Canadian Vietnam vets fight for benefits
Vietnam may have been America's war but Canada was heavily involved — for and against. Canada harboured American draft dodgers and helped supervise ceasefires. But at the same time, about 30,000 Canadians volunteered to fight in southeast Asia. And there was Canada's involvement in secret missions, weapons testing and arms production. CBC Archives looks at Canada's role in the Vietnam War.
• The emotional damage experienced by Vietnam vets ranges from insomnia and flashbacks to survival guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Canadian vets began to band together in local associations for support and to lobby for their due.
• The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association was formed in 1986.
• In 1988 the Reagan administration passed a bill authorizing Canadian Vietnam veterans to receive medical treatment in Canada.
• In Canada, Vietnam vets felt invisible. They were not initially recognized by the Canadian Legion as they were not veterans of a war in which Canada was involved. On Oct. 1, 1994, the Canadian Legion extended full membership privileges to Vietnam vets.
• One psychiatric study found that the isolation and invisibility felt by Canadian veterans of the Vietnam war was more damaging than the hatred many Americans vets faced.
• Veterans had a difficult time finding a place to erect a memorial to their involvement in the war. The National Capital Commission declined to find a spot for a monument in Ottawa as their policy states that memorials on federal land are restricted to groups that "have been active in Canada or on behalf of the nation."
• In 1989 the first Canadian Vietnam veterans memorial was erected in Côte Sainte-Catherine, Que., by members of the Canadian Vietnam Veterans of Quebec. In 1994 this memorial was moved to a new site in Melocheville, Que.
• In July 1995 a memorial commemorating the 103 known Canadian casualties was erected in Windsor, Ont.
• Known as "The North Wall", it was designed, built and donated by a group called the Michigan Association of Concerned Veterans who wished to honour Canadians' contributions to the war.
• Windsor city council inscribed a disclaimer on the memorial reading "This memorial was placed here to commemorate Canadians who died in the Vietnam tragedy. It is not intended as a political statement concerning the merits of this or any other foreign conflict."
Program: 1st Edition
Broadcast Date: June 18, 1986
Guests: Bob Beatty, Rick Hazelwood
Reporter: Wendy Johnson
Last updated: October 4, 2013
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Canada agrees to help supervise the ceasefire in Indochina.
The prime minister discusses the deepening political and military cris...
A Toronto man tries to recruit a volunteer unit of Canadians to join t...
On Thanksgiving weekend in 1966, CBC-TV show TBA asks Torontonians wha...
The Third Marine Unit contains three Canadian soldiers.
An antiwar protester camped near Parliament Hill finds that Prime Mini...
CBC Weekend talks to three well-known critics of the Vietnam war, and ...
Truce observers in Vietnam find that fighting continues days after an ...
The war is over and Canada is called in to help supervise Vietnam's tr...
The release of the Pentagon Papers reveals details about Canada's role...
A surprising list of items Canada supplied to the United States for us...
The Canadian pullout from Saigon is criticized as 'a furtive operation...
Two MPs challenge Ottawa's denial of U.S.-sponsored chemical testing i...
Canadian Vietnam veterans fight for the support they were told they wo...
Twenty-five years later, Canadian diplomat Ernest Hebert speaks on the...
Vietnam may have been America's war but Canada was heavily involved --...
International Control Commission representative Blair Seaborn describe...