An Open E-mail to Prime Minister of Canada
Canada must undo its injustice to brave Allied World War Veterans
British Columbia, Dec. 12, 2008
By Lt Col Pritam Singh Jauhal (Retd) World War II Veteran
Fighting in both World Wars, Commonwealth Armed Forces irrespective
of different nationalities developed comradeship, esprit de corps
and formed themselves into a well-knit “United Family“.
Not only did they respect each other, they died for each other.
They faced successive enemy air-raids, intermittent tanks and
missile attacks, artillery and small arms fires, but survived.
They also survived when ammunition supplies did not catch up with
their fast advances, when their rations and water supplied by
air were cut in half and halved again, when faced with extreme
heat and constant sand-storms of famous Africa’s Western
Desert and when their private mail from beloved ones back home,
took five to six months to arrive by sea.
The Commonwealth Armed Forces men and women, fighting as a “well-knit
team” with valour, determination and high morale, defeated
the enemy in numerous battles, inflicting very heavy casualties
on the enemy and taking thousands of Prisoners of War (P O W).
They too suffered substantial losses. A great many of our brave
men and women died, many got maimed, lost their limbs incapacitating
them for life. The lucky survivors including myself also had to
go through the horrors of War and uncertainty of life. They, still
suffer from wartime nightmares and stresses. This is the life
of a soldier. They volunteered to fight against the Nazis and
Italian Forces in the Middle East and Japanese in South East Asia
respectively, not for them or their families but to protect the
Commonwealth and preserve the Democracy in which different people
could live together and enjoy freedom in peace.
Recognizing the sacrifices made by men and women of Commonwealth
Armed Forces, Canada offered a number of Services and Benefits
to qualified Veterans who lived in Canada. Those included pension,
disability pension, and health related benefits. The non-Canadian
Allied Forces Veterans however, were required to have an additional
ten years residence in Canada to qualify. The qualifying Allied
Veterans were paid “War Veterans’ Allowance”
and granted Medical Benefits depending upon their total annual
To the utter dismay of Allied World War Veterans living in Canada,
Canada dropped a bomb-shell- passing the legislation, granting
them War Veterans Allowance and Medical Benefits was amended in
1995, so that ten years residence in Canada, is no longer a method
of meeting the residence requirements for them. Consequently,
no applications were accepted from Allied Veterans living in Canada
effective February 27, 1995.
By amending the above Legislation, Canada created double standards,
with two sets of rules - one for the Canadian Veterans and the
other for Allied World War Veterans residing in Canada. This amounted
to nothing short of blatant injustice and discrimination against
the Allied Veterans.
While amending its earlier Legislation, did the Canadian Parliamentarians
conclude that the sacrifices made by non-Canadian Allied War Veterans
during the two World Wars were of a lesser degree as compared
to their Canadian counterparts, or they were cowards in the face
of the enemy? Canada’s Parliamentarians are sadly mistaken
if they thought that the World Wars could have been won by Canadian
Forces alone and that there was no need to have other Allied Armed
Forces? History tells us that vast majority of Commonwealth Forces
were from Countries other than Canada, who were in no way inferior
fighters as compared to the Canadians.
The Allied War Veterans who made Canada their home after the
World Wars, worked diligently and extremely hard, leaving no stone
unturned for the progress of their newly adopted young country.
They put their life on the line in World Wars when they were needed
to. Now, being in their eighties and nineties they look sickly
and are in dire need of help for taking care of their personal
matters including hygiene. Canada has a morale responsibility
to take care of them. This can easily be done because with the
passage of time, their numbers have dwindled to three digits only.
Canada is one of the wealthiest countries of the World because
God blessed it with excessive natural resources. It exports electricity,
uranium, fish (World’s largest fish exporter), wheat, timber,
natural gas, coal, pulp, copper, barley, maize, potash, railway
cars, gold, (third in the World).Its economy is far better than
most countries of the World. Its budget has been surplus over
the years. The United Nations declared it as the best country
to live in for many years in a row. One fails to understand, as
to why Canada is so stingy and careless in looking after few hundreds
brave Allied Veterans living in Canada. All Canadians owe them
a heart-felt “THANK YOU“.
Canada has always claimed to be the Leader in the World to safeguard
Human Rights of people. Its own Charter of Rights and Freedoms
of 1982, provides equal rights for all Canadians and prohibits
discrimination on a number of grounds including race, place of
birth, ancestry, place of origin, political belief and religion.
It is hard to understand as to why Allied World War Veterans have
been barred from receiving the Services and Benefits when the
Canadian World War Veterans continue to receive them? This is
a clear violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In fairness to Allied Veterans, it is high time the Legislation
amending the War Veterans Allowance and Medical Benefits to the
Allied World war Veterans effective February 27, 1995 is rescinded.
This E-mail may please be sympathetically perused in detail by
the Prime Minister of Canada. Recognizing the sacrifices and achievements
of Allied World War Veterans during both World Wars, of whom only
a few hundred in their final years now survive and live in Canada
in most pitiable conditions, immediate orders be issued rescinding
the unjust and discriminatory legislation passed barring them
from the entitlement of War Veterans’ Allowance and Medical
Benefits effective February 27, 1995.