Veteran demands apology from VAC

Mitch MacDonald comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 5, 2011
Department of Veterans Affairs
Guardian 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.

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.