Veteran demands apology from VAC

Mitch MacDonald
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

The Veterans Affairs Canada building in Charlottetown. File photo

Fabien Melanson says he is willing to die on a hunger strike on Charlottetown to protest what he alleges was a mistake made by Veterans Affairs Canada which has cost him his home and nearly his life.

The 15-year Canadian veteran is beginning a hunger strike in front of the VAC headquarters today to bring attention to his case.

“They (Veterans Affairs) killed me in 2004 with their mistake and now all I have is the energy to bring myself here and give them my remains,” he said. “That’s all that’s left of me. I’m willing to die for this.”

Melanson is demanding an apology and adequate compensation for an error made by VAC in 2004.

Melanson saw his benefits deposited into someone else’s bank account in Sept. 2004. Despite repeated contact with VAC, his situation continued for months, eventually costing him his house.

The situation worsened when the stress of dealing with VAC brought back his post tramautic stress disorder, a condition which resulted in his discharge from the armed forces.

"I'm willing to die for this." Canadian veteran Fabien Melanson

Melanson later attempted suicide in Dec. 2004.

By the time the issue with the bank account number was solved in Jan. 2005, Melanson said his health had severely deteriorated.

While he has visited the VAC building numerous times since 2005, as well as contacting the department through phone and email, Melanson says he’s never received an apology or compensation.

This is the first time he’s protested in front of the building and while the hunger strike doesn’t officially begin until today, Melanson stopped eating at 12 a.m. Saturday.

Melanson will have fasted 57 and a half hours, limiting himself to only water, when he arrives at VAC headquarters this morning.

 

 

Organizations: Veterans Affairs Canada

Geographic location: Charlottetown

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • In Constant appeal
    June 14, 2011 - 13:50

    My heart goes out to Fabien Melanson if this kind of mistake had been made in Revenue Canada they would have ceased the account it went too and coreccted it. Where is the support for Fabien Melanson from the Ombudsmans office? Ever since Pat Strogran was ousted they have fallen silent in their support for veterans. I have case before the the Appeal Board after the Review Board disregarded all doctors reports and decided they new better, I do not expect that the Appeal Board will find in my favor as this is their mandate, deny claims until the vet gives up but if I lose my appeal and with help offered by the Canadian Legion VA will see me in court. I erg all veterans who have had claims, reviews and appeals denied to keep on fighting. Don't give in to these appointed members on the boards. They are not there for your best interest and as Pat Strogran said "This insurance company culture of denial must be eraticated.

  • Artybrat
    June 12, 2011 - 10:49

    Ive just gone over all of the posts one more time...Im at a loss to understand the lack of compassion by so many writing in...the issue at hand is validation...the money, although critical in of itself, is secondary...the men and women of our CF are due respect from us all and should not have to fight, beg or starve for what is their well earned entitlement. I know first hand of how out of touch many of those working at VAC can be....my father was a 'lifer' who died as a direct result of service related injuries and treatment...he never got all that was coming to him and neither has his widow who is still fighting for VIP coverage at over 80 yrs of age...I advocated for numerous siblings fighting for pensions and benefits...one in particular a severe care of physical and psychological injury after multiple tours...after going through years of fighting for his benefits, we finally got everything sorted and now a few years later, he's back to fighting for benefits because someone unflagged his file!...so to those unbelievers, our soldiers who have been to hell and back have in many cases a bigger war to fight here at home than on the battlefield...on the battlefield, your buddy has your six. Re the other side of the coin...there are many concientious and compassionate people who work at VAC who try their best to afford our vets every consideration and benefit they can for them....things have become somewhat better in that regard for what is considered an everyday claim....but much more can and needs to be done.....we have many ill and injured vets returning daily that are in jeopardy....we have reservists who arent being recognised and full serving members...we have peacekeepers from prior to the new charter hanging on by a thread....and we have families suffering in silence and desperation. For me, when I drive by and stop to give encouragement to any vet protesting for what they believe, I see the backbone and courage they brought to the fore everytime they put on that uniform...to condemn or downgrade any one of them for standing up and saying what they want to strips away the honour of what they fought for and what we as Canadians tell the world is worth fighting for...Freedom / Freedom of Speech...Lest We Forget!

  • Angry Soldier
    June 07, 2011 - 13:13

    Thanks for all the feed back it is exactly what I was hoping for. I do feel sympathy for Fabien Melanson who is suffering from PTSD and have many good friends that deal with serve PTSD daily. I just wanted the whole storey to be told not just part. Yes it is bad when clerical errors happen and I agree a person should get what is owed to them no more or no less. Hopefully the person who made the error has been reprimanded and maybe that person should apologize to Fabien? As a tax payer I would not want to pay someone extra money every time a clerical error was made in any government department as that would be unfair I don't think your bank would give you more money if they made an error. I would hope that VAC took steps to prevent this from happening again but we all make mistakes. My view on VAC is good because those Veterans that I have spoke with have in the most part had a good out come from VAC. I do hope that Fabien gets an apology and maybe this will bring to light the steps that must be taken to correct an error and changes will be made. To Fabien you deserve ever bit of the disability pension you receive and I thank you for your service as I thank all my brethren for there service.

    • another unhappy vet
      June 07, 2011 - 15:34

      "Hopefully the person who made the error has been reprimanded and maybe that person should apologize to Fabien?" Again, as per my last response to you Mr Heckbert, what colour is the sky in your world? I know that people have mistakenly called you a clerk that works for VAC, but you actually from your description, work for a JPSU/IPSC, so I don't know if you are really a clerk or not. I am. Or, I should say was. And even as a clerk, can tell you that most are not held accountable for their errors. How many clerks have you ever heard of, who were disciplined for screwing up a member's pay? None. And to think that another government worker would be disciplined for the same is laughable. Oh, and, btw, I am fighting with VAC currently for not even a pension, but a one time lump sum payment, for the condition that I have been released from the military for. The same condition, for which I was just released from the hospital today from my 2nd surgery, which that surgery has left me semi-paralyzed in one limb, hopefully temporarily. The first surgery left me with nerve damage in my face and head. How happy do you think I am, seeing as VAC denied my claim, even though I provided them with all the necessary paperwork and witness statements? Not very.... you want to talk to an angry soldier? I'll show you an unhappy vet...

    • Richard MacDonald
      Richard MacDonald
      June 08, 2011 - 10:06

      I'm currently being helped by PO1 Heckbert at VAC and he's doing a terrific job. I'm not sure who was not doing their job for Fabian back in 2004 but all i know is that todays staff has been nothing but great. Keep up the good work.

    • John Labelle
      June 11, 2011 - 19:45

      Veterans Affair is broken! Again we find another Veteran frustrated by the lack of support he has received from Veterans Affair of Canada. Mr. Fabian Melanson is now starving himself for an apology and fair compensation. Mr. Steve Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affair, it doesn't take rocket science to resolve this issue. Within 24 Hours a phone call should have been made to the bank by an accounting staff of Veterans Affairs to verify Melanson's claim. Once verified that his pension funds did not go into his bank account action should have been taken to correct the situation. The account section could have then continued with their investigation. Minister of Veterans Affairs, admit that an error was committeed, apology and pay the Veteran a fair compensation and let's move on. It is difficult to understand the lack of fairness and respect toward disabled Veterans. The last Veterans Ombudsman, clearly stated that Veterans Affairs was broken and we know what happen to him. Wake up Minister of Veterans Affairs! Resolve this issue quickly and then take action to terminate the lump sum payment to disable Veterans. Restore the dignity to Veterans! They have served their Country with Honour! Sincerely, John Labelle Veteran (Trust the Lord! Serve the People!)

  • J.
    June 07, 2011 - 09:35

    It's about time the VAC hire some veterans on board in their bureaucracy. Some compassionate people that understand what the Vets have been through would help the department. Perhaps then, 'humane' delays could be reached. When vets finish their tours and careers, the government should give them a good support system where all the benefits and services they should have access to be made available in a clear and concise manner. Instead, today they just throw them back into civil society without providing them with the right tools, and many can't cope. They are trained psychologically and mentally for combat, and therefore have a difficult time adjusting back into society. This is more than just a financial cry for help. This is a systemic problem.The government has failed many soldiers. Mr. Melanson is a victim when in 2004, thinking that he was an honored soldier, was duped by the VAC. What a slap in the face after serving your country. Yes, he got compensation after a long delay, enough to drive a wounded soldier to try to commit suicide. Basically, the government has been psychologically abusive towards the Vets. After 3 days and 17hours, they are still continuing this vicious cycle of abuse. It's a us vs. them mentality instead of honoring our vets for their services. The VAC needs to be reorganized into a more efficient and responsive department. Long overdue if you ask me.

  • Military Spouse
    June 07, 2011 - 07:07

    Thank you for clearing up "some" of the truth in this story. It was horrifying to think that a Canadian Soldier was left destitute & lost his home. I was able to find out the truth with little to no effort. Google is an amazing tool... All the information is out there if you look hard enough.

    • Military Spouse
      June 07, 2011 - 08:35

      Unfortunately the truth didn't make it to today's On-line Guardian & was buried on Page 3. Oh well maybe people will use the internet to find out the truth about this story.

    • Military Spouse
      June 07, 2011 - 08:54

      Unfortunately the truth didn't make it to today's On-line Guardian & was buried on Page 3. Oh well maybe people will use the internet to find out the truth about this story. He didn't loose his home, the contractor he hired destroyed his home & took the furnace, in my opinion the bad guy in this story is the contractor (criminal charges should be laid) & the person how knowingly took a Veterans Pension that he didn't earn or deserve. I think an apology should go out to VAC on the front page of the Guardian. There only mistake in this instance is that they deposited money into an account that was given to them by Mr. Melanson. They had no way of knowing that this was not his bank account until January 2005 when Mr Melanson contacted VAC with his correct banking information & within 24 hours they had given him full payment. Hopefully the Contractor will he held accountable for destroying your home & not understanding what you were going through. & hopefully you will finally find peace in this horrible situation.

  • John Gay
    June 07, 2011 - 00:23

    As a disabled veteran, I support Fabien Melanson in his fight with Veterans Affairs Canada. I have first hand knowledge of the Red Tape and Hurdles veterans face with their applications for disability pensions / awards. Following my medical release from the army in 1985, I had to struggle and fight with VAC for every single percentage of disability.For the last 25 years, I have been helping veterans, young and old, with their applications and appeals. Nothing has changed over the years ,most times, 1st applications are denied and the majority of injured veterans feel that going in front of an appeal board of appointed political supporters rather than experienced military/RCMP veterans is an insult and they feel they have to be humble and beg for their rights. Throughout my years as a veterans pension advocate, I have rarely seen a veteran given the benefit of the doubt. Denie,denie, and maybe the veteran will give up. Well I don't give up, rather, I ease the load on the veteran and I help with completing forms, writing letters etc. I hope that Fabien does not give up. My associate and I will continue to try and help him through this battle for his rights. Mr. Melanson is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I believe this war with Veterans Affairs is only exacerbating his mental state. I would like to encourage Fabien to cease his hunger strike and give my firm a chance to seek results for him through VAC. Call me Fabien at 506 779-9808

  • Tobias Gregson
    June 06, 2011 - 19:10

    Well Markdmc, you are totally wrong. It may not be on the CBC website, I don't know I have not checked, but CBC interviewed the guy this afternoon and he said he lost his house. Why would The Guardian print what the CBC says while ignoring what Melanson says? So are you are saying the CBC is right and The Guardian and Melanson himself are wrong. Me thinks you just might be a VAC employee trying to put a spin on the story,

    • Not sure what to believe.... I think it's all BS.
      June 06, 2011 - 19:36

      Why is CBC wrong?? CBC's article is more in line with the other information out there on this story. Mr Melanson never lost his home. He is looking for restitution to get his house fixed, he was at the time a serving member in the Canadian Forces, he incorrectly supplied VAC with his banking information. I don't know about his bank but mine will not or would not discuss my banking information with my employer.

    • Wayne
      June 06, 2011 - 20:56

      This is a massage for Mr. Tim Tomkin. You Sir, live in a dream world. What you dont understand is the men and women of the Great Wars suffered in silence. If they spoke out like these Veterans today they would be looked down on and locked up in a Mental Hospital, given shock treatment. The differences between the Veterans then and today is called Science and Education. Which you dont have. You need to go out and help Veterans and their families to understand their way of life. I think you would rethink your word of whiners. I have study and talked to many Veterans for the passed thirty five years. They are by no means whiners, just Veterans with physical and mental illnesses. Please walk in their boots before making any statements.

    • No lost house
      June 07, 2011 - 06:26

      Tobias, maybe you should read the CBC article before commenting and making assumptions about it. The CBC article quotes Mr Melanson as saying he wants VAC to bring back his home as it was in 2004. It also states Mr Melanson wants the compensation to repair his house. Pretty sure he wouldn't be able to repair his house if he no longer had it. Sounds like him saying he lost his house is just a way for him to say his house isn't exactly the way he wants it. Not being able to complete renovations is quite different from losing your house. Seems to me this guy is just blowing things way out of proportion as most people do when they've been wronged. Yes, VAC made a mistake. They've paid him the money that went to the wrong account. What more are they supposed to do? I hope you folks realize that if he gets any more compensation, it's coming out of your tax dollars. If VAC starts giving away compensation for all mistakes, you can kiss all the regular services goodbye because there'll be no money left for it.

  • Military Spouse and a Vet
    June 06, 2011 - 17:46

    To Military Spouse Comments, “There is No Story” are you serious? Every story about our military and its veterans is a relevant story. I too am a veteran and a military spouse, I’ve been getting the run around by VAC since 2004 and there are 100’s more like me who have been treated the same. Yes, our cases are old, that’s no excuse to be ignored and disrespected. We suffer from injuries sustained within Canada and as yet have not been fairly compensated. It’s the brave actions of veterans like Fabien Melanson that will hopefully avoid there ever being a story in 2019 of “2 Canadian soldiers who are fighting for compensation from VAC because of injury’s from a training accident when a Navy sub hit bottom off Vancouver in 2011”. I am extremely proud of my husband’s commitment to the military and support him 100%, as he supports me.

  • Angry Soldier
    June 06, 2011 - 17:45

    In my current position I work with ill and injured veterans daily and Fabien Melanson and his hunger strike hit me hard but not with sympathy but with anger. I think Fabien Melanson should be ashamed of his hunger strike against Veteran Affairs, I believe he has skewed the facts about his plight against Veteran Affairs and him being destitute. He says he was left destitute from not receiving his disability pension for 4 months I found this odd and did a little internet searching. I discovered that Mr Melanson did not release from the Canadian Forces until sometime in 2005 so for the months he says he was destitute Oct 04 to Jan 05 he was receiving a wage from the Canadian Forces. If he was at the rank of Corporal (which is the lowest rank you could be after 15 years service) he would have been receiving $4202 per month far from destitute. If a Canadian Forces member is released after 15 years service medically their monthly income is equal to 70% of their wage which comes from the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and Long Term Disability which is approx $2900 per month for a retired Corporal again far from destitute. Given the information I have found on the internet Mr. Melanson could have approached his Chain of Command if was having financial difficult and the Canadian Forces would have been there to support him. I do understand that PTSD effects every person differently again though Mr. Melanson could have sought help through Canadian Forces Mental Health. To conclude I do not believe Mr. Melanson is destitute or was destitute I saw him sitting in front of the Veteran Affairs with his new Harley Davidson something a destitute man could not afford. I believe Mr. Melanson has received everything he was entitled to from Veteran Affairs and Veteran Affairs did everything they could to get to the bottom of this problem. There are several articles on Mr. Melanson and his plight and life all over the internet take some time and Google it you will be surprised. To Mr. Melanson your work with Veterans UN/NATO Canada Motorcycle group and the Atlantic Red Ride is very commendable you should concentrate your efforts on those organizations and not the self serving hungry strike you are on. If you truly stand behind these organization stand up and stop your hunger strike as all Canadian Veterans would benefit more from your work with those organization as only you may benefit from this. Tom Heckbert

    • J.
      June 06, 2011 - 19:22

      So, you are making the calculations ANGRY SOLDIER...Like a true bureaucrat. It's not just about compensation. It's about the VAC postponing decisions...prolonged waiting that is damaging, psychologically. So, he has a new Harley. He still went through some heavy psychological hardships since his money got transferred accidentally into another account. He should be rightfully compensated for the psychological distress he went through while WAITING. It's enough to have been through war, on top of it he gets the run around by the government. It should teach the government to be more prompt in responding and rectifying their mistakes.

    • Graham
      June 07, 2011 - 10:03

      Well well a clerk with an attitude ... and this poor guy is complaing that someone was incompetent and couldnt get the cheques in the right account ... hmmm put two and two together ... btw pers are already signed for this year ... give it up ...

  • A Vet and a Spouse
    June 06, 2011 - 17:33

    To Military Spouse Comments, “There is No Story” are you serious? Every story about our military and its veterans is a relevant story. I too am a veteran and a military spouse, I’ve been getting the run around by VAC since 2004 and there are 100’s more like me who have been treated the same. Yes, our cases are old, that’s no excuse to be ignored and disrespected. We suffer from injuries sustained within Canada and as yet have not been fairly compensated. It’s the brave actions of veterans like Fabien Melanson that will hopefully avoid there ever being a story in 2019 of “2 Canadian soldiers who are fighting for compensation from VAC because of injury’s from a training accident when a Navy sub hit bottom off Vancouver in 2011”. I am extremely proud of my husband’s commitment to the military and support him 100%, as he supports me. This military spouse thinks Mr. Melanson is front page news.

  • Brenda Hulan
    June 06, 2011 - 17:30

    To Military Spouse Comments, “There is No Story” are you serious? Every story about our military and its veterans is a relevant story. I too am a veteran and a military spouse, I’ve been getting the run around by VAC since 2004 and there are 100’s more like me who have been treated the same. Yes, our cases are old, that’s no excuse to be ignored and disrespected. We suffer from injuries sustained within Canada and as yet have not been fairly compensated. It’s the brave actions of veterans like Fabien Melanson that will hopefully avoid there ever being a story in 2019 of “2 Canadian soldiers who are fighting for compensation from VAC because of injury’s from a training accident when a Navy sub hit bottom off Vancouver in 2011”. I am extremely proud of my husband’s commitment to the military and support him 100%, as he supports me. This military spouse thinks Mr. Melanson is front page news.

  • Markdmc
    June 06, 2011 - 17:11

    According to the CBC article Mr Melanson never lost his house. I wish the Guardian would report the full story.

  • Jorden
    June 06, 2011 - 16:38

    I am telling you right now VAC, you better get your crap together right now if you want people to respect your service. Guess it's too bad, the only one that can do anything is the government and to think they would care... It's an ethical issue because he was denied a right as a veteran which caused him to lose some neccessities, but it also caused him great psychological stress. This is also a complicated issue because due to his PTSD people may not take him seriously or assume his extreme action against the VAC as mere delusion. Which is not so. Yes it is extreme, but he gave the reason why he is doing it. He attempted suicide people. He almost snuffed out his own life; almost gave up on living because the world forgot how to treat our brave soldiers, our beacon of hope. And to deny him his own beacon of hope, to deny him the opportunity to re-establish his life, is a huge and red-handing injustice.

  • tim tonkin
    June 06, 2011 - 15:37

    It must have been hell of a war this guy was in to make him a 15 year veteran . Just because someone is in the armed forces for 15 years dose not make him a 15 year veteran. My god if all the veterans from the first and second world wars were the whiners these guys are now we would have been speaking German now.

    • J.
      June 06, 2011 - 17:25

      The Vets from WWI and WWII were compensated adequately. That's why they are not "whining."

    • CJ
      June 06, 2011 - 18:11

      Re: tim tonkin - June 6, 2011 at 17:10:16 Correction to your comment, but he is a 15 year veteran, war or no war, peacekeeping through to conventional ops, he is a veteran. Veteran definition is a soldier, sailor, airman/woman having completed their recruit, basic and trades training and having spent one year in service, or less depending on the circumstances of incurred injuries and/or wounds. This definition is applicable throughout NATO and most countries not a NATO member. Something close to this definition was aplicable to all veterans of WWI. WWII and Korea, whether they deployed overseas or remained in Canada for the duration of the respective conflict. I served 26 years in the Canadian Army (LF) and I never fought in a war, but some how I received three wounds from various ops, including deployment to Sarajevo, Bosnia for 13 months. I was forced to take a medical release because of those wounds; retirement from my profession about a decade before I wanted. Guess what? I am a vet. I would suggest to you, Tim, that perhaps you do a little more research before making off-hand comments as you have done here. For starters, I recommend that you read www.VeteranVoice.info at least on a weekly basis so as to be able to provide an informed comment later. CJ

    • CJ
      June 06, 2011 - 18:14

      Re: tim tonkin - June 6, 2011 at 17:10:16 Correction to your comment, but he is a 15 year veteran, war or no war, peacekeeping through to conventional ops, he is a veteran. Veteran definition is a soldier, sailor, airman/woman having completed their recruit, basic and trades training and having spent one year in service, or less depending on the circumstances of incurred injuries and/or wounds. This definition is applicable throughout NATO and most countries not a NATO member. Something close to this definition was aplicable to all veterans of WWI. WWII and Korea, whether they deployed overseas or remained in Canada for the duration of the respective conflict. I served 26 years in the Canadian Army (LF) and I never fought in a war, but some how I received three wounds from various ops, including deployment to Sarajevo, Bosnia for 13 months. I was forced to take a medical release because of those wounds; retirement from my profession about a decade before I wanted. Guess what? I am a vet. I would suggest to you, Tim, that perhaps you do a little more research before making off-hand comments as you have done here. For starters, I recommend that you read www.VeteranVoice.info at least on a weekly basis so as to be able to provide an informed comment later. CJ

    • beyond frustrated
      June 07, 2011 - 22:55

      @Tim Tonkin...Let me guess, you have never served your country?? Why do ignorant people such as yourself choose to offer opinions regarding that which they do not know? You're right about one thing, Mr. Melanson didn't fight in a "war", he was on peacekeeping missions to Bosnia. Let me explain what a peacekeeping mission is...it's where the peacekeeper is in the middle of two groups (three groups, in the case of Bosnia) who are trying to kill each other. So, Mr. Tonkin, this man who was willing to lay down his own life to serve his country deserves you gratitude not the utter disrespect that you've shown. By the way, my neighbour is a WW2 veteran who gets every available benefit from VAC. VAC calls him regularly to see if he needs anything, treatment that I think is wonderful and deserved. This man served for two years and never left Canada, did not see a minute of action. This man still served his country and I express my gratitude to him every chance I get. The question I have is do you consider him a veteran? He certainly is! He didn't "fight" in the war, but he served his country. Mr. Melanson, is most certainly a veteran as well and as such should be given the same treatment by VAC as the WW2 and Korean War veterans receive. If you haven't served or haven't had to fight for everything from VAC, you really should not speak about this.

  • Tina Ayer
    Tina Ayer
    June 06, 2011 - 13:03

    OMG People .. What the Hell is Wrong with most of you ??? .this is not just about a few missed payments .. this is about a man A Soldier who Gave his Everything for the so called defense of this & other countries & Her Peoples .. His Plight is more that just about 1 man loosing his Home, Life & family .... it is about ALL the suffering our Soldiers & RCMP endure for no other reason than the VAC & GOVERNMENT can't get thier shyte together enough to care for the very men & woman She sends into harms way .. this country has tens of thousand of soldiers Fighting for Thier rights in THIS Country! Fighting for Dignity & compensation for Medical care they Deserve as this was Caused by our Country's decision to send them to war without thinking on the aftermath of it all .. while this Country gives out BILLIONS & BILLIONS of $$$ aid to Foriegn Countries to help thier peoples with medical,shelter schools ETC .. our Country invites Foriegn peoples to our shores & Helps them with medical , education housing etc .. Yet Her Canadian Vets are looked upon as Vermin looking for an easy out .. i call BS !!! who the Hell are You to judge these Protectoartes & Citizens of Canada ! have You to Experienced the Horrors Our Vets & their Families have to deal with Everyday for the rest of thier lives ? this has been a on going fight for ALL our Vets not just a scattered few .. the number of Vets we have sick homeless & no treatment or help because it cost to much is OFFENSIVE to say the least! WAKE up Peoples this is not about Money it is about the way our Countires & her Citizens Treat the Very peoples who Protect YOU !

  • another vet
    June 06, 2011 - 11:50

    I too almost lost my home but it was many missed payment in the time waiting for VAC to approve the claim in the first place. This took 3 years to resolve and I was not working at the time so just living off my pension from the CF which didn't cover all the bills so I had to pay them in rotation . This is where the story doesn't go far enough back to state if these missed payment were the first of his claim and how long did he have to fight in the first place to get the payment misdirected which could have been the final straw for the bank/morgage holder

  • Daughter of a Vet
    June 06, 2011 - 10:34

    This man has been treated appallingly! Those who question his decision to die for this are insensitive jerks who have no understanding of how dangerously close to self-destruction VAC has pushed him! Does nobody grasp the desperate situation that mental illness can place a suffering person... STILL? I'm shocked at the insensitivity of some of the comments here! What, it's okay with some of you that a man who served his country has been so horribly cheated and disrespected that he wants to die??? That's not within your capabilities to comprehend??? VAC should be pelted with small bags of dog droppings and ordered to compensate this poor soldier in a HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY! (Preferably the full year's salary of the fired idiot who made the mistake).

    • Jackie A.
      June 06, 2011 - 12:39

      Yes, Mr. Melanson was treated horribly by the VAC. Since the incident was back in 2004, and there is still a grievance pending, demonstrates how slow the VAC was to respond to the issue. Lack of compassion, if you ask me. The VAC does not treat Veterans very well. My fiance is a Vet, and his grievances are being appealed. He's been fighting for justice and rightful compensation since 2006. After serving in Bosnia, he fell under the new Charter because he was not informed by the VAC or other responsible organization that he needed to file earlier to get a pension. He should fall under the old Charter since he served before 2006. The list can go on.... Decisions are postponed...A long waiting game. Veterans commit suicide and go through depression because they are not treated with dignity and respect after seeing and dealing with atrocities that many of us could never grasp the despair of the travesty.

    • Zoomer
      June 06, 2011 - 13:28

      OK, so VAC corrected the situation with his monthly payments in 2005. Now he has been held in limbo for the past 6 plus years. VAC should have manned up in 2005, admitted their error and compensated him for it at that time. This story is not old news; this story is a continuing saga of deny, deny, deny. It needs to be rectified before this veteran dies as a result of his mistreatment.

  • Military Spouse
    June 06, 2011 - 10:14

    Isn't this story a little OLD??? This incident happened in 2004 & was resolved in 2005. So really there is NO STORY?!?! The fact that 2 Canadian Soldiers were injured in a training exercise when a Navy Sub hit bottom off Vancouver this past weekend is a little more current of a story to report.

    • Bruce
      June 06, 2011 - 16:16

      Their is nothing more useless than a dying soldier is there . You should work for the government or a news paper. If it had been resolved he wouldn't be starving to death would he. Spouse!

  • thecynic
    June 06, 2011 - 09:28

    To "not only VAC's fault": You had better read the entire article on this because the time span was five months - not one as you stated; I know of no bank that wouold wait that long in any case to foreclose! Also - this government is abysmal in its' treatment of the veterans - and in other areas too numerous to mention here. Suffice to say the regard for fairness and honesty is just nonexistent.

  • Zoomer
    June 06, 2011 - 09:14

    Some commenters did not read the article thoroughly. It was not one payment but a situation that went on for months. It started in September and Mr. Melanson attempted to commit suicide in December. This was obviously brought on by the stressful situation he was facing which triggered his PTSD, which was the basis of his original claim to VAC. It is unknow, by this article, when the mortgage holder foreclosed, but 3 missed payments usually start the foreclosure process. It is also unknown how long Mr. Melanson was hospitalized, chances are in a psychiatirc facility following his attempt to take his life. This would add to the time that VAC hesitated to correct it's error and would cause him to lose his house. As for getting a lawyer, is there one in his community or nearby that would work pro bono to represent him as he more than likely has insufficient funds to hire one. PTSD does strange things to your reasoning process and a hunger strike may be the only way that he feels he can bring this to the forefront. An apology, certainly at the least, is due. Proper compensation would be the replacement of a house of similar size and value. The man was prepared to give his life for this country; he is now prepared to give his life for the just cause of receiving compensation for what he lost due to errors on the part of VAC.

  • Two Sides to a Coin
    June 06, 2011 - 09:09

    My two cents worth: Firstly, it would appear that this man has gone through a process and is still fighting about 'his benefits deposited into someone else's account in 2004'. That is one month almost 7 years ago. I would venture a guess that the bank has that strightened out now. Secondly, based on the complaints I am reading, it would appear that many feel VAC doesn't offer much to our veterans, which leads me to ask how a person's health and loss of home could occur from one delayed payment at the bank. In the third place, my father was a vetern who served overseas throughout the whole of WW11, and Veterans Affairs were more than generous in helping him and my mother with benefits. In fact, they refused many of the benefits offered, feeling they could afford to take care of such things as snow removal, house-cleaning and the like, despite the fact that my father developd dementia and lived his war days over at the end of his life. He was always proud of how he served his country, and my mother was always grateful for the understanding staff at VAC and the help them were able to get. The so called 'bureaucrats' at VAC are just people like you or me, and they too are serving their country. Somewhere along the line someone feels that an injustice has been done and they go public, knowing full well that anyone who works for the federal government is bound by the privacy act and confidentiality....which means a person can tell the media and others anything they want...and only one side of the coin is shown. I feel badly that Mr. Melanson's mental health has not been attended to and that he is trying to commit suicide publicly. I hope that someone within the medical community is able to reach out and give him the help he needs. I will certainly pray for him.

    • Townie
      June 06, 2011 - 11:01

      It was 5 months of missed payments as it took that long for VAC to fix the banking error. Sept 2004 (first went into someone else's bank account) - Jan. 2005(bank account number was solved). Not just one month.

  • Marie
    June 06, 2011 - 09:07

    The Dept of Veterans Abuse!!!???!!! Oh and Ms Flanagan... Mr Harper needs to put OUR money where his mouth is!

  • As Usual
    June 06, 2011 - 08:46

    There is most likely more to this story than is being reported here. Going on a hunger strike for a letter of apology sounds a bit over the top. But having said this....it appears that this veteran feels like he has been let down by VAC. The adequate compensation part is yet another story...good luck with this.

  • to Bob MacDonald and not only VACs fault
    June 06, 2011 - 08:37

    Try it and find out. Calling and telling the bank will help for a couple of days, not when it takes months. You two are very quick to judge. Deal with VAC and then you will see the run around you get.

  • another voice
    June 06, 2011 - 08:33

    Let's remember that there are alwasy two sides to every story and because of privacy issues VAC will nto be able to respond and give it's side of the story.

  • Give your head a shake
    June 06, 2011 - 08:25

    @ Bob Macdonald, How about you read the artile where the first payment went to the wrong back in september of 2004, and the next time it went into his bank account was january 2005. that is 4 months of missed payments which is enough to cause all kinds of financial troubles

  • Ghoulman
    June 06, 2011 - 07:20

    Certainly I think this fellow should get a formal, official, apology. But a hunger strike? That's just nuts, I don't know what this guy is thinking. We are talking about money and that's all. This is sinful. You know, people all over the world commit hunger strikes to protest human injustice, torture, war. Not money. Smarten up, get a lawyer.

  • Marlene Gingras
    June 06, 2011 - 07:09

    Another great example of our Canadian soldiers having to face and deal with all the red tape from our Canadian Goverment who does not hesitate one minute to send our guys and girls overseas but that same Goverment that is never there for our soldiers once they are back with difficulties and Post Traumatic Dissorder. I live close to Valcartier and believe me all the Veteran's I know have to fight EVERYDAY to get their well earned compensations. EVERYDAY!!!!!!

  • Andrew
    June 06, 2011 - 07:07

    This man deserves adequate compensation.

  • Janet Gaudet
    June 06, 2011 - 07:03

    My Dad, John Gordon, died in 1985, age 92. He was WW1 veteran, served as a gunner in France, was at Vimy Ridge, was gassed, and never got over the effects of what he endured. DVA gave him a miserable little pension. Not too long before he died I met with someone at DVA in Ch'Town to try and get more financial help for my Dad and I broke down in tears, I was so frustrated. They never did much for my Dad in spite of efforts of other family members to get help for him. It's truly a shame the way some veterans are treated by DVA. My Dad was one of those veterans. He never got more than about $72 per month pension. DVA could have done a lot more to help my Dad. He left P.E.I. in 1914, gave up a good job and a comfortable home with his parents and didn't return until 1919.

  • bob macdonald
    June 06, 2011 - 06:43

    I find it a little hard to believe a person would lose their home simply because their (employer) deposited a pay cheque in the wrong account. I think if you called the bank they would tell you this is not the case. This man is lucky or at least thinks he is lucky that he has some big government agency that he can go after for compensation. It would take a series of missed payments to lose your house to the bank.

    • Townie
      June 06, 2011 - 09:59

      Again, it was not just one missed payment. It was 5 months of missed payments. After three or four months the bank probably though he was making it up.

    • drala
      June 06, 2011 - 18:49

      have you ever dealt with a bank that made mistakes? It took me a year after a bank put 5 of my automatic loan payments on someone else's loan, even after I had been paying the same loan for 2 years. It took 3 months to fix it, and they dinged my credit rating for their mistake and almost cost me a mortgage renewal. It took another year of letter's to other banks, credit agencies, an employer, student loans to get it all straightened out. If the bank took this long when it was their own mistake, imagine how long they would take if it was a government office that made the mistake,

  • Serhena Flanagan
    June 06, 2011 - 06:41

    I wish Mr. Melanson good luck on his hunger strike. Its unreal how veterans affairs can treat our veterans and never admit they are wrong.... The government in Ottawa has never stood up for our veterans even though they pretend to be concerned. The people of Canada should not allow this to happen ...not when our soldiers are putting their lives on the line for our freedom. Harper put your money where your mouth is!!!!!!

  • Not only VAC's fault
    June 06, 2011 - 06:36

    First of all, I'm not saying VAC should be allowed to make mistakes like this all the time, but I'm guessing these problems didn't all come from one missed payment, so don't go blaming only VAC for all of this. If he lost his house, I'm guessing he was most likely behind on payments already. Most banks will understand if you tell them an error was made and will cut you some slack and give you time to get the issue sorted out. VAC definitely should've resolved this quicker than taking a few months, but as with anybody else, mistakes are made sometimes. Look at companies like Maritime Electric or Aliant. I'm sure they have mistakes on payments fairly often as well but you don't have people going on hunger strikes because of it. I used to work at a call center for a natural gas company and we had plenty of people with huge bills because their banks made mistakes with payments. Normally with bills that high we'd be interrupting their service, but since it was due to an error, we'd cut them some slack and leave the service on until the error was sorted out. Yes, VAC made a mistake, but if your life relies on that 1 payment that much, and you're also not able to make arrangements with your bank to help you out when there's a problem like this, I'm guessing the missed payment isn't the only reason for your problems.

    • cynictothecore
      June 06, 2011 - 08:41

      Concerning the hunger strike of Fabien Melanson, Canadian Veteran, it may have been helpful for the above blogger("not only VAC's fault) to have read the entire article which told a rather different tale from what he built his comments upon- five months passed before VAC finally righted their mistake! Who is thick enough to believe any bank would have held five months of mortgage payments in abeyance- even for a reason such as Mr. Melanson's? It is long overdue for an independant ombudsman/woman to fight on behalf of these young men and women who came back from far afield forever changed and many times emotionally and physically crippled from the effects of in many cases needless "wars"(an already archaic term in my opinion). Maybe a good lawyer could also see the long term benefits of rebutting issues such as these against the government which has no problem blowing our tax dollars on Yankee dictated projects such as fighter jets and phony "wars".

    • Townie
      June 06, 2011 - 09:57

      It was more than just one missed payment, it was 5 months of missed payments. Things were likely very tight prior to this banking error and it put the situation over the edge. Because we all know that these vets are being paid enough (note: sarcasm is the theme of the last sentence)

    • ITOLDYOUSO
      June 06, 2011 - 10:03

      Not only VAC's fault - June 6, 2011 at 08:16:13 "Yes, VAC made a mistake, but if your life relies on that 1 payment that much, and you're also not able to make arrangements with your bank to help you out when there's a problem like this, I'm guessing the missed payment isn't the only reason for your problems." That is sick. VAC mad the mistake and from that he lost his home. The man may have had problems prior to that but there are to many Canadians in this same boat today. Living paycheque to pay Cheque. People get sick or something happens to through there budgit out the window and payments are missed. Then this fellow had his pay lost for months. If this was to happen in the private sector there is a place to go to get help.... Not so for this poor man. Vac from this story is at fault and compensation would be required if this story is factual. This is sad.

  • BA
    June 06, 2011 - 06:35

    Good luck Veteran Melanson. It is a sad day when our vet's have to resort to taking their life because of the decisions of DVA bureaucrats who's egos gets in their way of being able to make a decision. I have been fighting with DVA on an issue for over 10 years to no avail. The last time, I put forth a compelling arguement to have DVA reverse their negative decision; they even refused to bring my appeal before a board even though the legal process suggests they are required to let the Board decide. This is an ego issue and workers who feel their role is to make decisions outside their mandate is a slap in the face to Vet's.

  • veteran vs vac worker
    June 06, 2011 - 05:28

    If it was a vac worker with direct deposit, I think it would have been resolved alot faster. Is it not ironic the benefits the workers receive but these are the same people sitting on a board who deny benefits to the veterans?

    • Not so Much
      June 06, 2011 - 10:05

      whoever made this comment has never worked a day for a Federal Government Department and doesn't know their face from their (you know what). The workers are the last ones to have a voice or say. People have to realize that it is not the base line workers at Departments like DVA that are the problem, most of the time they have their hands tied to legislation that is deemed down from offices liek the Ministers and in today's Canadian Parilment the PMO. People have to realize that there isn't some entry level data entry clerk or adjudicator that is just making this stuff as they go. this is the same story all the time, everyone is outraged how the Canadian Government and its Departments handle Public Services and think that everyone should get what they themselves think they are entitled too, however, people never want to increase taxes or % of the budget to pay for these programs. If you looked into what some of these departments have to pay out in the run of a year people would be outragged that the government is spending as much as it is, the same way people are outragged that people are not getting what they believe theirs. You can't have your cake and eat it too so make up your minds - you can't complains about the lack of programs if you don't want to increase taxes!!!! it has to be paid for somehow.

  • Kenneth H Young CD
    June 06, 2011 - 01:23

    It is time that the VAC realized that their job it to look after the Veterans, and not the national purse. That job belongs to revenue Canada. It doesn’t matter who either gave them the wrong number of if they misheard the correct number. VAC knew why Fabien was on a pension and they also knew which drugs and medication he was on. The very first time he called them and said his money hadn’t arrived, they could have ... No, should have picked up the phone and checked with the bank. In my opinion, Basically the VAC did not do their job and this time did not take care of the Veteran.

  • Jeff Rose-Martland
    June 06, 2011 - 01:14

    Follow Fabien's progress on twitter: #vachs Stay posted at http://ourduty.org

  • Sidney Paget
    June 06, 2011 - 00:28

    The veterans are willing to serve and possibly die for their country, but when they come home the government and Veterans Affairs Canada cut them loose like they are so much garbage. The bureaucrats seem to take great pride in denying benefits or not acknowledging mistakes if it means saving money on the backs of veterans and their dependents. I can almost guarantee these same bureaucrats would be the last to volunteer to serve their country let alone die defending Canada. No, these bureaucrats and ministers of the Crown who deny veterans what they are due are lifelong members of the "B Brigade" - I will be here when you leave and I will be here when you return. Maybe if VAC bureaucrats actually had to go through what the veterans have gone through (not at all likely) they would be more sympathetic to the veterans' needs. The VAC bureaucrats have a nice well paid job that is theirs for life and so they have no incentive to really help the veterans except with meaningless lip service. The veterans and their dependents deserve more from VAC, but they will not get it from these well paid bureaucrats who don't have the smarts to understand just what the veterans and dependents are experiencing.

    • Sad Veteran
      June 06, 2011 - 09:13

      It's sad to see, but VAC and VRAB need to be accountable for there mistakes. If your not a Veteran you will not understand what we go through. VAC and VRAB departments should be abolished and restructured! Go Fabien! Do want you feel is right!