Being a Canadian veteran has never been easy, but it's getting harder

Two & Out
By James Peters
December 8, 2017 - 10:50am Updated: December 8, 2017 - 1:37pm

KAMLOOPS — Anyone considering signing up to serve in Canada's armed forces may be thinking twice after a couple of pieces of news this week.

First, the study that confirmed what everyone already knew: veterans are far more likely to take their own lives than the general population.

Male veterans are 36 per cent more likely to die by suicide, and women are 81 per cent more vulnerable if they serve in Canada's forces.

For decades, the anecdotal evidence was there, and now there is data to back it up.

Veterans come back from combat zones having found their brains completely rewired.

Many find their former abilities to settle into day-to-day civilian life have been eroded away by the unnatural act of extended participation in warfare.

They are haunted by what they have seen and what they have done - haunted not just in a colloquial sense, but clinically as well.

And the government response to caring for veterans suffering from mental illness has been inadequate.

As the organization Military Minds is given to saying, not all wounds are visible.

We as a country have asked these people to defend our interests abroad, and when they return, we do not help them fully heal.

It's a betrayal, and one we shouldn't let stand.

The second piece of news is the BC Supreme Court denial of a lawsuit brought forward by six veterans saying they are being unfairly treated by the government's 2006 overhaul in compensation.

That overhaul by the Harper government was tantamount to a one-time dump of money, a salute, and a see you later, rather than ongoing care.

It's not as easy as partisanship, though, and blaming one party or another.

The Trudeau government is hardly doing any better, and it's all too easy to see why.

Veterans are not an investment that pays off for a government, either in money or in large blocks of votes.

One would think it would pay off for politicians in the satisfaction of knowing they're doing the right thing.

But if there's one thing veterans are not, it's naive.