Editor: With regard to Jason McCallum’s letter, VAC clients key concerns (23 October), I wish to express what the real concerns of these clients are. I will not argue with any of Mr. McCallum’s statistics or his conclusion; he just misses the mark on the key problems facing Island veterans.
First, there are two VAC entities in Charlottetown: the Departmental Headquarters (VAC HQ) and the P.E.I. District Office. While staff cuts at VAC HQ are of great concern to the Mayor and the business community of Charlottetown, they are of little concern to veterans.
This is not true of the District Office, one of nine scheduled for closure across Canada. This office provides one-on-one, face-to-face, service to P.E.I. veterans – as Mr. McCallum states, “what matters is the local client population being served.” Not in numbers, but in service owed to aged veterans who have put their lives on the line for all Canadians.
All World War II veterans are over 85 – veterans of Korea are over 80. Are these senior vets supposed to drive to Saint John or Halifax for a personal consultation? Would a VAC service provider from the mainland travel to Souris to see a bedridden veteran? Veterans who never used a computer in their lives are being told to “go on line” to contact VAC!
Mr. McCallum, relying on numbers only, calls this a “non-story.” It his context, it may be true! Veterans make up only two per cent of Canada’s population and that number will never threaten the Harper government via the ballot box. What is needed is vocal support from concerned citizens, like Mr. McCallum, for veterans who wish to live out their lives in some degree of the comfort they so richly deserve.
J. Darrach Murray,