Friday, January 14, 2011

Habitat for Inhumanity

A friend of mine once said: "Don't worry about me, the worst thing about Jail is the name".

As I viewed CBC's Power and Politics last night, I was amazed to hear that the Conservative Government plans to spend over $2 Billion on prisons due to overcrowding! It was further noted that the crime rate in Canada is actually on the decline. So why are we planning to triple the amount of prisons?

We as Canadian's should ask ourselves: Should we be concerned about a criminal having to share a cell with another criminal or should we be more concerned with a Senior not having a Long Term Care Home or a decent pension to live on?

Or perhaps we should be more concerned with a Hospital that has to put patients in the hallway due to no rooms available?

Or maybe we should be more concerned with those who have no room at all, our homeless, which includes some veterans?

Getting tough on crime doesn't have to mean more prisons, it has to mean getting tough on criminals. Locking people up who are not a danger to society is pointless. Make those people work, perhaps helping Seniors who can't mow their lawns or clear their snow, or maybe even clean up neighbourhoods or other public choirs that would be beneficial to the community.

The true criminals, dangerous offenders and murderers, could share a cell, four to a room, just the way many hospital wards are set up. It's comfortable for the sick, why not for criminals?

Why is the Harper Government more concerned with prisoner comfort than with the comfort of law abiding citizens?

My friend told me that the prison he was in was better than an all boys club: Free food, games, television, sports, and if you were liked, time to meet new friends!

That is probably the reason why there are so many repeat offenders, the prisons are not like prison at all. It's time for a change!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Earnings Loss Benefit Explained

As a disabled veteran, I would like to explain the unfairness of the Veterans Affairs Canada claim that they are taking care of our veterans with their Earnings Loss Benefit.

There was a time when I could look forward to a career after my military career, financial wellness, and hope that the future was going to see me into my golden years appreciating what I had volunteered to do for my country.

Now, 23 years after joining the Canadian Forces, I cannot work due to a brain injury and I get by on my pensions. Sounds good to someone who is on Workman’s Compensation or some other plan, but veterans lose more than you understand.

For example, had I retired from the military at 23 years and was able to work, I would receive my military pension, my veterans pension, and I could receive pay for my work, possibly paying into another pension plan as well. I would be able to work until I was 65 and then receive CPP as well as the other pensions. Golden years indeed!

However, my life was turned upside down at the 23 year mark when I suffered a brain injury.

My Long Term Disability provider deducts my military pension and my veteran’s pain and suffering pension from what they are supposed to pay me. This leaves them not having to pay out any money to me so I can't really call them a provider!

Veterans Affairs has a program called the Earnings Loss Benefit. It is supposed to pay up to 75% of my pay when I retired, yet they also deduct my military and veteran’s pain and suffering pensions so I get nothing from them! If I had served just one year and had no other pension, they would pay me a minimum of $40,000 a year, more then I get now! But the pensions are deducted and cut off at $30,000 (75%), so I get nothing but my earned pensions while a new soldier/veteran gets $40,000 for the rest of their life. Not arguing that they don’t deserve it but I believe after 23 years I do too!

Our veterans are being served up a big chunk of “Sucks To Be You” from our Long Term Disability provider and a “You Can Take Care Of Yourself” from our Veterans Affairs department.

Due to not being able to work, my real "Lost Earnings" are what I could have made if I were able to work. I would get my pensions plus additional pay for my work and therefore, the Earnings Loss Benefit should not have any deductions.

That is why veterans are pounding on the doors of Parliament to get the New Veterans Charter fixed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

F-35 "Lawn Dart" and the Competition

It is a comparison between the F35 "Lawn Dart" and the Eurofighter.

They had one day to get a headstart. Now it's your turn to provide these figures to Canadians and let them have a say in what our military pilots need.

Here are some questions that you may want to ask the Minister of National Defence:

Were other fighter jets considered?

Which is better, the F35 or the Eurofighter?

Which is the better for the money?

Has Bombardier been consulted on the Eurofighter?

Can the Pilot and Fighter Jet be save if one engine fails in flight for the F35? For the Eurofighter?

How much does it cost to replace the Pilot and the Fighter Jet in case of a crash?

Now, when a pilot is sent up to intercept the enemy, do you want him/her in the American built single engine, not fast, not able to fly high fighter jet, or the Europeon best fighter? If we were buying the F22 (two engines and very good), there would be no complaint.

How much is a pilot's life worth? According the DVA, $276,000 (Lumpsum Payment).

How much for the Fighter Jet he crashed when the engine failed? $45-90 Million.

Now if he was flying the Eurofighter how much would we have saved when one engine failed? $45-50 Million (the plane has two engines so it could fly to the nearest runway and land on the remaining engine) and $276,000 that would have gone out to the pilot's family for his/her DVA payment.

How much does it cost to train a new Pilot? Approximately $1.5 Million.

How much is that pilot worth to his family? PRICELESS!

Why would the Conservatives want to purchase a Single Engine Fighter Jet when they can get a Two Engine Fighter Jet that is far better for less money?

Did the government do their homework? Perhaps Karl-Heinz Schrieber is involved.

Here are a couple of other advantages:

Specifications     F35                   Eurofighter

Company            Lockheed Martin       British Aerospace
Speed              Mach 1.6 (1930 Km)    Mach 2 (2387 Km)
Engines            One                   Two
Weight             60,000 Lbs            24,240 Lbs
Max Altitude       48,000 Feet           60,000 Feet
Designed for       Convention Takeoff    Multi-Role Fighter
Allied Forces      USA                   UK, GE, SP, IT
Cost               *$45-90 Million       $45-50 Million
                  (* Latest Parliamentary figure)

Robin Brentnall
Gambo, NL


Recently, the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced that the Conservative goverment were taking care of veterans and soldiers by making changes to the New Veterans Charter.

What Canadians and the media were unaware of is this:

The Lumpsum payment is now able to be spread out over time. That in itself seems reasonable but you must understand, if the soldier dies before it is all collected, it does not get dispursed and the family gets nothing. With the old monthly payment, the family continued to receive 50% of the monthly payment for the rest of their life.

If the soldier or veteran takes the full lumpsum, that is it. Our government loves to put dollar signs next to their facts but the fact of the matter is, they always state the maximum amount, for which the soldier has to be dead to receive that amount! Most soldiers and veterans are turned down by Veterans Affairs Canada and never receive ANY compensation. Those who do get their claim approved receive between $13,000 - $40,000, not much when you consider they will lose their job as a soldier.

The Conservative goverment tells everyone that a soldier or veteran will receive a minimum of $40,000 per year. That's not the government paying them, it's the 75% from Manulife under the Long Term Disability SISIP. If a soldier or veteran does not take rehab training or prove they are not able to work, that payment is discontinued. At 65, the Manulife insurance ends, leaving the veteran with Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.

The Conservative goverment also sold the wonderful additional payment of $1000 per month for severely injuried soldiers in Afghanistan. Good news right? We it doesn't cover those who were severely injured already, it only applies to those injured in the future! Even when a soldier becomes severely injured in the future they will lose their job and the $1000 per month will be deducted from the Manulife Insurance payment, so the soldier will not have extra, only Manulife benefits!

The $58,000 for severely injured soldiers is another spin. What most don't realize is that it will not become law until it passes the Senate and then, if it does pass, will only be for soldiers injured in "battle". Our troops will cease to be in "battle" in July 2011, the same time this wonderful legislation is to begin. The catch is a soldier will be "training only" so the clause of injured in battle will never fit the scenario. Therefore, a soldier will NEVER qualify for the $58,000 because they were training, not in battle. It's not retroactive to those who may be injured in battle between now and July 2011.

Once again our wonderful bean counters have taken the time to give the Canadian public and the media the old "Smoke and Mirror" show. Con artists would applaud the way our government can deceive us.

Perhaps the Conservatives should change their name once again, this time to the "Con-Artist" Party!

Robin Brentnall, CD
Gambo, NL

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Dear Dominion Command,

It is disappointing that the Royal Canadian Legion must stand behind the decision it has made. Many Veterans and Legion members were counting on the Royal Canadian Legion's support, even if it was only with words, to allow them to attend this protest knowing the organization that we belong to stands behind them and beside our Veterans.

The support requested was meant to allow the Royal Canadian Legion the flexibility to take a stand without going against it's own constitution. By once again stating that the Royal Canadian Legion does not support the Canadian Veterans National Day Of Protest can only be defined as supporting the Government of Canada.

By standing by and allowing illegal practices by Veterans Affairs Canada regarding the Privacy Act, the endorsement of Manulife Financial even though they are the key culprit in the SISIP Clawback, allowing the Government of Canada to Clawback pensions, and now the open non-support of the Canadian Veterans National Day Of Protest, a protest by Veterans who have had enough, I can only conclude that the Royal Canadian Legion is no longer the Veterans advocate organization that I believed I had joined.

Therefore, I wish to inform you that I am resigning as a member of the Royal Canadian Legion effective 1105 hours on 6 November 2010, at which time I will remove my Legion Crest from my jacket and return it to Branch 8 in Gander. I will, at that time, ask that any other Legion member who feels the same way, do likewise for the TV cameras that have been asked to cover the protest.

Good luck in the future. I wish only the best for our Veterans and pray that one day the organization known as the Royal Canadian Legion never views 6 November 2010 as the day that began their downfall.

Lest We Forget.

Robin Brentnall, CD
Gambo, NL

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Join Us RC Legion!

Dear Grand President:

After reading my Legion Handbook, I have taken note of and provided for quick reference the articles that would allow the Royal Canadian Legion to participate in the Canadian Veterans National Day Of Protest on 6 November 2010 at 11 AM.

Under the section Purposes and Objectives of the Royal Canadian Legion, I have provided in red (with personal notes of what it means to me) the portions that apply to the CVNDOP:


Purposes and Objectives

A. to constitute an association of those who have served or are serving in Her Majesty’s armed forces or any auxiliary force and of others who support the purposes and objects of the Legion, which association shall be democratic and non-sectarian, and shall not be affiliated to or connected directly or indirectly with any political party or organization;

B. to bring about the unity of all who have so served;

C. to further among them the spirit of comradeship and mutual help and the close and kindly ties of active service; (assisting those who have failed in their attempts to be compensated)

D. to pass on to their families and descendents the traditions for which they stand;

E. to perpetuate the memory and deeds of the fallen and of those who die in the future;

F. to promote and care for memorials to their valour and sacrifice, to provide suitable burial if required, to keep an annual memorial day, to preserve the records and memories of their service and to see that such services shall not be forgotten by the nation;

 G. to ensure that proper attention shall be paid to the welfare of all who have served and the welfare of their dependents and to see to the maintenance and comfort of those who require special treatment, particularly the disabled, sick, aged and needy, and to promote the welfare of their dependents; (Standing up for our Veterans in their time of need)

H. to educate public opinion regarding national duties to the dead, the disabled and others who have served, and their dependents; (Showing Canadians that our Veterans deserve proper treatment)

I. to foster loyalty among the public and education in the principles of patriotism, duty and unstinted public service; (Showing the Canadian Public that the Royal Canadian Legion is a legitimate representative for Veterans)

J. to strive for peace, goodwill and friendship among all nations, at the same time advocating the maintenance by Canada of adequate and sufficient forces on land, sea and in the air for the defence of our country and for the discharge of those obligations which rest upon us by virtue of our partnership in the Commonwealth;

K. to support suitable undertakings for the training, employment and settlement of ex-service personnel, and the education of their children; (The ensure that those charged with the care and responsibility of Veterans are doing their duty properly)

L. to preserve their statutory, acquired and legitimate rights, and those of their dependents and, in so doing, to offer the Legion’s cooperation to those officially charged with the responsibility of administering such rights by federal or other governments;

M. to assist comrades now serving, especially in connection with their return to civil life, and to safeguard the interests of their dependents whilst they are in service;

N. to assist ex-service personnel to secure not less than the recognized standard rates of wages;

O. to secure adequate pensions, allowances, grants and war gratuities for ex-service personnel, their dependents, and the widows, children and dependents of those who are dead, and to labour for honourable provision being made for those who, in declining years, are unable to support themselves; (To keep up the fight with Veterans Affairs Canada)

P. to cooperate with the Commonwealth and allied associations of similar aims and objects;

Q. to establish, organize and regulate provincial, district and local bodies, or commands and branches in convenient centers throughout Canada and elsewhere;

R. to establish, organize and regulate provincial, district and local bodies of women for the purpose of assisting the Legion in seeing to the maintenance and comfort of disabled, sick, aged and needy ex-service personnel and their dependents, and to cooperate with the Legion in the promotion and carrying out of all aims and objects of the Legion, such a group to be known as a Ladies’ Auxiliary of The Royal Canadian Legion;

S. to acquire, hold, sell or lease real and immovable, personal and movable property;

T. to raise and coordinate funds for assisting those mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, to provide for the administration of the Legion and its authorized provincial and district commands, branches and ladies’ auxiliaries, and to see that these and other funds raised for such purposes are applied to those purposes and none other;

U. to act generally on behalf of all those who have served in Her Majesty’s forces; (To act on behalf of Veterans when the system is against them)

V. to encourage, promote, engage in or support all forms of national, provincial, municipal or community service, or any charitable or philanthropic purpose; and

W. to engage only in activities which will be to the credit and benefit of the Canadian community and which will encourage and promote the positive reputation of the Legion. (To stand up for Veterans and future Veterans when the world around them is falling apart, even if it is the doing of a Department within the Canadian Government)

As you can see, all of the red identified sections deal with providing for Veterans and their Families. To stand by while an organization (Veterans Affairs Canada) is not doing their job is comparable to the Royal Canadian Legion removing all sections of it's constitution that are highlighted in red.

In the Royal Canadian Legion's Declaration that I have printed below, you will note that by attending the CVNDOP, the Legion will not be in violation of that Declaration for the following reasons:

a. You have sworn Allegiance to the Sovereign and Loyalty to your country (that means the people).

b. You promise to be true to the Purposes and Objectives of the Royal Canadian Legion as set forth under the constitution (see above).

c. The CVNDOP is not against the "Avowed Purposes of the Legion" (we are actually standing beside you in your objectives).

d. The CVNDOP is not advocating an overthrow of the Government of Canada (we are making Canadians aware of the plight of Veterans).

e. The CVNDOP is not encouraging Subversion (Insubordination) or Propaganda (Misinformation) towards the Government of Canada.

Therefore, it is within the Rights and Freedoms of the Royal Canadian Legion to allow it's members to participate in the Canadian Veterans National Day Of Protest. By doing so, the Royal Canadian Legion is doing it's part to care for and provide service to Veterans and their Families under the Constitution that they have chartered.

We await your response and look forward to standing beside you on 6 November 2010 at 1100.


Robin Brentnall, CD
Gambo, NL

Friday, October 15, 2010

Canadian Veterans National Day Of Protest

Good day everyone,

Our CVNDOP is schedued for 6 November 2010 at 11AM at the office of Scott Simms in Gander.

Please join us for a peaceful protest and meet some of your veterans who made a difference in your world!

Robin Brentnall