Wounded Soldiers Denied Pensions


Cpl. Glen Kirkland has had multiple eye surgeries, a brain injury and so much shrapnel still embedded in his face that it falls out when he shaves. His injuries rendered him unable to return to duty in Afghanistan. He was about to be forced from the military before being eligible for a pension but when he complained, he was offered a way to stay and he refused.

Corporals Glen Kirkland and David Hawkins were injured and hurt by the fight in Afghanistan. A fight with the military over pensions has hurt them again.


In the lead-up to Remembrance Day, Veterans Affairs Canada encourages Canadians to think throughout the year about the sacrifice of veterans ... and not solely on November 11th.


Cpl. Glen Kirkland, in wheelchair, one of five
soldiers injured in a direct fire explosion in
Afghanistan, Sept 4, 2008. (CP/Tobi Cohen)

RMR: Rick's Rant - Veterans' Pensions -- Rick Mercer Report

But for a small group of injured Canadian soldiers, those words ring hollow. Corporals Glen Kirkland and David Hawkins were both injured while serving in Afghanistan. Each says he wanted to continue in the Canadian Forces ... but they say they were pushed out -- Both, before they could qualify for pensions.

Corporal Glen Kirkland was in Winnipeg.

Corporal David Hawkins was in London, Ontario.

Murray Brewster is the Parliamentary Defence Reporter with The Canadian Press. He broke the stories about Corporals Kirkland and Hawkins. Murray Brewster is the author of The Savage War and he was in Ottawa.

Colonel Gerry Blais is the Commander of the Joint Personnel Support Unit or JPSU. That's the unit that supports and assesses injured soldiers as they either move back to military service or into the civilian sector. Colonel Blais was in Ottawa.

We requested interviews with Defense Minister Rob Nicholson, Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino, Former Defence Minister and now Justice Minister Peter MacKay and the Prime Minister's Office. No one was available this morning.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott and Natalie Chu.

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