The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Rags on Wed 04 Dec 2013, 20:45

Doubt that. Guilt is huge issue with severity of PTSD and not recovering. Had Romeo done the right thing he would have had a different out come.

Points 1 and 5 are not accurate, I dont buy into the concept portrayed in either point. Especially point 5.

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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Guest on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 08:04

rags buds kinda gotta partly disagree.NOT ON THE ROMEO POINT.

on point one I see no way for it to be preventable but I do see how all CAN be vulnerable to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. im not saying they WILL get it just saying they can. say heightened vigilance and anxiousness. you get involved in something and soon as it gets noisy BAM you get faster you think faster you sweat faster,move faster. this continues as long as the perceived threat is there and then you have a very noticeable crash sometimes you vomit at this time. yes maybe severe but not prolonged just there as long as you need it. maybe PTSD maybe not but it sure does match a lot of the symptoms.

on point 5 as I said I don't think its preventable but I think its treatable not to the point of elimination but treatment can help you live with it a little better.

just my opinion

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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Teentitan on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 11:12

I strongly believe the 'culture' of being a tough guy in the CF is the biggest obstacle to overcome when dealing with PTSD.

A soldier does not want to show weakness so they hide it and let it fester.

I have told CF/VAC for years set up an after work hours place outside of the CF Base and more will step forward and ask for help.

As for point 5 I think the word Manegable should have been used instead of Preventable. The word preventable purely contradicts point 1.
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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Rags on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 11:26

I was so pissed yesterday after the 4th suicide and foolish comments from morons like Romeo and Col Jetly. Some idiot on the news local talking crap about PTSD. I may have just flashed off a few comments without full explanations.
Propat I agree with you I was not clear enough of my view of point 5. I do believe it is treatable and treating it is so vital to survival and improvement. It is in no way Preventable!!!! In fact we keep lumping depression and PTSD and combat stress in same basket they are different. I subscribe to the US late 90s view of things which is that soldiers get Combat Stress under specific conditions, if not properly dealt with it develops into severe PTSD. But will always develop into some milder level of PTSD. Guilt is a key factor in length and severity of the PTSD coupled with treatment.

As for point 1 I subscribe to mid 90s view of the test for PTSD which is you have to be in the issue not just looking at its aftermath. Swiss Air is key explanation of the view. You cant get PTSD from clean up, only if you where in the crash and survived. It is that simple. Now to argue the issue of then how do first responders get PTSD if they just observe and are not the subject of the trauma in my argument. Well that is simple it is a combat stress concept, just apply the Combat Stress concept to first responder who is daily subjected to the visual trauma and stress of trying to save people which is not the same as just observing death. Day in day out eposed to this they get a form of combat stress if not handle a very specific way. That stress develops into PTSD.

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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Guest on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 14:03

k got ya rags I understand and do agree.

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N.S. veteran lobbying for federal government to recognize PTSD service dogs

Post by Guest on Tue 13 Dec 2016, 07:25

N.S. veteran lobbying for federal government to recognize PTSD service dogs



CTV Atlantic
Published Monday, December 12, 2016 8:30PM AST

A Nova Scotia veteran is taking on the federal government in his fight to have post-traumatic stress disorder service dogs recognized the way all other service dogs are.
Retired Cpt. Medric Cousineau says following his service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, his service dog Thai changed his life.
“She is the wheelchair for my mind,” he said.

Cousineau started an organization called "Paws Fur Thought" to help other veterans get psychiatric service dogs, and now he's taking his motion to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The issue is really quite simple,” he said. “If you have a service dog and you have severe autism, severe diabetic, epileptic seizures, it also covers guide dogs for the blind, your expenses for your dog are a medical expense tax credit.”

But owners of psychiatric service dogs do not. Cousineau says on Friday, he received a letter from the minister stating the government needs more time.
“They're our champion and they've abandoned us,” he said. “They've betrayed us.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has two projects underway to evaluate the use of psychiatric service dogs as a treatment for PTSD. They're expected to be completed by December of next year.
A communications advisor says that evidence will help the tax credit be considered more favourably by the Minister of Finance.

Former MP and veterans advocate Peter Stoffer says the letter is “a slap in the face.”
“The finance minister can just snap his fingers and make it happen,” Stoffer said. “Why are they putting up roadblocks and barriers? They know what needs to be done.”
Medric Cousineau says this is about much more than a tax issue.
“It manifests itself that way, but what this is really is a human rights issue,” he said. “We're being discriminated against.”
Cousineau wants to ensure everyone living with PTSD is treated equally.

http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/n-s-veteran-lobbying-for-federal-government-to-recognize-ptsd-service-dogs-1.3200539

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PTSD top diagnosis for troops in danger of being forced from military

Post by Guest on Wed 14 Dec 2016, 17:20

PTSD top diagnosis for troops in danger of being forced from military: records

In this file photo, members of a Manitoba military base are seen walking along the Assiniboine River near Portage La Prairie, Man., Wednesday, May 11, 2011.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 14, 2016 4:44PM EST

OTTAWA -- Internal Defence Department records show post-traumatic stress as the top diagnosis for hundreds of troops at risk of being forced out of the military because they are too sick or injured for duty.

The documents, obtained by The Canadian Press through the access to information law, underscore the toll the mental-health injury is taking on the Canadian Forces and those who serve in uniform.

They also highlight the importance of proper mental-health services for those still serving in the military, as well as those forced to leave for medical reasons.

Military personnel are required to be physically able to perform their duties and deploy on missions at any given time as a condition for continued employment in the Forces.

Anyone who is unable to meet this so-called Universality of Service principle for medical reasons is given time to recover. If recovery is not possible, they are released from the military

According to the records, produced by the military's health-services branch, more than 1,300 troops assessed between June 2014 and July 2015 were "at high risk" of never returning to duty.

Of those, PTSD was by far the most common diagnosis, with 290 cases, or about one in every four. That compared to 150 military personnel with back injuries and 124 with knee injuries.

Military health officials saw the same results between January and December 2013, when just over 20 per cent of the 1,217 military personnel at risk of being released had been diagnosed with PTSD, versus 12 per cent with back injuries.

The documents do not provide any explanation for the results, but the question of whether Canadian military personnel are receiving adequate mental-health supports has been a constant theme since the war in Afghanistan.

There have also been concerns about the difficulties which injured troops who are forced from the military face as they attempt to transition into civilian life, particularly if they have a mental-health injury.

National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier said in an email that caring for military personnel is a top priority and that the Armed Forces are committed to providing the care and support they need.

"Great efforts are made to identify members at risk for mental-health problems and to provide them with assistance in the form of treatment, counselling, and other types of support," he said.

"We have an expert health-care system, but in order for us to help each other, it is essential that all military personnel, like all Canadians, recognize mental-health issues as they develop."

But Michael Blois, former president of the Afghanistan Veterans Association of Canada, said his fear is that troops with PTSD are being forced out more than those with back or knee injuries, because their cases are more complex, not because there are more of them.

"It's much easier to just get them out of the army," said Blois.

"As opposed to having the patience to see what kind of functioning comes back provided the right kind of care is given to them and the right people are available."
Finding ways to keep more personnel suffering from PTSD and other mental-health injuries in uniform would also help address the military's ongoing shortage of personnel, Blois said.

Auditor general Michael Ferguson reported last month that the Canadian Armed Forces is short roughly 4,000 trained people.

Following a report last month that 18 members of the military committed suicide in 2015, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan promised the government's new defence policy will spare no expense when it comes to supporting the troops.

The policy is expected early next year.

The military has also taken steps to fix the support unit for ill and injured military personnel, which had been plagued with problems stemming from understaffing and poor training for those who work in the unit.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ptsd-top-diagnosis-for-troops-in-danger-of-being-forced-from-military-records-1.3203615

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Veteran with PTSD delivers blunt message to Justin Trudeau

Post by Guest on Thu 15 Dec 2016, 16:30

Veteran with PTSD delivers blunt message to Justin Trudeau

FRAM DINSHAW | STAFF REPORTER
Published December 15, 2016 - 4:06pm
Last Updated December 15, 2016 - 5:09pm


Ten months after writing to the prime minister advocating that psychiatric service dogs should be included in tax deductions retired air force Capt. Medric Cousineau says people suffering with serious mental health issues are “subjected to a systematic discrimination.”

Retired air force Capt. Medric Cousineau had one more mission to complete: trek 1,065 kilometres across Canada in 50 days to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder.

More than three years later his mission is far from complete, as he appeared in Halifax alongside former MP Peter Stoffer Tuesday to demand tax exemptions to help veterans who own service dogs.

Such tax exemptions exist for those people with conditions such as epilepsy or autism, but not those suffering from mental health issues.


Thai, service dog of Retired Captain Medric Cousineau, during the announcement on service dogs for veterans at the Province House.

“I find it scandalous that Canadians who suffer from serious mental health issues are subjected to a systematic discrimination,” said Cousineau, when asked what he would tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

His remarks come 10 months after he wrote Trudeau, calling on him to include psychiatric service dogs in tax deductions, saying that many of their owners are either veterans or first responders.

This was followed by a second letter in August to Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, urging him to address the issue of service dog tax exemptions.

Hehr replied on Dec. 9 that the government was funding three research initiatives related to service animals to assess how they may help veterans with PTSD.

Six days later, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said that his biggest regret in the past year was a slow rate of improvement in supports for Canadian troops dealing with psychiatric injury and other issues.

But that wasn’t enough for Stoffer, who said Ottawa’s use of studies were “delaying tactics,” and something that he has seen for the past three or four years.

“The reality is we already know that service dogs for post-traumatic stress veterans and civilians save lives,” said Stoffer.

He said the Liberals could easily use their majority government status to vote on an amendment to ensure that psychiatric service dogs were covered by tax breaks.

“It’s as simple as that. It is not rocket science. It can be done,” said Stoffer.



http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1424795-veteran-with-ptsd-delivers-blunt-message-to-justin-trudeau

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Nova Scotia veterans, politicians call on feds to recognize PTSD service dogs

Post by Guest on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 06:57

Nova Scotia veterans, politicians call on feds to recognize PTSD service dogs

During a press conference in Halifax, a cross-party group of politicians and veterans called on the government to allow a tax break for PTSD service dogs.

By: Zane Woodford Metro Published on Thu Dec 15 2016

A group of Nova Scotia veterans and politicians from two parties is calling on the federal government to level the playing field for people with service dogs for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Led by former NDP Member of Parliament Peter Stoffer, veterans Medric Cousineau and Stu Rodgers, PC leader Jamie Baillie and NDP MLA Dave Wilson held a press conference at Province House on Thursday to call for changes to the Disability Tax Credit.

As is, the credit allows people who are severely visually or hearing impaired, have sever autism, or severe epilepsy qualify for a tax credit for expenses related to a service dog.

People with PTSD do not qualify for that tax credit.

The federal government has said that it’s waiting to change that till it gets the results of a study on the efficacy of service dogs for people with PTSD.

“The reality is, we already know that service dogs for post-traumatic stressed veterans and civilians save lives,” Stoffer said. “We already know that. You don’t need a study that says that.”

Stoffer suggested the study was a delay tactic, and the government could make the necessary changes anytime it pleases. He said waiting till the study is done – likely a year from now – would delay the change to the tax credit till December 2018.

“You do not have to wait that long,” he said. “I’d like to remind my federal Liberal counterparts in government of Canada, you have a majority government. There’s absolutely nothing, legally, politically, socially, morally, nothing stopping them by the end of this day from making this happen.”

Cousineau, a retired Air Force Captain diagnosed with PTSD was paired with his service dog, Thai in 2012. He’s become an advocate for veterans using service dogs to cope with PTSD through his organization, Paws Fur Thought.

“What we’re asking for, the no less, the no more, is something that should be an absolute no-brainer, because we as Canadians will not stand for discrimination,” he said.

“I know if it was up to the Canadian public, they would fix this, and they would fix this because it is the right, Canadian thing to do.”

http://www.metronews.ca/news/halifax/2016/12/15/nova-scotia-veterans-call-feds-recognize-ptsd-service-dogs.html









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Paws Fur Thought

Post by Guest on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 10:25

Paws Fur Thought

GLOBAL NEWS MORNING
December 15 2016 6:51am

Veterans’ Advocate Peter Stoffer and Paws Fur Thought founder Medric Cousineau talk more about how PTSD Service Dogs are not treated the same as other service dogs when it comes to medical tax deductible benefits.



http://globalnews.ca/video/3128608/paws-fur-thought#[/b]

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The scourge and ill effects of PTSD just won’t go away

Post by Guest on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 15:18


Passing muster may sometimes appear romantic, but for many veterans there can be a giant dark side.

The scourge and ill effects of PTSD just won’t go away

By Terry Haig
Friday 16 December, 2016

Any doubts about the lasting scars–mental, physical and psychological–that members of the military carry with them as they prepare to face an ofttimes bleak and unpredictable future might well be dispelled by newly published internal Defence Department statistics.


Canadian troops taking part in a joint exercise with Polish troops not far from Ukraine’s western border earlier this year.

According to the records, obtained by The Canadian Press through the access to information law, more than 13-hundred troops assessed between June 2014 and July 2015 were at high risk of never returning to duty.

Of that group, 290 were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the condition that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

It’s a pernicious disorder, a life-long military legacy that most experts say never really goes away.

Don Leonardo lives with it every day.

A third generation member of the Canadian military who served as a peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s, Leonardo is a long-time veterans advocate who is president of Veterans Canada, whose 8,000 members constitute the second largest (after the Canadian Legion) veterans group in the country.

When it comes to discussing PTSD, Leonardo knows all too well of which he speaks.

He joined me by phone from his home in Calgary.

Listen: http://www.rcinet.ca/console.php?id=7650029&image=http://img.src.ca/2016/12/16/635x357/161216_5g68c_rci-don-leonardo_sn635.jpg&locale=en&appCode=medianet

http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2016/12/16/canada-the-scourge-and-ill-effects-of-ptsd-just-wont-go-away/

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NS veterans want Medical Expense Tax Credit to include psychiatric service dogs

Post by Guest on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 16:20



CANADA December 16, 2016 4:52 pm

NS veterans want Medical Expense Tax Credit to include psychiatric service dogs

By Sean Previl


Medric Cousineau's service dog Thai lies on the floor of a Province House hallway in Halifax on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.

Nova Scotia veterans, politicians and members of the public advocating for recognition of PTSD and other psychiatric service dogs are calling on the federal government to allow for the animals to be covered under the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC).

Veterans, many of whom were accompanied by service dogs, as well as politicians and the public gathered at Province House on Thursday to raise awareness and call on the government to recognize how the service dogs help people medically.

Retired captain Medric Cousineau of the Royal Canadian Air Force and founder of Paws Fur Thought – which helps veterans get qualified psychiatric service dogs – said service dogs can be used by people with various needs — but not everyone recognizes that.

“Once we step into public with our dog, because we’re not visually impaired, it often leads to inappropriate questions, finger pointing, stares, it’s stigmatizing enough,” said Cousineau, who was joined Thursday by his own service dog, Thai. “In a lot of cases [it] is because of unawareness.”

According to Paws fur Thought’s website, service dogs are therapy dogs to be used “in conjunction with traditional therapies” like medication and counselling. The Mental Health Foundation also says on its website the dogs are trained to “sense and react to their partner’s triggers and physiology.” The foundation says the dogs help their partners by preventing anxiety attacks, diverting attention and providing other coping mechanisms.

Cousineau told Global News having a service animal can have a big impact on a person’s life, but for those with PTSD like himself, it can be a different story.

“What they don’t see is these dogs are our lifeline, they are our medical appliance, they are our wheelchairs for our minds for want of a better word,” Cousineau said.

He said adding psychiatric service dogs into the tax code could allow veterans and other owners of these dogs, such as first responders, to save a few hundred dollars a year.

Currently animals listed as eligible under the tax credit, according to the Canada Revenue Agency, are those assigned to people who are blind, “profoundly deaf,” severely affected by autism or epilepsy, have severe diabetes or have a severe or prolonged impairment restricting the use of their arms or legs.

But Cousineau said those who qualify for a Disablity Tax Credit – required to apply for the METC – can’t get the medical tax credit because they and their service animal do not fall under those eligibility requirements.

He said he has been in touch with several members of the federal government including Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, but feels not enough is being done.

His press secretary, Annie Donolo, said in a statement Friday to Global News that wrote the government reviews and expands the list of eligible expenses on an ongoing basis. She also wrote that the Department of Veterans Affairs launched a “pilot study” to look into whether psychiatric service dogs are a “safe and effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder” and is also seeking to establish national standards to “provide assurance” service dogs meet proper training and behaviour standards.

“Finance Canada looks forward to receiving the results of these projects,” Donolo wrote. “They will provide important evidence as the department considers whether the list of eligible expenses should be expanded to include psychiatric service dogs.”

But Cousineau said the government isn’t moving fast enough.

“It is a one-line fix,” Cousineau said. “We are not asking you to reinvent fire, the wheel, or split the atom, all we’re asking them for is to do what’s right.”

Former Sackville-Eastern Shore NDP MP Peter Stoffer said studies have taken place before.

“You don’t treat an injury with delay, you treat an injury with speed and efficiency,” Stoffer said.

Cousineau, Stoffer, and Canadian veteran Sgt. Stuart Rodgers, were also joined by Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie and N.S. NDP house leader Dave Wilson who both pushed for change.

Baillie, whose party introduced the Psychiatric Service Dogs Tax Credit Act in the legislature in April, said trying to persuade the federal government to make the change nationally has caused frustration.

“We’re trying to fix an injustice,” Baillie told Global News. “People with PTSD and mental illness deserve equal treatment to people with physical illness under our tax code and the government in Ottawa, even the Liberal government here provincially, they have the power to make that happen.”

Wilson said Ottawa needs “not to discriminate” against those with mental illness who have service dogs – which can include veterans and first responders – and the issue is something all political parties should look at.

“This issue transcends political lines,” Wilson said. “I think Canadians of all political stripes support improving services for our veterans, [and] for first responders.”

A letter from the Royal Canadian Legion’s dominion president David Flannigan also called on the government to “take immediate action” and consider “the addition of mental illness” to the tax credit.

http://globalnews.ca/news/3129127/ns-vets-want-medical-expense-tax-credit-to-include-psychiatric-service-dogs/

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Uneven tax rules for PTSD service dogs is 'discrimination': vets advocate

Post by Guest on Sat 17 Dec 2016, 06:04

Uneven tax rules for PTSD service dogs is 'discrimination': vets advocate

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1018670

Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, December 16, 2016 8:52PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 16, 2016 11:12PM EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the previous Conservative government of “nickel and diming” Canada’s veterans and vowed to deliver “respect, support and a real shot at a bright future” for those that served during the 2015 election campaign.

But unanswered calls for a tax break on service dogs for people with post-traumatic stress disorder has raised accusations of discrimination.

Veterans that rely on service dogs to cope with PTSD are not afforded the same write-offs as service dog owners with chronic conditions like epilepsy or autism because PTSD is not on the government’s list of eligible conditions.

Retired Capt. Medric Cousineau is working to convince the government that needs to change. He’s frustrated by the lack of attention to what he says amounts to a human rights issue.

“This is representative of the distain that has been shown to the veteran’s community,” he told CTV’s Power Play on Friday. “All we want is equality, no more, no less.”
Cousineau, who was awarded the Star of Courage for his service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, is the founder of Paws Fur Thought, a volunteer group that works to pair service dogs with veterans in need. He says the number of former service members requesting tax assistance for their service dogs is small, but that does not excuse the dismissive response.

“I opened the dialogue on the tenth of February and the first response I got back was from Minister Morneau’s office in the middle of July. He didn’t answer the questions,” he said.

A statement from Annie Donolo, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a pilot study to evaluate the use of service dogs as a treatment for PTSD as well as form national standards for psychiatric service dog training.

“The inconvenient truth of the matter is the study that they are talking about involves 26 dogs. I placed 10 of those dogs in the study,” said Cousineau. “If we are lucky, it will hit the budget in 2018, (and be) implemented in 2019.”

That wait could cost lives. A report from the top medical officer in the Canadian Forces examining the 18 service members who died of suicide in 2015 found five of those individuals had a trauma or stress-related disorder. The 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey found more than 11 per cent of regular forces personnel met the criteria for PTSD at some point in their life.

Service dogs like Cousineau’s yellow Labrador “Thai” are specially trained to sense his partner’s triggers, prevent anxiety attacks, stop night terrors, and encourage positive coping mechanisms. He believes broader access to tax benefits for service dog owners could be life-changing for low-income veterans who would not otherwise be able to afford one.

Those who support the proposed change to the federal tax legislation have been using the Twitter hashtag #DiscriminationIsUnCanadian to raise the issue with Trudeau and Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr.

“They see this as a service dog issue when in fact this is categorically a human rights one. We’re not being treated the same as other disabled Canadians,” said Cousineau. “We are being discriminated against.”

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/uneven-tax-rules-for-ptsd-service-dogs-is-discrimination-vets-advocate-1.3207483

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Dallaire’s on a mission and it’s not impossible

Post by Guest on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 05:38

Dallaire’s on a mission and it’s not impossible

Child soldiers in conflicts around the world has exploded, but Roméo Dallaire's Child Soldiers Initiative is having a global impact on preventing the use of child soldiers. And it's the only initiative of its kind in the world.

By KATE MALLOY
PUBLISHED : Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 12:00 AM
OTTAWA—At the end of his powerful and painfully honest memoir, Waiting For First Light: My Ongoing Battle With PTSD, Roméo Dallaire says he was surprised to discover how much he wants to live today.

“As I approach the end of this book, I’m also approaching my 70th birthday. I am surprised to find that I am angry at that number—angry that I might be running out of time. For the first time since I returned from Rwanda, I am surprised to realize that my wish to end my life has been trumped by a desire to stay alive and continue my mission. I’m angry I don’t have more time to keep working on behalf of child soldiers, on behalf of veterans on PTSD. As I race around the globe, meeting with heads of state and international organizations—Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Iraq, and the Hague this month alone—I’m angry that I can’t do more. And I understand that the anger comes from a place of hope,” Mr. Dallaire writes.

The retired lieutenant-general, former Liberal Senator, and former force commander for UNAMIR in 1993 who tried unsuccessfully to get the world to stop the 1994 Rwandan genocide and left the mission broken, tortured, and suicidal, said in an interview with The Hill Times recently that he has a powerful purpose in his life and it’s to continue his mission, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

Mr. Dallaire talked more about the initiative than his new book, Waiting For First Light, which he said are both part of dealing with his ongoing PTSD.

“It’s a question of managing it and with therapy, and medication, and peer support and, particularly, to give it a focus, to build a prosthesis to be on top of the constant assaults that it creates in your mind, and I came to discover that committing to humanitarian effort, to something human, to refocus the life, was a significant answer,” said the former top political and military figure in the interview about his book and his Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

The book is his story and the initiative is his way of giving back to the world.

The initiative is the only one of its kind in the world and he and his executive director Shelly Whitman, who run it out of Dalhousie University in Halifax along with a team, are seeing global results to their security-sector approach to prevent the use and recruitment of child soldiers in conflicts around the world. The team works with police, military, and peacekeepers to prevent and eventually eradicate the use of child soldiers in wars. It educates and trains soldiers to deal with child soldiers when confronted in wars. The team gives soldiers the tactical framework and the tools to face children and to reduce the levels of force in order to “stop them from having to kill kids,” by extracting them, keeping them alive, and making them less and less effective.

Child-protection officers on missions are also helping troops to understand and to react differently, de-escalating the frictions and the conflicts, and extracting child soldiers, he said.

“It’s getting momentum in the Northern Hemisphere and it has significant momentum in the Southern Hemisphere where they’ve signed MOUs: Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Colombia,” said Mr. Dallaire. “We go in and convince these guys that they have a liability here and they don’t have an effective weapons system. We were in South Sudan and we were able to get 300 kids out.”

It’s funded by donations and in part by Wounded Warriors Canada, but it’s also looking for federal government funding for two upcoming major projects. Members of its international advisory committee include Maurice Baril, former Sierra Leone child soldier Ishmael Beah, Patrick Cammaert, Michel Chikwanine, Nigel Fisher, Robert Fowler, Mobina Jaffer, Paul Martin, James Orbinski, Gérard Veilleux, and Jody Williams.

One of their recent graduates went to Sierra Leone to train more than 400 police officers who were deployed to peacekeeping operations around the world.

Their team is also working in Uganda and it helped the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague to bring in a new policy to prosecute people who are recruiting children, which is a crime against humanity. They’ve run round tables with child soldiers and helped NATO build its standing operating procedures. NATO also asked Mr. Dallaire’s team to train their commanders.

They just returned from the U.K. where the British are going to amend their doctrine and adopt the security-sector approach, and Holland is also looking at it. The Canadian Forces have adopted it and are now finalizing Mr. Dallaire’s doctrine on child soldiers and Canadian soldiers will be trained under the UN Security Council resolutions, he said.

Mr. Dallaire’s team is also researching new tactics to disarm child soldiers and has found that women have a bigger impact on influencing child soldiers than men in conflict scenarios. They’re also training the forces deployed to look at the children differently so there’s a higher level of respect and recognition. The trainers are trained for three to five years “to change the ethos,” said Mr. Dallaire.

“Remembering that many of these conflicts in these imploding nations, the mobilization for that, are the children, not the adults. They’ll mobilize the children in the thousands and thousands before they get adults to play in this stuff,” said Mr. Dallaire.

They do practical training by putting trainers through 11 scenario-based interactions on how to prepare them, so the first time they see a child soldier isn’t on the battlefield in order that they’re prepared “to interact when a child is at a checkpoint with a gun, or when a child is being used as a human shield or a sex slave,” said Ms. Whitman. “So we walk through those in a very practical approach.”

Ms. Whitman said there are troops that don’t even want to go into conflicts where there are child soldiers, but they need to be trained.

“It’s to the point now that we have built a really strong cadre of trained trainers who are now also going around the world, on our behalf, and taking it upon themselves in putting that into their training indoctrinate. We couple that with the education program that we’re doing for children between the ages of 8 and 12 to teach them about prevention and their own self-protection, so it’s creating a national system and we’re starting to export that to other country contacts as well,” said Ms. Whitman.

The SOS Children’s Villages estimates that since 1998, child soldiers have been involved in 36 countries. Over the last 15 years, for instance, 10,000 children have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. It estimates that two million children have been killed in conflicts and more than 10 million have been left with serious psychological trauma.

The use of child soldiers has exploded in conflicts around the world, said Mr. Dallaire, because they’re cheap, used a tactical and strategic advantage, and are easily manipulated to kill.

“The whole construct of conflict now is based on using children as a primary weapons system. It’s not a sideshow anymore. It’s a mainstay, like ISIS and so on, and so unless we face that, and tactics face that, we’re also taking casualties, which brings you back to, ‘How many kids can our guys kill before they can’t live with themselves?’ and there’s got to be another way of making those children ineffective, without having to use, necessarily, lethal force. So we believe both that we’re going to be reducing casualties in the children’s side, but we’re going to be reducing casualties on our side too by in fact giving them better tools and better prepared to fact this type of threat,” says Mr. Dallaire.

The first time he saw a child soldier in Rwanda, he didn’t actually recognize he was a soldier. In the Rwandan genocide, an estimated 500,000 to one million Tutsis were slaughtered by the Hutus in a 100-day period between April to mid-July 1994. “So a 13-year-old with an AK47 at a checkpoint is totally unpredictable and can pull the trigger just by accident while an adult at least has a different negotiating premise to work from,” said Mr. Dallaire.

Ms. Whitman said one of greatest antidotes for soldiers with PTSD who have been in conflicts with child soldiers is training them to prevent the use of child soldiers.

“If it’s a moral injury that you have incurred, you address that moral injury by doing something that is also moral in its approach and that’s why focusing on children and trying to do things like ending child shoulders is so incredibly valuable,” Ms. Whitman said.

ISIS, for instance, also targets young Western children for generational warfare, showing children being trained for horrific acts of violence in order to send a clear message, said Ms. Whitman. “If you want to come here and if you want to enter this war on the ground, this what you’re going to have to cope with.”

The team is also helping police forces in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, and Halifax to deal with youth gangs and extreme violence.

Today, Mr. Dallaire is one of the world’s leading humanitarians and he’s proud of his initiative’s work. He said Waiting for First Light is another way to handle his ongoing PTSD, which he deals with every day.

“The book is about living with that and trying to find a way out of it, and the output of that is mourning the old guy who used to be there, realizing the one there will never be what he used to be, and if anything comes out of that, it’s to make veterans realize that they can live with it and even blossom with it by getting back into engaging with human beings,” said Mr. Dallaire.

Mr. Dallaire, who won the Governor General’s Literary Award for his book Shake Hands with the Devil, which exposed the world’s failure to stop the Rwandan genocide, has also received a number of awards, including the Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 and the United Nations Association in Canada’s Pearson Peace Medal in 2005. His second book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, was a national bestseller.

Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle With PTSD, by Roméo Dallaire with Jessica Dee Humphreys, Random House Canada, 184 pp., $32.

The Hill Times

https://www.hilltimes.com/2016/12/19/dallaires-mission-not-impossible/90954


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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Dannypaj on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 06:11

Canada has a very excellent Cadet program who engage thousands of children from ages 12 to 18, so Canada has no children soldiers?  
Pretty sure I have seen many dressed like mini soldiers.
I would be a hypocrites if I was to say differently.  
I was being trained (exposed) at CFB Baden, pretty sure I was under sixteen.


Last edited by Dannypaj on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 12:11; edited 1 time in total
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