in and out of lockdown a number of times as the virus peaks and wanes and peaks again. These measures are tough enough on those who are physically and mentally hale and healthy, but they can be even harder on vulnerable veterans and add to the pressures on their families and caregivers. Isolation leads to loneliness, which can lead to major depression, which is implicated in the development of a host of health effects including increased risks of heart attack, insomnia, increased pain sensitivity, weakened immune system and suicidal thoughts and behaviour. “No one stands on a roof and says, ‘I’m lonely...
Dominion convention and other events rescheduled
COVID-19, News

Dominion convention and other events rescheduled

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Dominion Convention has been rescheduled to Aug. 12-19, 2021, at the TCU Place convention centre in Saskatoon. All other arrangements will be the same as planned. The following convention will be in 2024 in order to resume dominion conventions in even-numbered years. Senior elected officers of Dominion Command will retain their offices until the convention. Provincial commands will make their own decisions about their conventions scheduled in 2021. National Headquarters has released $3 million in emergency funds to help struggling branches. Branches should contact their provincial command if they have need. Dominion Executive Council made the unprecedented decision to release the money from the Legion’s reserves in order to provide non-refundabl...
Weathering the storm
COVID-19, Editorial

Weathering the storm

"Within the Legion, I have witnessed and learned of countless heartfelt initiatives to help our veterans and communities weather this storm.” With those words, Tom Irvine, President of the Royal Canadian Legion, captured the essence of the generosity and camaraderie that runs through Canada’s military and veteran community, particularly in these troubled times. Branches across the country have been shuttered since mid-March, and many face dire financial strain without their income from functions and fundraising, their savings being depleted to pay bills. Some, already on the precipice due to declining memberships, likely won’t survive this blow. (Dominion Executive Council has created a $3-million support fund for struggling branches.) But that hasn’t kept members from doing good wor...
Face to Face: Should Canada’s military be restructured to increase its response to health crises  and natural disasters?
COVID-19, Face to Face

Face to Face: Should Canada’s military be restructured to increase its response to health crises and natural disasters?

ERNIE REGEHR is senior fellow with The Simons Foundation of Vancouver and co-founder of Project Ploughshares. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces declared it was ready to mobilize up to 24,000 troops to “assist with humanitarian support, wellness checks, natural disaster responses and other tasks as required.” By mid-April, Canadian Rangers were assisting pandemic response efforts in Northern Quebec communities and CAF medical teams were deploying to alleviate staffing shortages in long-term care centres. Manitoba floods, Toronto snowstorms, eastern ice storms, western forest fires, Northern Ontario drinking water emergencies—all these have involved military mobilizations in support of civilian authorities. The 1991 renewal of the Canada-U.S. Norad agreement a...
Second World War veterans on the frontlines, again
COVID-19, Front Lines

Second World War veterans on the frontlines, again

Margaret McDonald served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, but no homecoming could match the reception she received on her 102nd birthday. Surrounded by colourful signs and balloons, the centenarian sat outside her residence in Vancouver’s west end on April 28, watching fire crews and mounted members of the city police horse unit parade past while dozens of neighbours and friends cheered her on—at a safe distance from each other. Daughter Catherine Houston said her mother, a lifelong horse lover, has enjoyed watching the mounted horsemen patrol past her home for years. The unit, based nearby, organized the party. “These guys, the horses, the mounted unit, have been amazing to her,” said Houston, embracing her mother in her wheelchair. “They’ve b...
Social Distance
COVID-19, Front Lines

Social Distance

At the time this is being written, the world as we know it has changed dramatically. In many ways, it resembles wartime mobilization (except most of us have been instructed to stay home). And as in wartime, much uncertainty exists. The exponential spread of the coronavirus—COVID-19—has affected every part of society—including Canada’s military and veteran community, of course. By the time you read this in May, many measures will have been implemented to slow the spread of this highly infectious disease. First identified in China in December 2019, it is essentially a lung infection that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome. Common symptoms include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. The fatality rate is estimated at 3.4 per cent per number of diagnosed cases (lower when unre...