Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | November 2, 2011

Veterans’ Affairs

Now, I don’t want to paint everyone at Veterans’ Affairs Canada with the same brush. Like most government agencies, there are, no doubt, many long-suffering and hard working people working there. And given the nature of the service they are providing it likely attracts a lot of people who want to do their best for Canada’s former soldiers. That said, it is a government agency.

I was in the presence of a veteran today who had served in combat and taken fire for this country. He was studying for a new career and mentioned that he was unable to drive because of the condition of his leg. A specially outfitted car with hand controls is too expensive for him and while he has medical documents showing that the condition of his leg is a result of his service, VAC claims it isn’t so they won’t help him. So he is now in conflict with them. Or with us I should say, as it is our society which gives higher priority to trivial expenditures than to helping an extremely employable former serviceman achieve the mobility he needs. We would rather pay him welfare and unemployment for years while bureaucrats push him to take crappy but locally available jobs just to get him out of their jurisdiction for a few months.

Helping him get the car would be the moral thing to do (he is a veteran), the ethical thing to do (he has the medical documentation) and the financially reasonable thing to do, as it would save on other expenses that would not get racked up. Since it would be moral, ethical and reasonable/fiscally responsible, it’s not something government will do without a fight.

Even where you actually have good, intelligent and caring people in a branch of government it will never be able to act sensibly or compassionately. Like corporations, governments are simple collective organisms like slime molds or biofilms. Unlike corporations, government departments have nothing to measure success by and can only seek to expand not improve.



  1. That really sucks.

    As it happens, I know people in Veteran’s Affairs. No promises, of course, but if you think it prudent, you could DM me his info via Twitter, and I can see what, if anything, they can do for him.

    Sadly, it always does comes back to “who you know.” (and I know you know prominent people in the military medical community). But I sure would be willing to shake some trees on my side of things for this veteran, if it would help.

    Let me know, old grimace.


    General Sir Charles Napier, OBE

  2. Unfortunately, we didn’t exchange contact info or even names as we were part of an informal ensemble of strangers at a career convention. I have seen him since at my college but just in passing. I will try to see if some of the more connected folk I know there know him (he has some distinguishing features so that makes it easier but I don’t know if he was part of the recent graduating classes).

    He may have even got a favorable outcome on his own, but he will probably appreciate the offer either way. I had not considered the posibility before but it makes sense that you would have met some folk in your previous environs who might know something helpful in this regard. I shall see if I can track him down and go from there. I won’t over sell the posibility but just ask if he might want to give that a try.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: