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Results: 1 - 15 of 117
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
Mr. Wilfert, I would encourage any and all input from this honourable committee in any studies you undertake. I agree with you that the priority has to remain the men and women in uniform, and the services provided to them.
I was proud this weekend to announce another of the joint personnel support units, which I know you're familiar with. They are really designed to bring together all of the various support services and programs available to the men and women in uniform, veterans, and their families, and make them more accessible, more readily available, and more easily understood, and to also increase things such as mental health care professionals. We still have a goal to double the number of mental health care professionals. This is particularly challenging, as you can appreciate, in certain remote areas where we have smaller Canadian Forces stations and bases. We want to try to have a standard of care that is available to all.
We've made significant investments in the care and treatment of grievously injured veterans as well. This remains a focal point of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but we naturally work very closely with the department.
I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you another initiative that we hope to have in place very soon. It is to allow for, and in fact encourage, the continued service of those who have been injured in combat and in the line of duty. I've undertaken quite extensive discussions with the assistant deputy of personnel, as well as the Chief of the Defence Staff and others.
I would share with committee members the very poignant and quite humbling experience of having seen two of our injured soldiers who have returned to Afghanistan with the Van Doos regiment. Both of them suffered very serious injuries, yet they are serving actively in Afghanistan. The Chief of the Defence Staff and Chief Warrant Officer of the Canadian Forces promoted them while they are serving in Afghanistan, just this past week. It was certainly a very emotional and morale-boosting experience for the troops present to see this happen, and to see the absolute courage and conviction of these soldiers to return to Afghanistan after having suffered grievous injuries there on previous tours.
We hope to institutionalize that, by the way, to make sure that members are encouraged and embraced, should they choose to stay in uniform after having suffered those injuries.
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Dr. Westwood, thank you very much for appearing today, and thank you for the work that you're doing.
My first question for you, sir, is this. You said that 20 years ago the federal government assisted you financially in a project you had done with war veterans--of World War II, I suspect. Have you or your organization in the last five or 10 years made a formal application for funding to the federal government--to the military, to Health Canada, or to Veterans Affairs--to assist you in your project? If you have, what was the response? If you haven't, why not?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Well, Dr. Westwood, I would just make a slight recommendation to you that you consider making an application to DVA just to see what their response would be in 2011. I can't answer for the government or the minister, but hopefully you might get a different response. one that would assist you in what you do.
Here in our papers it says that since 1997 approximately 200 soldiers and veterans have come looking to you for assistance. Yet we know there are thousands more out there who need help, there's no question about it, and for a variety of reasons they're not getting that help. So my other question for you is this: do you assist any RCMP veterans at all?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Do you assist anyone else, such as municipal police, firefighters, or anyone of that nature at all outside of the federal responsibility of veterans and RCMP?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
In your discussions with the soldiers, veterans, and RCMP members, do you invite or do you ask to invite certain family members to come in with the individual at the time?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Sir, my last question for you is on the comparison between regular force individuals who you assist and those who are reservists. I was wondering if you could break that down for us. In your work that you've been doing for the last 14 years in this regard, is it difficult for reservists to come forward or is it difficult to try to find them in order for them to seek out the assistance they may require?
Because along with that, here's what my question is leading to. Obviously when these soldiers are integrated into civilian society, they're working in other jobs and they feel like productive citizens. Do you work at all with any prospective employers out there who hire these soldiers and veterans to let them know certain things to watch out for in the event that their symptoms resurface in their new place of employment, in order to assist the new employer in what they may or may not encounter in the future?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Sir, thank you very much for coming today.
Do you also have allocations of research for members of the RCMP who have retired?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
In previous testimony, we heard that post-traumatic stress disorder can be transferred inadvertently to members of the family, either the spouse or the children. In the research allocations that are offered, do any of these researchers work with family members to perform some of the scopes and scannings of family members? Are you aware of that?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
One of the concerns I hear consistently in regard to post-traumatic stress disorder, or operational stress injury, has to do with the efforts of those suffering from PTSD to get assistance. Someone will go to a department for assistance, either a federal or provincial department, and they'll get the bureaucratic delay. They're told to get in line and that someone will get back to them.
This aggravates their condition, from what they tell me. When their spouses or their kids go off the rails because this person has dropped the baggage, it affects them all. When you left for your deployment, your family was quiet and routine, and everyone had a place. You come back and suddenly everything is helter-skelter.
You don't know what you're doing. Your family members don't recognize you anymore. We hear the saying, “This is not my husband anymore—he's not the same man who left”. Everything's in a topsy-turvy sort of turmoil. That compounds the situation even more. For people trying to assist the individual, it must be a real challenge to try to put everything in balance and in place again.
Dr. Westwood indicated that for the last five years he hasn't applied to DVA for funding. Are you aware of him? Would he be eligible to apply to CIHR for some type of funding?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
We know that other countries are doing research similar to this. Are there any cross-references between researchers here and researchers in the United States, Europe, and Australia? If so, it could constitute a cost saving.
Moreover, you don't want to keep spending money reinventing the wheel. And you want to develop best practices. We've heard that a soldier is a soldier is a soldier. Regardless of the uniform, their experiences may be equal. Is there any linkage from your organization to assist researchers in coordinating these efforts?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
I have a quick question, sir.
With regard to the cultural differences between the forties and fifties and now, you obviously see a lot more violence on television, in various games, and in the exposure people have to it. Is there any research you know of that is linking cultural differences between, say, what World War II and Korean veterans went through compared to what our modern-day veterans are going through in terms of just the atmosphere around us? The situations are completely different. It was more black and white. You saw the blue enemy over there, you were the red enemy, and you just fought. Now you don't know who the enemy is. It's quite different.
As Roméo Dallaire and others have testified before, it is a really difficult circumstance to ascertain what to do in a particular situation even though you've been given all the training. And the aspect of our cultural differences of what you witness.... The gentleman who wrote that book FOB DOC about his experiences as a medical officer at the front line--I believe he was from the Sudbury area--said that for relief the guys in the forward bases would play these very violent games on their Play Stations or whatever it is they have out there.
So here they are, patrolling in real life, shooting at people, and then, for relaxation, they shoot in simulation. Would you know of any research that shows a connection in that regard?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
I'm just throwing that out there, because I can't help but think.... I find it rather amusing in some ways--I don't know if that's the right word--that a guy who in the daytime goes out with a live C7 rifle, hunts down people, and maybe takes a shot at them, for relief goes back to his game station and does it in simulation. I just wonder if there's a connection in any way to what happens when they get out of the service.
View Greg Kerr Profile
CPC (NS)
View Greg Kerr Profile
2011-02-28 16:14
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Colonel Cohn, for joining us. We very much appreciate your input today.
We do hear of some similar challenges that we face. Regardless of where our armed forces are, there are some similar challenges.
I was interested in looking at combat versus non-combat. You've answered that aspect to an extent with the last question, so I'm not going to pursue that at the moment, except to ask you if you use peer support mechanisms, in the sense that you have those who have either been through the stress or have family members who have been through it. Do you make them available for your soldiers, particularly in your decompression terms as they come home? Do you use the peer support mechanism?
View Greg Kerr Profile
CPC (NS)
View Greg Kerr Profile
2011-02-28 16:17
Okay. I appreciate that.
We've had some additional challenges, particularly in this last year, but one of the questions we've been asked repeatedly--and there's quite a bit of work going on in Canada--is about a closer working relationship between our defence forces and the Veterans Affairs department people. In other words, there is the idea that with the transition from one to the other, the process starts earlier, so that Veterans Affairs is actually in contact within the department with soldiers long before they're actually going to transition out.
How does that work between your defence forces and your veterans affairs?
View Greg Kerr Profile
CPC (NS)
View Greg Kerr Profile
2011-02-28 16:48
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Actually, it's not a question. I just wanted to clarify a percentage that my friend Mr. André offered.
The department approves somewhere around 36,000 out of the 40,000 that come before the department each year, on average, and it's a small percentage of those that actually go to Federal Court through the appeal process that have problems, so it's actually in the high 80%-plus for those that are approved by the department.
I think you were that saying 60% of them were rejected. I just want to clarify that.
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