An article by The Canadian Press (June 22, 2006) was carried by the Fort Frances Daily Bulletin.
It was based on an interview given by Cliff Chadderton, chief executive officer of The War Amps, concerning lack of action by the Conservative government in regard to compensation for aboriginal soldiers who failed to qualify for benefits under the Veterans Rehabilitation Program available for World War II veterans.
The article was an accurate portrayal of a 15-year fight on behalf of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association, claiming they were denied access to programs which Mr. Chadderton says were designed for their “white brothers.”
The denial was based primarily on their inability to establish an economic status which would have given them an educational background to qualify for the benefits available under the program.
I am prompted to write because of the inclusion of a phrase by the reporter which described Mr. Chadderton as “still fighting but frail at 87.” We, in The War Amps, consider this observation unfair to say the least.
Mr. Chadderton, for whom I have worked for some 15 years, played a round of golf on Sunday past—despite his war wounds which cost him part of his left foot and his right leg, and other gunshot wounds.
He is just overcoming back surgery which required admission to a specialist treatment centre in Fort Myers, Fla. two weeks ago. More recently, he was returning via aircraft from a meeting in Vancouver when, en route, he had the unfortunate circumstance of passing a kidney stone.
Frail? I hardly think so!
Mr. Chadderton states he has no serious objection to the description of his health, except that it is just not true! He is, however, still waging a strong battle on behalf of some veterans’ issues and on June 21, he stood proudly beside Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he laid a wreath on behalf of the aboriginal veterans.
He suggests the description by The Canadian Press reporter might be in the nature of “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
It is ironic that another national newspaper carried a story on June 21 on Mr. Chadderton, regarding veterans who were denied benefits arising from their military service in World War II.
This reporter suggested: “If Chadderton says a policy for vets is okay, you can take it to the bank. And if he says it’s flawed—the government had damn well get it straightened out quickly, or he’ll mobilize the country to protest.
“They may not like Chadderton much in the halls of Canadian power, but they bloody well listen to him. Just ask the Canadian War Museum.”
The War Amps