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Peter Watts: Take time to reflect on Canada’s contributions on Remembrance Day 2017

LISTEN ABOVE: Guy Parent, Canada's veterans ombudsman, speaks about the challenges of transition from military to civilian life.

We should all pause for a moment on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to remember the men and women who have served and who have given their lives to preserve freedom.

Remembrance Day 2017 will be a little more special this Saturday. Canada’s 150th anniversary, the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Passchendaele, and the 61st anniversary of Canada’s first peacekeeping mission – to Egypt– are all important mileposts of the contributions made by Canada’s military to maintaining world order.

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It’s also a good time to reflect on the personal sacrifices made by those who served and were able to come home. Trading a uniform for a return to civilian life isn’t easy, as I learned in a conversation with Guy Parent. He is Canada’s veterans ombudsman and a decorated veteran in his own right.

“There is a need for more independent research on the transition experiences of Canadian veterans and specifically, the post-2006 medically-released veteran population,” he told me.

“I hope the results of the study I just completed will provide insight to those currently in transition from military to civilian life, as well as inform decision makers with the power to improve the transition process.”

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If Canada is going to send its sons and daughters into harm’s way, the least we can do is take care of them when they are injured; comfort their families when they are lost and put in place a valid, expedited process to help them transition from military to civilian life.

If, as a country, we are not prepared to do that then we should not be sending them off to battle in the first place.

That is something to think about this Remembrance Day.

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