Not any more

CBC News – Politics – Sacked ombudsman ‘angry’ over vets’ treatment

In Canada on August 17, 2010 at 14:38

Pat Stogran is shown near Kandahar in April 2002 when he was the commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and before he was appointed the veterans ombudsman. Stogran reacted Tuesday to the news that he won't be reappointed for a second term, criticizing the government's treatment of veterans.Pat Stogran is shown near Kandahar in April 2002 when he was the commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and before he was appointed the veterans ombudsman. Stogran reacted Tuesday to the news that he won’t be reappointed for a second term, criticizing the government’s treatment of veterans. (Stephen Thorne/Canadian Press)Canada’s outgoing ombudsman for veterans expressed his fury Tuesday over the federal government’s treatment of servicemen and women and the thwarting of his work by an obstructive bureaucracy.

Pat Stogran said at a news conference in Ottawa that he was not going to comment on the Conservative government’s decision not to appoint him to a second term.

Stogran said it’s the “government’s prerogative” and that he will leave it to the government to defend its decision.

But Stogran did say that as ombudsman, he was “impeded by bureacracy that was deliberately obstructive and deceptive.”

Stogran said he is speaking out now in order to highlight how badly many veterans are treated and to ask Canadians to stand up for them.

The ombudsman acts as the voice of veterans and their families, helping them access support services and benefits and fielding complaints.

Stogran was notified early last week that his appointment will not be renewed, according to federal government sources. Word of his anticipated removal leaked late Friday.

Leading up to the news conference, Stogran sent messages on Twitter, hinting at what was to come.

“Press conference today. It’s hard for me not to get angry when I think how our vets are being treated!” Stogran said via Twitter on Tuesday morning.

He also quoted a Karate master, saying: “Strike … [at] the moment of being struck, kill at the moment of being killed.”

In an earlier message, Stogran said his preparation for the news conference felt “like my military days when on parade day.”

“Polished my shoes last night, ironed my clothes today,” he wrote. “I march on @1400 hours!”

Joins list of departed watchdogs

Stogran met with Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn over the weekend, but has refused to comment about the outcome of their discussion. A spokeswoman for the minister also declined to comment.

Never one to mince words, Stogran’s criticism of the federal bureaucracy’s treatment of injured soldiers and policies, such as the replacement of pensions with lump-sum payments and disability stipends, has grown more harsh.

He’s said Veterans Affairs has adopted a “penny-pinching, insurance-company mentality” toward its clients.

Liberal MP Marc Garneau said Stogran should be praised, not let go, for doing his job and making sure Canada’s veterans are treated properly.

Garneau told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday that Stogran joins a long list of arms-length advocates — including former military police complaints commissioner Peter Tinsley and ex-RCMP watchdog Paul Kennedy — who were “sacked because they are telling the government the truth, instead of parroting.”

Blackburn sparked the ire of veterans’ groups and opposition critics in recent weeks by suggesting that the department he heads will get smaller as more Second World War vets, the department’s biggest client base, die.

via cbc.ca

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: