Retired General Belzile was Rejected For Care At Veterans Health Centre
The Canadian Values Party will put a stop to the injustice of this by all past governments. This is only one example of how the Liberals, Conservatives & the NDP have ignored our Canadian Vets. The CVP firmly believes that “if you can’t stand behind veterans… feel free to stand in front of them.”
* Get involved, contact us, let’s build this new Federal Party and make this a country we can once again be proud of. “No More Politics in Politics”.
Lieutenant General Charles Belzile, one of the popular soldiers and beloved by most Canada’s veterans, including those of the Korean War and the years since, is now very ill and incapacitated and his family would greatly appreciate it if he could be admitted to the Veteran’s Wing of the Perley and Rideau Veterans Health Centre in Ottawa.
However, General Belzile is one of those soldiers who arrived in Korea after the Korean War Military Armistice Agreement went into effect. Only veterans from the Second World War and the Korean War are eligible to receive government-funded long term care treatment in the government facilities.
He served in Korea with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, initially as a platoon commander. He and his men patrolled the DMZ right to the wire that runs along the Military Demarcation Line. Sometimes they would meet a Chinese patrol. At times there would be sporadic fire from both sides. On one occasion he led a patrol to the MDL to retrieve a soldier from Canada’s Royal Highland Regiment who had accidentally crossed the wire in darkness and had been captured.
He and his men spent much time clearing mines from the lines and behind the lines and had casualties.
In various ranks he served on various many Nations and NATO deployments.
In Korea on a special November 11 revisit in 2013, General Belzile told veterans at his table in the Grand Ambassador Hotel in Seoul, “Please, just call me Charlie. I am not in the army anymore.” Then he added, “But I do have a history.”
While he commanded the entire Canadian Army before his retirement, he is perhaps the most congenial and unpretentious of any general officer of modern times.
Of his days as a lieutenant in Korea, leading a platoon whose soldiers he would remember always, he has said, “In those days my mind didn’t go much beyond being a lieutenant.”
A native French speaker, in his service prior to becoming a general officer he was adjutant of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, and then commanding officer of the French-speaking Royal 22e Regiment, Canada’s famous ‘Vandoos.’
As a major general he commanded Canada’s forces in Europe and later, as a lieutenant general, he was commander of the entire Canadian Army.
Among his many prestigious roles following his retirement General Belzile served as the honorary grand president of the Royal Canadian Legion, and as the president of the Normandy Battlefields Association, now called the Canadian Battlefields Association.
While his country did not award him the Korean War Medal because he arrived in Korea after the armistice, he did receive the United Nations Medal for the Korea War and – 40-some years later – the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal Korea. He also received campaign medals for his NATO and United Nations deployments.
General Belzile has been invested in the Order of Canada, the Order of Military Merit, the Canadian Decoration and France’s French Légion d’Honneur.
Canada, using now ancient legislation conceived with lack of knowledge or disregard of the war situation that existed in Korea in the immediate post war year, denies the long-term care benefit to any soldier who landed in Korea after July 27, 1953.
Of the 378 Canadian soldiers buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery at Busan, 22 of them lost their lives after the cease fire agreement went into effect.
All 378 of those good soldiers, including the 22 who fell following the July 27, 1953 armistice, are listed in Canada’s Korean War Book of Remembrance which is enshrined in the Peace Tower at the Canadian Parliament buildings.
The United States, using more enlightened criteria, awarded the Korea Service Medal all service personnel who served in Korea from June 25, 1950 through December, 1954 – adding an extra year to the eligibility requirement. This was done in light of the continuous intense situation along the border, the woundings and deaths of many American soldiers, and the very real situation in which the enemy forces might attack South Korea again without any warning.
They are all granted the same veterans benefits.
Lieutenant Commander (Ret’d) Bill Black, president of the National Capital Unit of the Korea War Veterans Association of Canada has written a poignant letter to an official at the Perley and Rideau Veterans Health Care Centre.
He references General Belzile’s current health condition. He also alludes to an article published by the Korean War veteran that discussed the unfortunate situation in which Korean War Veterans of the post-armistice period are denied privileges and rights that are available to veterans who served in the Korean War prior to the signing of the armistice agreement.
The first part of his message deals with General Belzile and comments made by General’s Belzile’s wife. She advised Bill Black that it would be several years before her husband could be admitted to the Perley and Rideau center.
Even if that happened, Bill Black points out in his letter, that General Belzile would only be entitled to be admitted to the senior citizen’s part of the complex, for which he would be charged room and board. He would be denied admission to the Veteran’s wing because he arrived in Korea after July 27, 1953 and is not classified as a war veteran who meets the criteria for residency in a veterans long-term care facility.
Here is part of Bill Black’s letter:
… Furthermore, because he, a retired Lt. General not having served in War would
not be classified as a veteran, therefore would be of ineligible status for the veterans’ wing.
And of course further ignominy is the fact these ‘non’ veterans pay much more for long term car than the ‘real’ veterans the government recognizes.
The men killed in Korea- post war years are listed in the Korean War Book of Remembrance –not in the Peacekeepers’. Actually the term Peacekeeper was an unknown term in the early 1950’s.
Amazingly our government has managed to identify three distinctly separate
classifications of veterans. Yet, have not all veterans, post Korean War Armistice era agreed to lay down their lives in Defence of Freedom and serve wherever they are sent?
I think the proof is abundantly illustrated with the numbers of Canadian men and women who’ve paid the supreme sacrifice these past 63 years since Korea.
Perhaps it’s time we set the record straight and disentangle this illogical disgraceful and appalling veteran discrimination and honour our men and women with equal recognition because they’re all of the same ilk who serve and die for our country.
All Canadians, whether they served in the Korean War or not, are urged to contact Canada’s Members of Parliament and Senators and implore them to prepare a bill that would extend long-term care to Korean War Veterans who arrived in Korea after the July 27, 1953 armistice. Of course, this leads to the matter of other Veterans who, as Bill Black pointedly says, have also served their country without regard to personal risk.
However, let’s take care of those suffering Veterans who are now in their eighties, and through no fault of their own, now need their country’s assistance.
It is only right for Canada to now serve them in their final years. They gave their hearts and their service to Canada in their youth.
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