Wait times, broken promises leave veterans and their families feeling desperate

Blair Davis, a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces, climbed onto the roof of his Nova Scotia home in 2010 and said he wanted to die so he could make life better for everyone.

Blair served in the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia in 1993 and was among the first Canadian troops sent to the region in an attempt to stop years of violence, including against the country’s ethnic minorities.

“I went into a house, and the wall had a picture of a unicorn and flowers,” Blair said. “It was a little girl’s room and it was all blown up all around. But you could sense that a little girl lived there.

“It was hard to see that hate and that destruction,” he said. “I’m going back 27 years right now and I still have those raw emotions and feelings.”

But when Blair applied for disability benefits due to post-traumatic stress disorder, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) rejected his application, his wife Kim said. This was because VAC claimed there was nothing in his service record linking his PTSD to his time in Bosnia.

Blair appealed and eventually won, but it was five years from when he was first reported mental health concerns to the time VAC started paying for his care.

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