Many years ago I was an activist of sorts for injured soldiers and even ended up on a CBC talk show to talk about the issues soldiers faced when running up against the bureaucracy of Veteran's Affairs. I ran a a monthly web based ezine that today might be called a blog and it caught the attention of all sorts of folks. Opposition members called from time to time on issues, but mostly soldiers called or emailed looking for help after being injured.
One group of Veterans advocates invited me to an informal meet and greet after a story hit the news that I helped break. A source had given me some names of people in the army's medical community who knew of or were involved in shredding medical documents. These documents may have proved useful for soldiers who might have later developed health issues.
At this informal meet I had a beer or two, but didn't get inebriated and discussion started in about securing government jobs within the system. Never being one to mince words I piped up and asked the soldier's sitting around that table, "Isn't that getting into bed with the guys who are F'ing us in the first place?"
As you can guess things were a little cooler in that room. Not long after there was a lot of mudslinging when my name came up and I was considered a troublemaker. I stayed the course and continued to help soldiers secure pensions and even enlisted the aid of a former VAC employee who was a great help at getting around obstacles.
In the end that group of soldiers also achieved their aim. Many of them were scooped up by the government and made employees to deal with the issues facing todays soldier. Somewhere along the line, during the previous Liberal government the Pension plan for veterans was changed from lifetime disability to lump sum payout. This new plan was adopted by the now serving Conservative government and the bureaucracy faced by injured soldiers has not changed, some would even argue that it is worse.
I walked away from being an activist around 2002 after getting tired of hearing what a troublemaker I was and how I was screwing it up for soldiers looking to secure government jobs. I have no regrets about the things I did, I helped a lot of injured soldiers and by extension their families, but those new Federal employees with whom I sat did nothing to improve the situation for their brothers in arms. In fact they feathered their own nests, increased bureaucracy and became a part of the dysfunctional system they proclaimed needed change.