Memorial project problematic

The federal government has postponed the unveiling of a $7.5-million Victims of Communism monument in Ottawa after it was pointed out that it did not include, among other things, a key Korean War battle involving Canadian troops. [node:read-more:link]

Homes for Heroes

A $4-million project opened in Edmonton two years ago with provincial, city and private sponsorship is giving homeless military veterans a fresh start, setting them up to return to the workforce or school. Taking its cue from a program started in Calgary in 2019, the Homes for Heroes Foundation now is planning similar ventures in Manitoba and Ontario. “Every day I come into work knowing we're helping veterans who want the help,” says caseworker Michael Schneider. “There's honour in that.” [node:read-more:link]

Saskatchewan protects poppies

Minutes after the government introduced draft legislation today, the Saskatchewan legislature unanimously approved Bill 139 to prevent employers from banning commemorative poppies in the workplace. “Veterans current and past have fought for our freedom and peace,” Labour Relations & Workplace Safety Minister Don McMorris said. The measure was in response to complaints by workers in the public and private sectors [node:read-more:link]

Silver Cross Mother chosen

Gloria Hooper of St. Claude in southern Manitoba, whose son Chris Holopina died in July 1996 while on duty with Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, is this year’s Silver Cross Mother. Chosen by the Royal Canadian Legion, she will represent all mothers who have lost a son or daughter when she lays a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Remembrance Day. [node:read-more:link]

Afghanistan memorial controversial

Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has defended the government’s decision to use an online poll rather than rely on an “expert” panel to choose the design of the proposed national Afghanistan war memorial in Ottawa. Defending the decision before a parliamentary committee October 31, she said the majority of the 12,000 respondents, half of whom had served in Afghanistan or were otherwise associated with the combat mission, preferred the design by a member of an Alberta First Nation [node:read-more:link]

Poppy season in bloom

The Royal Canadian Legion has launched the 2023 Poppy Campaign ahead of Remembrance Day with the annual tradition of giving the Governor General the first poppy. On receiving her poppy on the weekend, Mary Simon, who also is the CAF’s Commander-in-Chief, called it a “a signal that we will listen to the stories of veterans, reflect on their service, and carry their stories with us, wherever we go." [node:read-more:link]

Vimy Memorial vandalized

That the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France, which bears the names of thousands of Canadian troops who died in the First World War, was vandalized with graffiti earlier this week. “I was appalled,” Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said August 16, condemning “all reprehensible acts of vandalism against cenotaphs, war memorials and other landmarks built to remember and honour the sacrifices made by Canadians in the name of peace.” [node:read-more:link]

More Canadians killed in Ukraine

Two former Canadian Armed Forces veterans have been reported killed by Russian artillery fire while defending the besieged Ukrainian city of Bakhmut last week. Identified as Cole Zelenco, 21, from St. Catharines and Kyle Porter, 27, of Calgary, they are believed to be the fourth and fifth Canadian volunteers killed since the war began [node:read-more:link]

Australian charged with war crime

A 41-year-old Australian special forces veteran was remanded in custody today on a murder charge resulting from the alleged death of a civilian while deployed to Afghanistan. The first of its kind in Australia, the arrest follows a four-year inquiry which resulted in recommendations that 19 operators be investigated over 36 alleged war crimes between 2005 and 2016 [node:read-more:link]

Veterans Ombud at Maritime town halls

Veterans Ombud, retired Colonel Nishika Jardine, will be in Nova Scotia the week of March 20 to meet with the Veterans community. The visit includes town halls in Liverpool on March 22, and Dartmouth on March 23, as well as meetings with a broad range of stakeholders in the Halifax Regional Municipality. [node:read-more:link]

Privatized vets’ care challenged

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees want the government to tear up a contract which has privatized veterans’ health services. Partners in Canadian Veterans Rehabilitation Services, a joint venture between Loblaws-owned Lifemark Health Group in Toronto and WCG International Consultants in Victoria was awarded the $570-million contract last year. “This was a poorly thought-out plan that only benefits the contractors and its owners,” UVAW President Virginia Vaillancourt said March 2. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign war memorials upkeep costs

Canada’s budget for maintaining 15 overseas war memorials, some nearly 100 years old, is $11.7 million over six years. Veterans Affairs Minister Laurence MacAuley said February 17 that most of the money is spent in France on the Vimy Memorial and the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Navy drops the ball

Some 4,000 serving and retired military personnel and their families, temporarily relocated from their base homes in Hawaii last year after a U.S. Navy fuel storage tank leak contaminated their drinking water, are being taxed on the Defense Department compensation. They received a notice that the funds were deemed “other income” subject to state and federal taxes. [node:read-more:link]

Commissionaires short of staffing targets

The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, which gets more than $100 million in annual sole-source government contracts to provide security at a range of government facilities, is supposed to have 60 per cent of its contracted hours worked by military veterans. However Paul Guindon, CEO of Ottawa branch, confirmed to a parliamentary committee that only some 38 per cent of hours worked were done by veterans. [node:read-more:link]


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