On Monday, Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan announced a new transition system to help veterans return to every day life, though he drew criticism for the comparisons he made between leaving his career in journalism and the struggles faced by veterans.
“As some of you know, I had a very difficult time in a transition, leaving journalism, leaving Canada AM. I suffered with addiction, with mental health,” said O’Regan during the announcement.
“I didn’t transition very well.”
A moment later, though, he noted that he “would never, ever say that I have an idea of what it’s like to go through transition from serving to becoming a veteran, but I got a window.”
O’Regan spent over a decade as a host for CTV’s Canada AM before moving into special correspondent positions later on.
The Canadian military is overhauling its unit for injured soldiers, including those suffering from psychological trauma, and has promised better care for personnel as they leave the armed forces.
According to O’Regan, the new transition unit will reduce delays in delivering health care services and other benefits. Further, the unit will also provide career transition services
WATCH: No Stone Left Alone Remembrance Day special
“Together, we will listen to you and your family to ensure you have the information you need, the supports you need, and the services you need, all when you need them,” O’Regan said.
The previous support unit was set up during the war in Afghanistan for exactly that purpose, but was plagued with staff shortages, poor training and a revolving door of senior officers at the top.
Military commanders are promising that the new transition unit will help ensure none of the roughly 10,000 service members discharged annually will fall through the cracks, which has been a serious problem in the past.
While O’Regan admitted that the current system isn’t perfect, he pledged to get veterans and military members the benefits and services they deserve.
“We’re working as fast as we can to get members and Veterans the services and benefits they deserve. And I know this new Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group will help us get there.”