New Brunswick

6 New Brunswickers commended for work with veterans

Six New Brunswickers were honoured on Friday for their contributions and devotion to Canadian veterans.

Six New Brunswickers were honoured on Friday for their contributions and devotion to Canadian veterans.

Elsie Wayne, former Member of Parliament for Saint John, was among those who received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation at a ceremony Friday in Fredericton.

The commendation is presented to individuals who have contributed to the well-being of veterans and the remembrance of their sacrifices.

Wayne said her fight for veteran's rights was a very personal one, since two of her brothers served in the Second World War.

"I saw a great need, really, for the veterans," Wayne said.

During her 11 years as a Conservative Member of Parliament, Wayne fought to have merchant marines recognized and compensated for their contributions during the Second World War.

"It took us a while, but in the end we were able to get them recognized as the fourth arm of the Armed Forces," she said.

That battle, along with Wayne's status as the first female lieutenant-colonel of the 722 Communications Squadron of New Brunswick, were cited in her commendation.

Louis Cuppens was also commended; he enlisted with the Canadian Forces in 1960 and, at his retirement in 1998, was serving as the deputy-commander-in-chief of NORAD.

Cuppens was honoured for his work as the national president of the Last Post Fund, which helps cover the cost of funerals for war veterans with insufficient funds, and for his work with the Canadian Corps of Legionnaires.

Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson also presented commendations to veterans Christina Gregoire, Paul Hanson, Aurèle Rousselle and Andrew Turnbull.

"It is a privilege to be in the company of these distinguished individuals, all of whom have contributed so selflessly to keeping alive the sacred memory of Canada's veterans," Thompson said.

Wayne said it's an honour to receive the commendation, but urged federal politicians to do more to help Canada's veterans.

"If there's a need that they have, they should meet that need immediately," Wayne told CBC News. "There shouldn't be any argument. A lot of the wives that are left behind … they're having problems as well, and that has to be resolved."

Cuppens agreed more needs to be done for veterans in Canada.

"We cannot do enough for our veterans," Cuppens said. "Some of them are frail and need lots of support. That support right now, unfortunately, is not budgeted for."

Veterans of more recent combat also need to be properly cared for, Cuppens added.