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“Nothing has changed” — Pat Stogran’s battle cry for veterans care continues under Trudeau

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Stogran alleges ‘malicious’ rumour, harassment from insiders led to quitting NDP leadership race

Post by Loader on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 07:34

Hill TImes - By SAMANTHA WRIGHT ALLEN - Wed June 14 2017

After blaming “insiders” for his decision to pull out from the NDP leadership race less than two months after entering, Pat Stogran says the real reason was far more nefarious: someone within the party had crossed the line, sharing “a malicious and unfounded” story that he thought would harm his family.

Party insiders and people who know him paint a picture of an outsider who brought a breath of fresh air to the race but who didn’t understand the tremendous work required to mount a serious leadership bid.

A media outlet “was investigating a malicious and unfounded story passed to them by political insiders,” which invaded the privacy of “family members,” had no business being public, and
“amounted to harassment,” said Mr. Stogran, best known as Canada’s outspoken first federal veterans ombudsman who served in the Canadian military for over 30 years. He pulled from the                   race June 3.

The retired Canadian Armed Forces colonel wouldn’t comment further on the allegations, and when asked if the “insiders” responsible were connected to another leadership campaign or the party, he said “a combination of both.”

“They’re not mutually exclusive. It was a deliberate attempt and there was collusion…but suffice to say it was enough for me to say it was not worth me putting my reputation on the line and my personal finances in jeopardy to try and bring a party that is dysfunctional as the NDP together to take on politics incorporated,” said Mr. Stogran in a June 12 interview.

Canada’s New Democrats said the party had not received “any complaints or information regarding harassment with regards to the leadership race.”

“We take any allegations of harassment and bullying very seriously and it should not be tolerated,” said NDP national director Robert Fox by email when asked to comment on Mr. Stogran’s allegations.

Many NDP insiders said they were confused by Mr. Stogran’s vague announcement of his departure from the race via a five-minute video posted on YouTube in which he cited the need for party reform and the importance of his family as reasons for quitting. The party’s former interim national director Karl Bélanger said these latest allegations shed some more light on Mr. Stogran’s decision to leave.

“The tone of his video…he seemed genuinely upset. This would explain that. Most people thought it was about the rules in place to join the race,” said Mr. Bélanger, president of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation, who noted that despite being an outsider Mr. Stogran was putting forward a serious effort. “This opens a totally different door.”

Mr. Bélanger, former principal secretary to outgoing leader Thomas Mulcair, said the “serious allegations” could be investigated by the party’s chief electoral officer if an official complaint is lodged.

When asked if he planned to do so, Mr. Stogran said “no.” But he suggested he hoped the party would forgive some of his almost $60,000 in campaign costs, which included a $30,000 “non-refundable” registration fee and $25,000 he forwarded his campaign out of his own pocket.

“As far as I’m concerned, myself and the party, I have nothing to do with them,” said Mr. Stogran, who also said fundraising proved problematic. His supporters had technical difficulties using the party’s website to donate, he said. The party should “accept some degree of responsibility for their administrative effectiveness and our inability to capitalize on the early surge of support that we had in terms of me perhaps not having to go into debt on my own behalf.”

Some NDP insiders suggest Pat Stogran was ill-prepared for the leadership race. His response: ‘I am tens of thousands of dollars in
debt now. Would I have risked that on a whim?’ The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Mr. Fox said all campaigns encountered difficulties as the party rolled out new online tools, which “were corrected several weeks ago.”

“The party has also done everything in its power to minimize the consequences on candidates,” he said.

Not all campaigns responded to The Hill Times‘ query whether their camps had any role in Mr. Stogran’s allegations, though Charlie Angus’ (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.) campaign  emailed “no” and Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby, B.C.) said in a brief interview “we do not campaign that way.”

“I quite frankly would be surprised that any of the campaigns have been involved in that,” he added.

Niki Ashton’s office (Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, Man.) said it was concerned about the allegations and “there is no room for attacks of this nature in politics,” while Jagmeet Singh and Guy Caron (Rimouski Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques, Que.) did not respond to emailed requests for comment by print deadline.

Outsider not prepared for leadership bid, insiders suggest

In interviews last week prior to Mr. Stogran’s allegation of harassment, several NDP insiders took exception to his assertion that the party is “fundamentally flawed” with insiders blocking his way and putting “obstacles in place for candidates trying to grow the party’s base from the grassroots.”

Navigator senior consultant Sally Housser said if a person is seeking to lead a political party they should have an understanding of its culture and the way the party structure works.

“I think it’s unfortunate he felt that frustration, but at the same time I don’t think a party structure can completely change to accommodate somebody because they’ve never had any experience with that party structure before,” said Ms. Housser, who worked as deputy national director of the federal NDP during the 2012 leadership race.

Former NDP national director Robin Sears said the party has been open to outsiders as leaders, including Jack Layton, whom Housser also pointed to as an example. The late Mr. Layton won the party leadership in 2003, a year before he first was elected as an MP.

“This is the sort of comment you get from someone who has put their toe in the water, discovered it is very cold, and leapt back,” said Mr. Sears, a principal of Earnscliffe Strategy Group, by email. “He might want to ask himself why he received such a chilly reception.”

Longtime former NDP veteran affairs critic and current Capital Hill group associate Peter Stoffer said he’d spoken to Mr. Stogran about six months ago and encouraged him to run. While he hadn’t himself encountered the complaints Mr. Stogran made about the party, he said the NDP is “going through an awful lot of challenges right now.”

“To be frank with you, he obviously had some dealings with people in the party that probably weren’t favourable in this regard, but I haven’t spoken to him,” said Mr. Stoffer, who, like Mr. Stogran, has been critical of the party’s connection to unions, noting it only pulls in about 15 per cent of the labour vote.

Some criticism of the party may be warranted, said Ms. Housser, but every candidate faces challenges.

“I think that the federal party seemed to me…to really do a good job of trying to get him in and accommodate that first debate,” said Ms. Housser, who isn’t supporting any candidate but signed Mr. Stogran’s nomination papers to help him get in the race after Mr. Angus noted the candidate was having troubles meeting the requirements.

“There’s some criticisms that are reasonable to be made, but not as strongly as that.”

Several people interviewed praised Mr. Stogran’s passion for making a difference, but described him as a warrior and not a politician. He was a well-intentioned candidate and a breath of fresh air, several said, but one who didn’t have a true understanding of the type of organization, fundraising, and structure needed to run for leader.

“I definitely didn’t,” replied Mr. Stogran, who has described being a politician “distasteful” but said he thought he could change “politics incorporated” from within. “I had huge support coming my way from disaffected individuals from the NDP” and from those disillusioned with other parties, he said.

He had about 20 people working for his campaign across the country, including those he said were “experienced campaigners.” Neither campaign director Patrick McCoy nor communications director Jessica Pointon responded to interview requests. Ms. Pointon took over for Cam Holmstrom, who said by phone he left the role three weeks before for family reasons and had no comment.

Alice Funke of the website Pundits’ Guide said it wasn’t clear Mr. Stogran had “a complete set of expectations” about the demands of a leadership contest, with so much to learn for someone new to electoral politics.

A leadership bid needs a campaign manager with contacts across the country, chairpeople in every province, strong social media engagement, and, first and foremost, “effective fundraisers,” she added.

On Facebook and Twitter, the leading NDP contenders had between three and 10 times his following.

Veterans advocate Jerry Kovacs said he offered to help Mr. Stogran’s campaign about two weeks ago but “he declined my offer.” Though not a member of the NDP, Mr. Kovacs said he offered “because of the connection” and thought Mr. Stogran could fill a political “void” on veterans issues.

But watching from the outside, Mr. Kovacs didn’t see the efforts he would expect, like reaching out to veterans groups to secure endorsements.

“I just never saw any evidence of campaign organization,” said Mr. Kovacs, adding he’s run for city council and provincial politics and worked with several MPs. “He was entering a world which he knew very little about.”

Even so, Mr. Stogran said he was a serious candidate and Mr. Bélanger regarded him as such, pointing to Mr. Holmstrom’s campaign involvement and other longtime NDP staffers who knew what they were doing.

“I am tens of thousands of dollars in debt now. Would I have risked that on a whim?” said Mr. Stogran, who said the party is partly to blame for what has happened to him, pointing to a proverb: “A fish rots from the head down.”
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NDP candidate Pat Stogran announces he’s quitting party leadership race

Post by Guest on Sat 03 Jun 2017, 16:17

June 3, 2017

NDP candidate Pat Stogran announces he’s quitting party leadership race
By Jessica Vomiero
New Democrat leadership candidate Pat Stogran has announced he is quitting the party’s leadership race.

The announcement was made in a YouTube video Saturday in which Stogran called the inner workings of the NDP “fundamentally flawed.” He says they’ve put “major obstacles” in front of candidates trying to grow the party’s base from the grassroots.

The retired Canadian Armed Forces colonel announced his intention to join the leadership race this past April at a downtown Ottawa hotel. Stogran served in the Canadian military for over 30 years and was Canada’s first Veterans Affairs ombudsman between 2007 and 2010.

“I came to the conclusion that my love for family far outweighs my love for politics. Especially selfish, incompetent politics. That’s why it breaks me to my core to be recording this message,” he said in the video.

There are now five official candidates in the race to succeed current leader Tom Mulcair of the NDP, which ends in October.


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Former veterans watchdog Pat Stogran could shake up NDP leadership race

Post by Guest on Mon 24 Apr 2017, 05:46

Former veterans watchdog Pat Stogran could shake up NDP leadership race


The collegial race to lead the federal NDP received an injection of drama this week with the announcement that former veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran is now a candidate.

The New Democrats need something to turn the eyes of Canadian voters their way as they languish below 20 per cent in public opinion polls. And Mr. Stogran, whose frenetic patterns of speech and apparent lack of interest in sticking to the NDP script, could stir the placid waters.

The contest to succeed Tom Mulcair is in a bit of a holding pattern as the party waits for the British Columbia election on May 9 and for the federal Conservatives to elect their leader on May 27. There is hope among New Democrats that, by the end of next month, their leadership fight will gain a national spotlight.

Other candidates are spending this time quietly touring the country and trying to lock up support at the local level. But Mr. Stogran is eager to get into the fray.

“Did you see the two debates?” he asked at a news conference last week to announce his candidacy. “This is one of the reasons why I actually made the plunge. I actually reached out to the party and said how can I interrupt things?”

The debates that were held in Ottawa and Montreal saw the four main contenders – MPs Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, Guy Caron and Peter Julian – chat congenially about social-democratic values and offer many words of agreement about each other’s policies and positions. There were no hard hits like those dished out at similar Conservative events.

Mr. Stogran is unlikely to adhere to that pattern. When asked why he chose to run for the NDP leadership before trying to win a seat as an MP, he said most politicians are “first followers” – supporters whose job is to make a leader’s ideas credible.

“I don’t want to be a first follower,” Mr. Stogran said. “I’ve got to be in charge because I want to break the system. I want to set the conditions for success of the NDP so that there are no longer two parties [the Liberals and the Conservatives] controlling the agenda.”

Karl Belanger, the former interim national director of the party and the former principal secretary to Mr. Mulcair, said he expects Mr. Stogran to shake things up.

“His approach is counter to type for an NDP candidate at this stage,” Mr. Belanger said. “He has a no-nonsense approach, he comes from a military background, he’s been known to speak his mind and he will not hold back. That’s not his style. So that might force some of the other candidates to take a clearer stand on some of the issues.”

The four MPs who are in the race have mixed views about whether the gloves will come off before October.

Mr. Angus has been consulting with Canadians across the country and says his campaign will focus on the “growing economic divide.” The first debates were about establishing the ground work, he said. Going forward, “there’s going to be a lot more testing of ideas.”

Mr. Julian says he has differentiated himself from the others by taking a hard line against the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines. “I know the other candidates, I know how effective they have been. So I think there is an enormous mutual respect that is there, but there are clear issues that are different.”

Ms. Ashton says she has been the only candidate to say the NDP must stay well to the left of the Liberals in the coming election. “I think there is a real sense that the NDP needs to find its way,” she said. But “if people are expecting the same kind of dynamics as the Conservative race, I don’t think they will find it here.”

Mr. Caron, who says he has distinguished himself from the others by proposing a basic minimum income for all Canadians, does believe the discussion will get more heated. “I expect the next debates will be more robust, indeed more rough,” Mr. Caron said. But “we are all in this together. We know what it means to be NDP, to be a social democrat and that is why there is so much agreement.”

There is a fifth candidate in the race named Ibrahim Bruno El-Khoury, a Montreal resident who is relatively unknown in NDP circles and who says he wants to make life better for Canadians. Mr. El-Khoury’s entry is unlikely to affect the established tone.

Mr. Strogran’s might.

And there is still time for other leadership hopefuls to declare their intentions.

New Democrats pushed for a long campaign to encourage outsiders to jump in, said Mr. Belanger. “There is one now. He is a serious candidate. So it will be interesting to see how all these people react now that their wish has been granted.”


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Pat Stogran targets Trudeau for ‘smiling selfies and loquacious lies’

Post by Guest on Thu 20 Apr 2017, 15:14

NDP leadership aspirant Pat Stogran targets Trudeau for ‘smiling selfies and loquacious lies’

In a fiery, populist speech to launch his campaign for the NDP leadership Thursday, the Afghanistan veteran and former veterans ombudsman slammed the political establishment.

Battle tested: Col. Pat Stogran, at Kandahar Airbase in Afghanistan, in 2002.

By ALEX BALLINGALL Ottawa Bureau Thu., April 20, 2017

OTTAWA— Billing himself as an everyman warrior who will fight for “us commoners” against the corporate-friendly political establishment, former veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran launched his campaign to lead the federal New Democratic Party on Thursday.

The retired colonel and Afghan war veteran railed against the Liberals and Conservatives, who he accused of governing in their own self-interest and leaving ordinary Canadians behind through unfair trade deals, corruption and the “fiasco” of trickle down economics.

He took dead aim at Justin Trudeau, claiming the prime minister hides behind “smiling selfies and loquacious lies.”

These include his broken promise to change the electoral system and a failure to adhere to a human rights tribunal ruling to devote more resources to the wellbeing of indigenous children.

“It’s just the same old garbage in a different-coloured bag,” Stogran said in fiery, energetic remarks in a hotel conference room, as he cracked jokes and strayed from the podium, pacing and gesticulating.

“Our system of government is morally and functionally bankrupt,” he said.

“I want to break the system.”

The Canadian Forces veteran served as a United Nations military observer in Bosnia during the outbreaks of ethnic violence in 1994. He also led a Canadian infantry unit that spearheaded operations in Afghanistan in 2002.

Stogran entered the public arena in 2007, when he was appointed Canada’s first-ever veterans ombudsman by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He accused the government of nickel-and-diming veterans, and his position was not renewed in 2010.

Although Stogran is registered to run for the NDP leadership with Elections Canada, he has yet to pay the $30,000-entry-fee and still needs to submit a list of the signatures of 500 members, party spokesperson Guillaume Francoeur confirmed.

Stogran’s communications director, Cameron Holmstrom, said they expect to raise the money and get the signatures in time to appear at the next candidates’ debate on May 27 in Sudbury.

At that point, Stogran will join NDP MPs Niki Ashton, Peter Julian, Charlie Angus and Guy Caron on the ballot to replace current leader Tom Mulcair.

In Thursday’s speech, Stogran said he wants to lead the NDP to bust the entrenched “monopoly rule” of the Liberal and Conservative parties, and to bring a new, compromise-oriented style of governance to Ottawa.

He said the social democratic party has never won power federally partly because members have been “reticent” to compromise on their principles.

Stogran’s NDP would pursue ideas such as an end to the use of fossil fuels, but this would be incremental, not rushed, he said. He isn’t against oil pipelines, for example, and he criticized carbon pricing and road tolls for having an outsized impact on people with lower incomes.

Scant on policy prescriptions, Stogran suggested he would push to eliminate parliamentary pensions for MPs and took a dig at Trudeau’s marijuana legislation for leaving “so many loose ends.”

He added that he hopes to “disrupt” a leadership race that has seen little open conflict between contenders.

“Their (the NDP’s) hearts are in the right place, but what they need is a pragmatic, long-term approach that works progressively towards these goals, instead of this piecemeal patchwork,” he said.

He said his pitch to members is that he can fight for the party’s principles while bringing in moderates from outside the NDP who are tired of the “Politics Incorporated” of the Liberals and Tories.

Stogran heaved a sigh at the end of his speech, as if exasperated, and asked: “Now I’m a politician, how do I look?”

Moments later, he posed for a selfie with a supporter from the audience, Trudeau-style.


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Re: “Nothing has changed” — Pat Stogran’s battle cry for veterans care continues under Trudeau

Post by Bruce72 on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 20:30

If Pat Strogan becomes the leader of the NDP, I will give him my vote in the next federal election without hesitation.
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Re: “Nothing has changed” — Pat Stogran’s battle cry for veterans care continues under Trudeau

Post by pinger on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 20:23

Quote  " Problem is, peacekeeping is virtually impossible today. The bad guys are little more than criminals. No rules are respected. Any mission is going to be dangerous, and to be pretend otherwise is being dishonest. "

Latvia won't be a cake walk either. Bad news in my opinion...
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Re: “Nothing has changed” — Pat Stogran’s battle cry for veterans care continues under Trudeau

Post by Guest on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 17:36

Might be something to consider


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CTV Power Play Interview with Pat Stogran on the NDP Leadership Race

Post by Guest on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 15:30

NDP leadership candidate Pat Stogran discusses why he decided to become the fifth candidate in the race.

March 20, 2017

Click on the link below to view the video:


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Re: “Nothing has changed” — Pat Stogran’s battle cry for veterans care continues under Trudeau

Post by sailor964 on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 07:06

Good for Mr. Stogran.
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Former vets ombudsman considers NDP leadership bid, criticizes 'elite' Liberals and Tories

Post by Guest on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 06:36

Former vets ombudsman considers NDP leadership bid, criticizes 'elite' Liberals and Tories

Trudeau and Harper 'cut from same cloth,' says former vets ombudsman

By Murray Brewster, CBC News Posted: Mar 14, 2017 4:04 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 14, 2017 4:04 PM ET

Pat Stogran is not yet a member of the NDP. 'But I believe it's where I belong, because their heart is the right place,' he says.

Former veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran says he is considering a bid for the federal NDP leadership.

Until 2007, Stogran was a career soldier who led the first Canadian battle group into Kandahar during the Afghan war.

Stogran says he is worried about the direction of the country and what sort of environmental, social and security legacy will be left for his children and their children.

"I served, and I say we need a government with a vision," Stogran said. "I have been apolitical all of my life. I have never belonged to any party. And I have voted based on issues, not the colour of tie they wear."

At the moment, he isn't a member of the NDP.

It is a "huge handicap," Stogran said. "But I believe it's where I belong because their heart is the right place."

Stogran emphasized that he has not made up his mind about running for the leadership, but is being motivated by broken Liberal government promises, including those made to veterans.

Although the Liberals have poured billions of additional dollars into the benefits and treatment of ex-soldiers, they have yet to fulfil a campaign pledge to return to system of lifetime pensions as compensation for injuries.

1st veterans ombudsman

Handpicked to be the country's first veterans ombudsman by the former government of prime minister Stephen Harper, Stogran had many backroom battles with the bureaucracy over benefits and political indifference.

It culminated in 2010 when his term was not renewed and the disagreements with the Conservative government spilled out in the public. Stogran at the time described the attitude of Veterans Affairs as "penny pinching."

In making a bid for the NDP's top job, Stogran said he already brings a reputation of standing up for average people, who are often ignored.

He said he believes people are tired of politics as usual and they're fed up with "corporate elites" running the country through either the Conservatives or the Liberals.

"People have had a gut full of the initiatives of Harper, but [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau is cut from the same cloth," said Stogran. "Same garbage in a different bag."

4 candidates in NDP race

There are currently four candidates in the race to replace Tom Mulcair: Guy Caron, Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton and Peter Julian.

The four declared candidates for the NDP leadership so far, from left: Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron and Peter Julian.

Each of them has long-established roots in the party, something Stogran does not.

The NDP's traditional fault lines — between being a progressive voice and mainstream electable — have re-emerged since Mulcair's ouster last year.

The party's soul-searching was on display at last weekend's leadership debate, as candidates struggled to explain the 2015 election loss.

Charlie Angus speaks during the first debate of the federal NDP leadership race while Niki Ashton and Peter Julian look on, in Ottawa on March 12.

"The left needs to retrench," said Stogran, who believes the party needs to be a rallying point for the disenfranchised.
"Government is about rule of law and human rights. Government is about helping us provide for families. You need pragmatic due diligence in government, but it's about taking care of people."

PTSD treatment

Stogran has been an outspoken advocate for better treatment of soldiers suffering with post-traumatic stress. In 2013, he told CBC News he was being treated for PTSD, which he attributed to the stress of his battles within government, as well as his overseas service.

The party's leadership race remains open to new candidates until July 3.

Ontario NDP deputy leader Jagmeet Singh is another person who is considering a bid for the leader's chair.

The results of the leadership contest will be announced in October.


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“Nothing has changed” — Pat Stogran’s battle cry for veterans care continues under Trudeau

Post by Guest on Thu 10 Nov 2016, 12:06

“Nothing has changed” — Pat Stogran’s battle cry for veterans care continues under Trudeau

POSTED NOVEMBER 10, 2016 9:55 AM

In April, 2014, Ottawa Magazine ran a profile on Pat Stogran, (The Battle Cry of Pat Stogran) Canada’s first Veterans’ Ombudsman and the man who led Canada’s first troops into Afghanistan in 2002. A constant thorn in the side of the Harper government, we recently caught up with Stogran for his thoughts on some of the issues visited in that article, especially with regard to the care of veterans, and whether or not those issues have changed under Trudeau.

Pat Stogran. Photo: Luther Caverly

As Canada’s former Veterans’ Ombudsman, how do you think the current federal government is performing, in regards to its treatment of veterans.

I see a continuation of the same policies we had under the Harper government. Nothing has changed. The lifetime pension is the big one. Getting rid of that was a fundamental change in how we treat veterans. The liberals promised to revisit the issue and they haven’t. There are starting to be quite a few promises [that haven’t been fulfilled] by this government.

It seems almost certain that Canada will soon be sending troops on a peacekeeping mission in Africa. As the commanding officer of the first troops Canada deployed into Afghanistan, what are your thoughts on this potential mission?

I think it would be a mistake and I’ve said as much. We do not have the supports and resources to treat our veterans properly when they return home. We have turned our backs on the sacred trust that used to be the life-long pension for service to your country. Until we have better treatment for our veterans, I would be leery of any peacekeeping or combat mission.

It was a combat mission you led into Afghanistan, the first for Canada since the Korean War. Our next mission will be peacekeeping. What do you think of this return?

I think its politics by the Liberal government. It’s the image they want to convey, a peacekeeping, neutral sort of country. Problem is, peacekeeping is virtually impossible today. The bad guys are little more than criminals. No rules are respected. Any mission is going to be dangerous, and to be pretend otherwise is being dishonest.

When we profiled you for Ottawa Magazine in 2014, you said you were becoming an activist. How is that going?

Full speed ahead. My book is called Rude Awakening: The Government’s Secret War Against Canada’s Veterans and that’s what happened to me when I became Veterans’ Ombudsman. I had a rude awakening as to how government and power really works in this country. It was not pretty. I would be quite content to be a sort of Ralph Nader-type pain-in-their-asses for as long as I can.

Where will you be attending Remembrance Day ceremonies this year?

I used to go to the National Cenotaph every year, but I may not go this year. Remembrance Day has become quite personal for me. I feel it in my heart, but I don’t want to be part of any photo op or pageantry. Not until our veterans are treated with the respect they deserve.


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