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Second World War veteran honoured for fighting for veterans’ rights

Click to play video: 'Second World War veteran honoured on Remembrance Day for helping others' Second World War veteran honoured on Remembrance Day for helping others
WATCH: A veteran of the Second World War living at Ste-Anne's hospital in Montreal has been awarded a special honour. Wolf (William) Solkin is one of six people across the country who received the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation, an award recognizing those who have made exceptional contributions to veterans and their families. Global’s Felicia Parrillo spoke with the 97-year-old about his ongoing fight for justice – Nov 11, 2020

Wolf Solkin has been a fighter for most of his life.

A Second World War veteran, he’s lived through many battles, but the battle that’s he’s recently undertaken — supporting and speaking out for veterans rights — he says, is equally as important.

To commemorate his contributions, he was honoured with the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation.

READ MORE: Family caregivers want into Ste. Anne’s Hospital, WWII veteran wants them to stay out

The recognition is given to those who have significantly contributed to supporting and advocating for veterans and their families.

Solkin, who is from Montreal and lives in Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue, was nominated by two of his most cherished comrades.

“He’s an example that other veterans need to start to speak up, so that they make a difference, and that what we continue what he is doing and what he’s been doing for a long time,” said Sylvain Chartrand, a retired corporal.

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READ MORE: Veteran complains care at Ste. Anne hospital still not adequate

One of Solkin’s most recent fights is a class-action lawsuit, in which he is the main plaintiff, that revolves around the care he and dozens of others are receiving at the Ste.-Anne’s Veterans Hospital.

According to him, the level of care has gone down since control of the hospital was transferred from federal to provincial jurisdiction.

Through the lawsuit, which he can’t comment on, he wants people to know that the veteran community needs to be respected and treated with dignity.

READ MORE: ‘We’ve been stripped of our rights and our dignity’: Canadian WW2 veteran on why he wants to sue government for $30 million

As Canada celebrates another Remembrance Day, he hopes people will remember veterans and those who are serving today, for more than just two minutes.

At 97 years old, he says he’ll fight to do just that, until he no longer can.

“I’m totally helpless from the neck down, but as long as I have my one remaining vocal chord and my one index finger to work on my iPad, I will continue to raise my voice whenever I feel that it might be heard,” said Solkin.

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