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]

Third Canadian killed in Ukraine

Grygorii Tsekhmistrenko, a retired Canadian Armed Forces combat medic, died while fighting Russian forces in eastern Ukraine January 15. He is the third Canadian volunteer killed in battle since the invasion began last February. [node:read-more:link]

Brain injuries under investigation

Military veteran Dennis Manuge, who led a successful class action against Veterans Affairs Canada over disability payments, continues to recover from injuries he suffered while in service. He now is promoting Project Enlist Canada, a partnership with concussion and brain researchers investigating brain degeneration in athletes as well as veterans who are asked to bequeath their brains to the project. [node:read-more:link]

Navy veteran fined for assault

A 24-year Royal Canadian Navy veteran who retired in 2017 has been reprimanded and fined $7,000 for repeatedly assaulting a 20-year-old female cadet aboard HMCS Oriole, the navy tall ship, in 2006. James R. Levesque, 59, who had pled not guilty to all charges, was found guilty last May of assault, sexual assault and uttering threats during a summer training voyage to Alaska from Victoria. [node:read-more:link]

Familiar faces in key U.S. committees

Republicans Mike Rogers of Alabama and Mike Bost of Illinois were confirmed January 10 as respective chairs of the House of Representatives’ armed services and veterans’ affairs committees. Both previously were the ranking members on those committees. [node:read-more:link]

Valcartier compensation deadline looms

January 15 is the deadline for current and former Canadian Armed forces personnel stationed in Valcartier, Quebec, between 1995 and 2000 to apply to join a class-action lawsuit over contaminated water supplies. Claimants are eligible for up to $1,000 for each month they lived at the base where trichloroethylene, a carcinogenic degreasing agent, had leaked into groundwater over several decades [node:read-more:link]

Veterans Affairs agent leaves department

A Veterans Affairs Canada service agent the department says was “responsible” for suggesting that former miliary personnel consider medical assistance in dying is “no longer an employee,” VA Minister Lawrence MacAulay’s office confirmed December 20. The agent had not been at work since four cases came to light last summer. [node:read-more:link]

Veterans Affairs under renewed pressure

Former military and RCMP personal are calling for changes to Veterans Affairs Canada, saying it has been too slow in implementing health service changes announced by the government years ago. “Benefits and services are accessible,” said one vet at a December 8 rally in Nova Scotia, suggesting also that privatization of some services in 2021 is part of the problem. “If you’re in the system already, it’s not hard,” Rollie Lawless said. “It’s those trying to get into the system that seems to be the hiccup.” [node:read-more:link]

Afghanistan vet wins PTSD appeal

A Nova Scotia veteran who served on the Canadian Armed Forces combat mission in Afghanistan has been awarded a full disability pension and other compensation for post-trauamatic stress disorder. His initial application in 2015 was rejected, evidently because he did not suffer physical injury during a 2007 roadside bomb attack that killed two other troopers, but that has been overturned by the Veterans Review & Appeal Board. [node:read-more:link]


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