President’s Monthly Report – July 2020

President’s Monthly Report – July 2020

Greetings from your Association Office

It is now 6 weeks since I was elected as President of the RCMP Veterans Association and much has happened since then.

MEDIA ATTACK ON THE RCMP

The RCMP has come under fire by the media and politicians as having systemic racism within its ranks and as Veterans, this impacts us as well. Unfortunately, the term “Systemic” has a wide variety of definitions, but after being stated so many times, one can begin to believe the RCMP is inherently racist and that is so very incorrect. Yes, there may be occasions where a member will show a bias and even a prejudice based upon previous encounters within the same neighborhood or region, but an act of aggression based upon racism, although rare, cannot be tolerated.

With this in mind, about two weeks ago I prepared a letter that was individually sent directly to each and every Senator and Federal Member of Parliament asking them to show support for our serving brothers and sisters. Our Communications Director, James Forrest certainly deserves thanks for taking so much time researching names and addresses to ensure the messages were sent to the correct persons.

In case you haven’t seen this letter, I am sending a copy to all our members and invite you to use any or all of it to communicate with your respective Provincial MLAs’ and Municipal officials. We have received positive responses from both the Senate and MLAs’, however, they are few and far between. It seems many of our politicians have jumped on the current bandwagon of negativity or simply fear losing votes by speaking out in support.

VETERANS ACTIONS IN SUPPORT OF THE RCMP

A special thanks goes out to Calgary and Lethbridge for their very visible actions in support of the RCMP. Calgary had organized a series of Drive-By caravans of support that visited all the RCMP Detachments within their region while Lethbridge paid personal visits to their Detachments. Similar visitations were conducted by members of the Nova Scotia Division, many of which involved Veteran motorcycle riders. I am advised similar actions are also taking place by our Veterans Association members in locations across Canada so I invite any and all Divisions to let me know if they have or intend to do support efforts within your respective areas. I will be pleased to circulate the news.

I can personally relate to a number of really worthwhile support efforts which have been taking place over the past couple of years here in Nova Scotia where I am a member. Every time our Veterans perform a worthwhile public act it benefits our serving RCMP members. Nova Scotia Division, with a strength of over 900 Active and Associate members is divided into geographic Regions and a number of these Regions have put special efforts into promoting the RCMP name. For example, the NS Valley Region, with a strength of about 140 members has a very active Associate member group who have produced many hundreds of receiving blankets, fidget vests for Alzheimer patients, face masks for the local Hospital Authority, and numerous other items and this bodes well for the RCMP name. They even have received requests from charity groups outside the province. The NS “Tabs for wheelchairs” effort has seen a substantial number of refurbished and motorized wheelchairs donated to needy persons as well as the Nova Scotia Easter Seals program. Christmas family programs are becoming so well known that requests are regularly coming in seeking assistance. All these efforts clearly show our serving members we support them while contributing to positive public relations. Although not every Division has memberships that number in the hundreds, there are many things you can consider in support of the Force

I also want to add, Divisions should take advantage of the “Associate Member” category. Spouses of former Members have lived the RCMP experience and have much to offer. They are just as much a part of the RCMP as we are and I am willing to wager they would be pleased to become a part of and play an equal role in the Association.

VAC ISSUES

Once per month, the National President has met with the Ombudsman for Veterans Affairs and I had my first opportunity this week. Sharon Squire (Ottawa) is performing the acting role and electronically, I connected with her and her Communications Director, Bobby Joe Walker. Not a whole lot to report since this was basically an introductory meeting. She did advise the following:

  • New monies are being injected into the VAC Claims procedures to hire even more reviewers that reported last week. She expects this will not be just a temporary measure and is hopeful new hires will be occupying permanent positions. That’s a timely effort since there are many thousands of submissions in the queue.
  • Submission procedures are being enhanced to better accommodate health benefits claims related to women’s issues
  • Although the RCMP does not have their own Ombudsman position, the current Ombudsman will continue to support the RCMP and Veterans
  • Since I had mentioned it would be advantageous if our Veterans were eligible for the VIP program providing funding for work done on the outside of homes such as lawn care, snow removal, etc., this topic was briefly discussed. In essence, RCMP Veterans are eligible for Attendance Allowance instead since we fall within the RCMP Pension legislation. The VIP program is available to Military Veterans only since they come under a different legislation. For us to receive this outside maintenance allowance, the RCMP would have to go through Treasury Board for this added benefit and when I mentioned this earlier this month I was asked what we were willing to give up in order to have the VIP benefit. I thought it best to hold off on any formal request, at least for the time being. There could be negative impacts and now might not be the best time for financial costs increase requests but certainly could be a topic for later times.
  • Veterans Affairs Rating Tables: One of the factors when submitting a pension claim to VAC is your doctor’s reports. VAC, on their website provides a whole lot of support information for us in this respect and in some cases, this information really should be provided to your doctor to assist in ensuring an accurate and meaningful submission. One of the important available documents is the “Table of Disability, Rating Table” The rating table categorizes the severity of the illness or injury and can go a long way in supporting your claim.

NOTE: it is up to you to provide the Rating Table to your doctor. You can bet he/she is likely far too busy to access, read, and use the document unless you give it to him/her. Using your search engine such as “Google” enter the following:

Veterans Affairs Canada Table of Disability;

Choose the injury or illness from the list provided such as “musculoskeletal” Go to the “Rating Table”. This table measures the severity of the illness/injury. Copy the table and give it to your doctor and hopefully he/she will use it. If you do not have a computer or if you are having trouble retrieving this information on line, please call your nearest Veterans Affairs Canada office and ask for copies to be sent to you via mail.

MEDICAL AND SERVICE FILES

I am advised Division Admin offices will no longer provide you with a CD containing your medical, service, or personal files. The reason is the newer computers don’t have a CD/DVD Drive. Instead, they are suggesting you visit your Division HQ Admin office and they will access the files for you to read, but I’m not sure if they are willing to print off the many pages involved. Our Support and Advocacy Co-Directors here in NS met with the appropriate folks within H Division and arranged for them to accept a blank thumb drive from anyone requesting their files and they will load the information on to that device. Your Division President may wish to have someone located near the RCMP Division Headquarters to see if a similar arrangement can be made. It really isn’t practical for locations a distance away from Division HQ to drive there. NOTE: Whether or not you are currently thinking about a VAC claim, you should obtain your Personal, Service, and Medical files for future reference, especially the Medical. It’s important to know, if you were to pass away and your family wishes to submit a later claim requiring a medical or service detail(s), they cannot access your files for a period of 20 years after death. Something to consider.

DUES

I did a check and there are over $14,000 in dues still not paid for this year alone. That’s a huge chunk of operating funds so Jim Brown from our BOD will be sending individual Division Presidents the unpaid numbers from their specific Division. It’s so easy to forget to pay dues so if you aren’t sure, please check with your President or Treasurer. Steps are being taken to provide for easier electronic payment and further information will be forthcoming

WEB PAGE

We soon will have good news with respect to our Web Page. Wish I could say more but cannot until the new arrangements/contracts are finalized but from what I have seen, we will soon be in a sound position to provide you the information you may be seeking, especially the Support and Advocacy information. More to come shortly.

Sincerely

Sandy Glenn, President
RCMP Veterans’ Association
Veterans helping Veterans and their families

 


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