Serendopeity

The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!

Tag Archives: politics

Veterans standing up for Colonel Stogran as he has stood up for us.

When I first heard aabout Pat’s contract not being renewed I was angry, very very angry. So much so that I started a letter to Prime Minister Harper which would have appeared here at serendopeity as “An Open Letter to…”

The letter has not been posted because I had to calm down and think rationally and logically instead of emotionally as I was thinking.  For those of you who know me, you know that when I get passionate about something I really do get upset and tend to say things that are more of a “personal” attack than what it really should be.  For example, my letter to Harper began…

“Dear Mr. Harper;

I know protocol would dictate that I address a letter to you as “The Rt. Honourable, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, however I find nothing honourable about you or your recent actions…” 

So, you can see why I had to slow down on the letter – additionally I was “warned” that perhaps I shouldn’t make it an open letter but rather send it along to Ottawa – sorry, again if you know me at all, you know that is not my style.

When the article below appeared on Facebook, with Mike’s request that it be passed along to media outlets by the members of the Facebook page, I decided to post it here as a guest post.

Please read the post and remember that our veterans are not only from WW1, WW2 and the Korean War.  Insomuch as we have not, as a country,  declared war on any other country since WW1, we are at war in Afghanistan, with veterans returning home constantly, facing the same issues that our older veterans face.

Thank you

Nancy

Guest Post by Mike Blais Rcr Cfds via Facebook.

 You can join the Facebook Group at Stand UP for Colonel Pat Stogran and for ALL CANADIAN veterans 

Veterans standing up for Colonel Stogran as he has stood up for us.

Last week, retired Colonel Pat Stogran, CO of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry battalion that led Canada’s deployment to Afghanistan, was informed by the Canadian government that his services as the Veterans Affairs Canada ombudsman would be no longer required. Veterans across the nation were appalled, fearing the important issues championed so vigilantly by Colonel Stogran would be ignored or delayed beneath the guise of Minister Blackburn’s claim of need for a new vision. I can assure all Canadians, there is nothing wrong with Colonel Stogran’s vision; the issues he has identified and condemned during his tenure are very, very real. Furthermore, during the past three years he has truly earned the trust of our veterans through action and word, a refreshing source of support for many who are living with the debilitating consequences of war and peace.

Many Canadians are unfamiliar with the hardships young and old veterans are confronting. I would like to clarify this situation with the sincere hope that once you understand how veterans are being mistreated, you might be inclined to support them at 1100 hours, November 6th, 2010 when we assemble in front of our MP’s offices to respectfully ask for support redressing five principle areas of concern.

The widow’s aka death benefit tax. Sadly, the families of the fallen, already deeply grieving the loss of loved ones are subject to a great deal of financial hardship through this unjust taxation policy. Veterans Affair Canada is not an insurance company and the pension/awards they provide are specifically for pain and suffering, not income replacement. We believe that the families of the fallen deserve the same standard and should be provided a tax exception on all VAC death benefits.

Lump Sum Award. Sadly, hundreds of Canada’s sons and daughters have sustained grievous wounds in action and/or suffer from a variety of service related physical and physiological issues. We have borne witness to the struggle of the armless, the legless, blind, deaf… hundreds of veterans are returning to Canada from Afghanistan with serious health problems. Financially, the New Veterans Charter is particularly deficient. I will demonstrate by comparing the two systems. Hypothetically, two veterans are severely wounded, age twenty-five, wife, child. One receives a lump sum payment of 276000 dollars. The other receives the standard before the New Veterans Charter implementation, roughly 3000 dollars a month. Both live to the age of 85. The new veteran receives 276000 dollars during this period, about 380 dollars a month. His colleague, on the pre New Veterans Charter, receives over TWO MILLION dollars and includes an additional supplement for his wife and each child till they reach the age of 18. This vast disparity, particularly when one considers the consequences of modern combat, is obscene.

Clawback of Veterans Affairs pension/Maritime Life SISIP program. Canadians might well imagine how difficult, if not impossible, it is for a soldier to find life insurance! We participate through a government-approved program administered by Maritime Life called the SISIP program. This is a standard LTD insurance policy that, if necessary, subsidizes soldiers other pensions to a percentage based on severity of injury. Prior to the New Veterans Charter, Maritime Life deducted the veterans VAC award from this payment even though it quite clearly states that the Veterans Affairs Canada pension is for pain and suffering and not to be considered income replacement. The New Veterans Charter rectified this injustice through legislation but inexplicably, not for all veterans. Today, 6500 airmen, sailors and soldiers continue to be adversely affected, a fact that is prejudicial and grotesquely unfair. We have all served this nation, there should be only one standard, inclusive of the financial considerations promised when we have Tread in Harms way on Canada’s behalf.

Reduction of service pension at age 65. Imagine, you served you entire career, dutifully paying into your pension fund only to discover that the government is arbitrarily going to reduce your service pension the moment you hit 65. This is fundamentally unfair, particularly in the sense that all governmental offices, only the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces are adversely affected by this financial hardship. We believe that this is a burden for veterans and Mounties; this discriminating policy must be repealed.

Agent Orange/PTSD. We respectfully request that a comprehensive program be implemented to assist those who were affected by Agent Orange chemicals at CFB Gagetown for many years. The current settlement covers only those affected over the course of one, even though it has been proven that hundreds, if not thousands of veterans through time may have been exposed. The consequences are fatal, cancers inherent with great discomfort and pain. Many veterans have already died. To deny responsibility and care for those suffering a terminal disease yet provide for others similarly affected, but only during the one-year period, is morally wrong. Post traumatic stress issues have also become an urgent issue as more and more of our veterans find it difficult coping with their wartime experiences after repatriation.

These are the facts and with these facts in mind, I would invite all Canadians to join veterans throughout Canada on the 6th of November 2010, at 1100 hours in front of your local MP’s office. We shall unite as brothers and sisters, sing O Canada, respectfully present our petition to our local parliamentarians and provide him/her an opportunity to address these issues in a public forum. Conservative, Liberal or NDP, it matters not, our veterans need the support of all parliamentarians if we are to change the Veterans Charter through legislation. Just as we, the veterans of Canada, need the support of all Canadians.

Stand up for veterans! Stand up for veterans as we have stood up for you.

Michael L Blais CD,
Niagara Falls Ontario

other media articles about this issue:

http://bit.ly/c3Q4qE Disabled soldiers angry over lump-sum payments (via Toronto Star)

http://bit.ly/bScUR7 It’s time to stand up for them (via Ottawa Citizen)

Day 6 – Time to head home :(

No sleeping in this morning, it is time to get the car packed and head north back to Canada.  I got all my stuff ready last night, it’s not as big a pile as Rick thought it would be LOL.  Hell, we have room for loads more, although I think that asking him to stop at WalMart or any other store would be pushing my luck at this point.

Since it is our last morning we are all going to a breakfast buffet at Mario’s, the same Mario’s that we had dinner at the first night we were here. If breakfast is as good as dinner was, Mario’s will become my new favourite place to eat in Lake George.  I am not sure, how much I will be able to eat.  Mornings are never a good time for me to eat, I don’t know if my throat shrinks at night or what but most mornings I have to wait an hour or two before I try anything other than maybe some grapefruit and of course my coffee.   ( I can not live without coffee!!!)

Packing the car was easy – and after we walked over to Mario’s.  Everyone must have had the same idea because there was a line of waiting people, but the hostess said it wouldn’t be that long so we decided to wait.  While waiting we were talking to some people from New Jersey.  Why is it that as soon as someone asks you where you are from and you say Ontario, the first thing they say back is “Oh we have been to Canada.”, like it was some big deal, life altering thing.  Crossing the border is not that difficult, nor is it a major deal.  I used to cross at Niagara Falls every couple of weeks just to grocery shop.  But I suppose that if you don’t live that close to the border, perhaps it is a bigger deal than I thought.  Living an hour from another country has always been where I live, except for a couple of years in Alberta.  Buffalo and Niagara Falls were a short drive away and even as kids were regularly crossed into the US.

We finally got a table for breakfast.  It was a great buffet.  Fresh fruit, eggs bennedict, muffins, danishes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, french toast, pancakes  and even an omlette station where the owner personally made your made-to-order omlette.  I tell ya, how is a girl to choose?

I went with the french toast and some fruit.  Of course coffee by the gallon – my morning just wouldn’t be the same without my java fix! Then I had some hash browns and eggs bennedict.  I know, I know, for someone who cannot eat, that seems like a lot of food, but it wasn’t really.  I only took 1/2 piece of french toast and a couple of pieces of watermelon.  A little bit of hash browns and the eggs bennedict – I only ate the ham and egg really LOL.  I could have done without the sauce even but they were already made…the eggs bennedict was the one thing that wasn’t up to par for Mario’s.  I would think that having them on a buffet table is a little to blame.  The eggs were hard cooked and not runny like they should have been.  All in all it was a very good breakfast and now I won’t have to eat till much later tonight.  Mario’s once again lived up to their reputation.  It is by far one of the places that I would highly recommend if you are in the Lake George area.  Overall the value for the money, the ambience of the restaurant itself, the helpful and very pleasant wait staff and the very delicious  food makes it one of the better establishments to visit.  I would go back in a minute.

So, with breakfast out of the way, the moment I was dreading since first arriving was upon us.  We said good bye to MaryJane and Adam in the parking lot, they were going to go on ahead and make a stop in Watertown, we were going to take our time and go the scenic route.

Before leaving the Manager of the motel Scott and his new bride Deidre came out to say good bye and take the famous “Wall of Shame” photo.  I had forgotten all about that and this time I GOT TO BE IN THE PIC.  LOL.  Every year at the end of  Bike Week, Scott takes a picture of the guests who were there at Lake Haven for Americade.  Apparently he has been doing this for years and when I first visited last fall there were 100’s of pics up on the wall of the office. This year when we checked in all the pics were gone!!!!  But not for long, instead of having them up on the wall there is now a digital frame that sits on the counter and runs through all the pictures.  The next time I am there I will now be in one of the pics too!!!!!  YEA!   I know, I get way too excited about such trivial things LOL.

Hugs all around and it was time to go!  I didn’t want to leave but I knew that we had too.  It would  be a short ride home, it always was coming back from vacation but it would be nice to see everyone and the dogs too.  I had taken all the pictures off my camera card before I left home but managed to sneak a couple in of the dogs before I left so I would be able to look at them while I was gone.  Ok, so I am a suck for the dogs LOL.

The big baby Bosco

The big baby Bosco

 

 

The little baby Maggie

The little baby Maggie

I think I slept for a while on the way home.  I know we stopped for coffee and doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts.  It would be my last cup of DD in the US. Luckily enough I bought a couple of bags of coffee to take home with me.  I really like DD coffee, even more so than Tim Horton’s coffee here.  And I have to say the jelly donuts at DD are real jelly donuts with so much jelly in them that I usually end up wearing some of it.  I have to find a supplier in the US who will send me bags of coffee at regular intervals LOL.

We got to the border, passports in hand and after answering the usual questions we were told to have a nice day and that was it.  We were back on Canadian soil, no problem.  No inspection of the car, no harrassment, nothing.  On a tangent – I was talking to someone when we were away and discussing the passport issue.  All people entering the US by car now must have a valid passport as ID.  This is not such a bad thing except Canadian Passports are one of the biggest rip offs going.  Our passports last for only 5 years, whereas everyone else in the world gets them for 10.  They are cost prohibative – $20+ for pictures, $87 for the document itself.  And the Canadian Government was actually very smart for a change on the passport issue.  When the US government first announced that passports would be needed to enter the US, even by Canadians, my government kinda sorta made a little fuss, but didn’t do a whole lot about it.  They did more talking than anything else with no real action at all.  But, they were smart in doing so – or not doing anything as it were – now anyone coming back into Canada had to have a passport.  No more fumbling for a birth cert and picture ID.   Canada Customs actually had a new and innovative way of identifying people without having the back lash from the public that they would have had it been their idea and not the US’s.  Way to go Canada, you are finally learning how to play the game LOLOLOL.

So that’s it folks.  The daily event calendar of the road trip of a lifetime.  I haven’t had a chance to sit down with Sue yet and tell her exactly what an awesome time I had or to thank her and Rick properly for taking me with them.  I can never put into words just how great a time I had, although I think they both know already.  I desperately needed the break and it was a most welcome break at that.  Hopefully I will get a chance to tell them soon.  I am off to Minneapolis and my cousin Kate’s and her new husband Al’s wedding reception on Thursday.  I have never been to Minneapolis so I am looking forward to it but most of all I am looking forward to seeing my relatives who I haven’t seen for a long time. 

Thank you for reading my adventure.  I hope it hasn’t bored you too much.  It was fun for me to write it, I got to relive everything all over again.  I haven’t done that with many trips – I tend to come home and they fade into the background but I will remember this one frequently.

Americade 2009 is one for the books now – I can hardly wait till next year.  June 7th – June 12th, Lake George, NY – BE THERE – I will !!!!

Updates…

For any of you that read this blog on a regular basis you know that I can be very “wordy” for days on end and then nothing for a while.  Sorry about that but sometimes life takes the fun out of well, life!  I can blather on about most subjects, and tend to at most times LOL.  But the last little while has been a bit difficult for me to muster up the energy required to sit down and have the discipline to do much more than answer email and play a couple of games before hitting my pilow at night.  After finally getting over the nasty stomach bug we all had I was hit with a upper respiratory infection of sorts.  Probably just the garden variety – but enough to set me back once again.  I will have the “type” confirmed later today at the Doctor’s but at least I am able to get out of bed and function for more than a couple of minutes at a time.  I am sure that I did not feel as bad the last week as I did when the chemo was killing me.  For a couple of days my sense of taste, smell and my balance was way off.  I couldn’t even smell the Vicks Vapo Rub that I was wearing and some of it was right under my nose LOL.  But that was then and this is now and it’s time for an update.

 

First off – Jean had her surgery yesterday and is home and resting as comfortable as can be expected.  She will not find out anything for at least 2 weeks when she returns for her post-op check up.  I would like to thank all of you who visited and took to heart what I had said and granted my request.  I am sure that it has helped and I look forward to reporting that all is well.

Landlord Man is here today and he is granting me access to the big living room.  He is most humble these days.  This morning he told me that he actually has to look for a job – he hasn’t worked in 15 years – Awwww muffin – welcome to the real world.  Sorry – I could almost feel sorry for him if he wasn’t such an ass.  He also told me that his wife has had to get a job – again….awwww. 

Mom and dad are doing ok.  The case worker was here last week and starting next week I will have some help.  Monday mornings for an hour, Wednesday all day when they go to a Day Program and then Friday afternoons will be covered so I can go out and get some stuff done.  I am looking forward to having some time off. 

We are back to BINGO on Thursday afternoons and both have their weekly groups to attend.  Mom is going to her’s this afternoon and Dad will be at his Thursday morning.  This Thursday we will be celebrating Ivy’s 83rd birthday complete with Cake and Ice Cream, Candles and presents.  No, not 83 candles – the fire dept is busy that afternoon so we will stick to one LOL.

Much has been written lately and the talk shows are having a field day about the Derogatory remarks made on a FOX broadcast about the Canadian Military.  Ya know what people, get over it – it was FOX and that says it all right there.  This is the same network that spawned (for lack of a better word) Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter.  Like I said – it’s FOX.  Consider the source and move on. There are some people who never, in a million years and with all the information available will think of Canada in any other terms than they do so you have choices.  Mute, change the channel, refuse to watch the network.  It is too late for apologies or retractions – what’s done is done.  There are more important things to worry about – like for instance -BRINGING HOME OUR TROOPS.  OK, nuff said.

Dancing with The Stars is once again proving to be some good TV in an otherwise lacklustre season.  My favourite is of course, the pairing of Tony and Melissa.  I really like Shaun too. She is just so cute and they make a cute little couple.  For 17 years old she is proving to be a contender. 

Bosco is Bosco and always will be.  He never changes except maybe when he steps on the scale LOLOLOL.  Its ok, he’s still my boy and I love him to death.  I amthinking about getting a cat too.  I miss Spooky and Bosco really loved having a playmate even if that playmate swiped at him for no good reason other than they were in the same space LOL.  There are always cats available for adoption at the Vet’s so we will see the next time I am there .

The sun is out but it is still in the minus numbers here but supposed to warm up over the next week.  Most of the snow is gone but there are still spots where the sun doesn’t hit that have some snow – like my front lawn but the coming rain will wash all that away and it will be srping. FINALLY!

Have a great week.

Nancy

When is ENOUGH ENOUGH?????

I am Canadian.  And today I saddened to say that.  Saddened because 4 more of my countrymen have been killed needlessly in a war that we have no business being in.  Oh wait, we are not at war with ANYONE.  WE ARE PEACEKEEPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And yet, I will again, go and stand on a bridge, waive my Canadian Flag and cry unashamed when the hearse’s carrying these HEROES drive by.  I will wave at the families and hope they know that although I did not kn0w their sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins that at least for one moment in time I could feel their pain and wish that it would end now.

Bring home our troops!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!  Let those who want to fight, fight, but leave us out of it.  Sorry Obama you dropped the ball on this one – you should be bring home your troops too.  Not over the course of a couple of years but NOW!!!!!!  Pull them out. 

Canada has lost 116 Canadian Soldiers on a PEACEKEEPING mission.  WHEN WILL ENOUGH BE ENOUGH?????????????????? In my opinion it’s about 116 too many.  Stop it now before it becomes 117 or more.

 

Four Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan Updated Fri. Mar. 20 2009 6:59 PM ET CTV.ca News Staff Four Canadian soldiers have been killed and another eight injured in Afghanistan in two separate improvised explosive attacks. The dead have been identified as: Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli, 28, Cpl. Tyler Crooks, 24, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, 20, and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes, 22. Vernelli and Crooks died in an early morning blast at about 6:45 a.m. local time while on foot patrol in the Zhari district west of Kandahar. Another five Canadian soldiers were injured in that attack and a local interpreter was killed. Bouthillier and Hayes were killed about two hours later when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb attack in the Shah Wali Kot district, about 20 kilometres northeast of Kandahar city. Three others were injured. All the deaths occurred as the Canadians were taking part in a major operation attacking Taliban command centres and supply lines. The operation was described as the largest joint Canadian-American military operation since Korea, CTV News’ Jennifer Madigan reported from Kandahar. All the wounded soldiers were evacuated by helicopter and are listed in stable condition. Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, the commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, urged Canadians in a statement to not consider the deaths a failure of any particular person or the mission. “Success in war is costly. We are determined to succeed so that Afghan lives improve, but the insurgents are equally determined to challenge and prevent Afghanistan from flourishing as the nation it so wants to be. Remember, the deaths of these superb Canadians occurred as Canadian Forces were bringing safety to those in peril. Today, they succeeded,” he said. Vance added that the soldiers died protecting the Afghan people. All of the soldiers were based out of CFB Petawawa. Madigan said the news of the deaths quickly spread around the Canadian base in Kandahar. “The mood was very somber, it was very quiet . . . people sitting around breakfast without saying a word,” she said. Vernelli was described as an experienced and well-respected soldier. He is survived by his spouse and six-month-old daughter. Madigan said that Vernelli’s tour of duty was postponed earlier so he could be home for his daughter’s birth and he was a “proud father.” Crooks was described as a keen soldier, an excellent athlete who “would do anything for you without even being asked.” Madigan said Crooks was very popular and often was seen sitting with much higher ranked officers. Both Vernelli and Crooks were of November Company, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. Bouthillier was known for his sense of humour, Vance said, and practiced martial arts. Hayes was a “proud and dedicated soldier . . . who stood up for what was right,” Vance said. Both Bouthillier and Hayes were of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Defence Minister Peter MacKay expressed his condolences Friday saying in a statement, “Their loss was not in vain and Canada and the Canadian Forces are committed to this UN-sanctioned, NATO-led mission.” The deaths bring the total number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 116.

Congratulations United States of America

Today I envy all citizens of the U.S.A.  They have a new President, one I am sure will make more history than he already has by being elected.  I am not so sure about his choice of Veep – I would have gone with Hilary, but that is just my opinion.

I love the fact that American voters get to vote for the Man himself, not the party behind him.  If that were the case here in Canada I truly believe our Parliament would look a whole lot better than it does. Our Senators would have to actually work for their $130K a year.  And we would not have the mess we call our government.

So my hat is off to all of you south of the border who helped make this a most historic day in my life.  You done good.

Nancy