“Not only have you failed to deliver, you and your various ministers have actually made things worse,” writes Retired RCAF Captain Medric Cousineau.
Medric “Cous” Cousineau, a retired Captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, has written an open letter to Justin Trudeau in relation to a pledge Trudeau made to him before the 2015 election.
That letter can be read below:
“Dear Prime Minister Trudeau.
I find myself forced to write this letter to you, which I will also be providing copies of to the media. I am also enclosing a picture that was taken of us at our meeting while you were the leader of the opposition. You pledged to get support for service dogs for disabled veterans battling PTSD. So I think it is only fair that we discuss the results of your personal pledge to me. Since you were formally a teacher, I will make this very easy. Your grade? An “F”. In fact if there was a grade worse then you and your regime would qualify. Not only have you failed to deliver, you and your various ministers have actually made things worse.
In April of 2018, Seamus O’Regan stood before the House of Commons and pledged delivery of National Service Dog Standards by last Fall. Yet they are not even being worked upon. Now several bureaucrats including DM Natynczyk will offer up all kinds of excuses as to why they are not in situ. In fact his first line of defense will be blame the Canadian General Standards Board. However, what he will not show you is the correspondence from the months leading up to the implosion, that laid out exactly how that trainwreck would end and he stood idly by and took no steps to intervene or keep the process moving forward.
Then there is the issue of the Medical Expense Tax Credit for Psych Service Dogs. I should never have had to wage the kind of war to get your government to stop discriminating on the basis of the nature of my disability. Thanks in no part to the co-operation of your government, you begrudingly ammended the Tax code so that we could achieve equality. No more, no less. It is a very simple concept. Violating Citizens Human Rights should be avoided at all costs. Yet here we are and VAC is still doing it. A year ago, on the second of May 2018 I met with Seamus, at his behest and we discussed things like equality and not violating my Human Rights. Yet it continues, and despite assurances that the issue would be resolved in the last budget, nothing happened. You see, veterans with a guide dog are eligible for a care and upkeep allowance for their service animal. Yet, we psych Service Dog handlers are denied the same. (To make it easy on the staffers, VAC Benefit 625995 refers). I have filed a Human Rights Complaint against your government naming the DM in the complaint. Darest I say if I was one of your favoured causes, this mess would have been fixed years ago. It has dragged on since the Harper Regime and it was one of the things you pledged to fix. Given the spate of “he said- she said” events I am glad there were others both in that meeting and in caucus when I was invited there at your behest. Sadly it has come to this.
However, this next part is going to strain the bounds of credulity, and thankfully I have it recorded. No it was not some surreptious recording where somebody or somebodies is driving an agenda. Mine is much more straight forward and damning. What I have is a copy of a voicemail. Since it was left in my Voicemail box, it would be my property and since the other party knew it was a voicemail, knows he was being recorded.
I could probably offer up even more aggregious examples, however I can’t. Why? Quite simply, I cannot get access my own system notes from VAC. Imagine my surprise. From 15 Apr 2004 until 27 August 2018, 257 distinct users accessed my account 960 times and yet there are only 20 pages of notes I can see. The rest is being withheld because others names are in my file. Since mine, my wife wife and my clinicians names all appear in what I can see, it begs a very scary question: Whose names are in my file and why can’t I see them? If I had to pick a reason? Some of those entries will prove that certain high ranking officials within VAC had done some seriously wrong things when it comes to veterans, their rights and their privacy. More to follow on that later.
I realize that I have disclosed a bunch of information in this letter. It is sad when the only way that the Canadian electorate can get your ear is when the hue and cry of public outrage spurs your PMO to action. Might I suggest that as we run up to the next election, you might wish to get this mess sorted out.
I have raised these issues time and again with Members of Parliament, including my own, Darrell Samson and all I get is platitudes. We are long since past the point where I am patient. Six plus Years, Four of them directly on your watch, and yet rather than equality and ceasing to discriminate I get offered “TV Dinners”? I mean nothing quite says ” Thank you for your Service and Sacrifices for Canada” like a “Hungry Man Frozen Dinner”. You will be happy to know, they offered me the large ones so I would have leftovers for lunch the next day. (Yes that is in the voicemail too).
I truly had wished it had never come to this and that I did not need to do this publically, however, your office has not seen fit to respond to the dozens of letters I have sent over the past years, which by law, should have been logged and responded to, however, it seems your office has been busy with the Ethics Commissioner.
What I find truly astounding? You claim you want to solve big issues. Start by doing the little things right and might I suggest given the latest polls, you had best get on with it. Folks are watching and the 21st of October draws nigh upon us.
Medric “Cous” Cousineau, SC, CD, KStG
Capt Retd RCAF
& Thai the Service Dog
Co-founder Paws Fur Thought”