Thunder Bay

Dozens protest Thunder Bay Veterans Affairs office closure

Veterans in Thunder Bay gathered Friday to protest against the closure of the veterans’ affairs office.

Veterans in Thunder Bay gathered Friday to protest against the closure of the Veterans Affairs office.

It's one of eight offices across the country shutting its doors — and veterans, both young and old, worry about the consequences.

Jesse Veltri says Ottawa is failing its soldiers.

“We know how to use the internet, telephone, we know we're going to have to wait, delay, but the older veterans, they don't want to deal with that, they want offices, they want individuals to deal with, and that makes sense to me,” the Afghanistan veteran said.

Thunder Bay veterans will now have help in the community with a new charity called Thunder Bay District Veterans Fund. File photo. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

“But [at] the same time, the main reason why I'm here is because we're not being looked after the way we're supposed to.”

About 70 people veterans, politicians, and supporters from the community took part in the rally outside the Veterans Affairs office on Red River Road. The demonstrators also included about a dozen members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Roy Lamore, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy in World War Two, attended Friday's event before appearing as a guest on CBC Radio's Voyage North.

Frank Fox spent six years in the Royal Canadian Navy in the 60s and 70s.

He was on a ship that suffered an explosion at sea in which nine people died. Fox said he's still getting treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“I have a case manager here, or had a case manager here, who was responsible for making sure that I got the treatment that I need, and it's still ongoing treatment,” Fox said.

He said now he'll have to co-ordinate that treatment by phone or online with the hope he can find what he's looking for.

The Public Service Alliance says the office serves about 800 veterans in northwestern Ontario. Their files will be transferred to North Bay or Winnipeg.

PSAC participated in the Thunder Bay protest by issuing press releases and providing lunch at the Royal Canadian Legion following the event.

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