More than five years after being dumped as Canada’s first Veterans Ombudsman, Pat Stogran’s bitterness seems not to have diminished.
If anything, the retired infantry colonel’s cynicism about Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and government in general has only deepened.
It spills out on almost every page of his memoir, “Rude Awakening: The Government’s Secret War Against Canada’s Veterans.” The self-published book has been available online through Amazon, Indigo and other outlets since January.
Last fall’s change of regime in Ottawa has done nothing to alter Stogran’s pessimism about the modern VAC, which he says remains resistant to innovative change and tightfisted even before the former Conservative government made penny-pinching a priority.
“This government has made all kinds of promises,” Stogran said in an interview with Yahoo Canada News. “I met with the minister [Kent Hehr] and I made very clear to him that it’s a cultural problem.
“A lot of the travesty is what happens underneath the deputy minister’s watch, which she doesn’t have eyes on. I gave him the advice that it’s the culture of denial that has to change.”
Stogran sympathizes with overworked frontline workers dealing with vets’ claims but said the department’s senior bureaucrats promote a culture of “deny, deceive, defer.”