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Letter: Military leaders with sexist attitudes are not fit for service

Veteran says actions in not paying for soldier's prosthetic leg are deplorable

After reading an article on both the military, Veterans Affairs Canada and the government refusing to pay for a female Air Force officer's prosthetic leg, I was absolutely disgusted and angered at the bureaucratic and chauvinist attitudes of males with power and authority, who should be removed from office for their absolute bias and contempt for females in the military.

Not only did Air Force Capt. Kimberly Fawcett serve her country by deploying to Afghanistan after the loss of her right leg and her nine-month-old son, but like a true hero, she bravely sucked it up and did a second tour in Afghanistan.

The fact Capt. Fawcett was called out from home in preparation for possible deployment to Afghanistan, also with her commanding officer's approval and in full combat uniform at the time of a motor vehicle accident that ripped her right leg off and her life apart, with the catastrophic loss of her nine-month-old son, there should have been NO compounding of the issues and bureaucratic constipation by both the military and the government, causing extra stress and prolonged suffering lasting some 10 years to date, in paying for a prosthetic limb and getting her rehabilitated without all of the added stress, frustration  and prolonged suffering, cause by refusing to pay for her prosthesis limb.

Her staying in the military and returning to her profession after the loss of her son and her leg, took exceptional guts and determination, especially when she did a second tour in Afghanistan with her prosthetic limb, leaves no doubt in my mind that Capt. Fawcett is a determined and strong-willed woman who is one of Canada’s true hero’s.

For her to be betrayed by the higher-ups in both the military and the government, who sit in their ivory towers making bureaucratic decisions without compassion on how to interpret the rules, it is no wonder why the military rate of suicides is so high.

For Capt. Fawcett, I am sure that her having Operational Stress Injury is a fore-gone conclusion, but compounding both the loss of her child and her right leg by military and government inaction is inexcusable, and it takes a very dedicated and special kind of woman, or likewise a male counterpart such as her husband, to have to just stick with it and soldier on.

What is annoying in the aftermath of all this, for some absolute idiot in authority and more so a former commanding officer, to determine that in his opinion she was classed as NOT on duty at the time of the motor vehicle incident, in spite of findings to the contrary via a summary investigation. 

For a former commanding officer to dispute the findings of such an investigation shows a gross lack of support for the troops under his command and a callous attitude towards her situation in general. As evidence to the contrary, we have the position shown by Maj.-Gen. Walter Semianiw, who determined that Capt. Fawcett was, in fact, classed as on duty at the time of the accident.

There is good and bad no matter where you go, but for another senior military officer, with an obvious sexist attitude, to have the audacity to say to Capt. Fawcett, “that only men are heroes and that women were, well, disposable,” should be kicked hard where it hurts most and removed from service for displaying unprofessional and undesirable leadership attitudes and shown the door. 

Possibly on the way out, show him a new Canadian $10 bill to remind him of the hundreds of Canadian women who were truly Canadian heroes.

As far as this man's pension rights are concerned, maybe his pension could be delayed 10 years or so, just to demonstrate some of the grief and humility of having to fight the government for justice. Maybe then he will realize the added stress and frustration that Capt. Fawcett and her husband have gone through because of people like him.

In closing, I would encourage all readers to research this matter on their computer and to air their views to both their local MP, or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, because all said and done, the almighty buck stops at his door.

Colin Pick