—and I would end my suffering that way.
I couldn't live without my child any longer, and I couldn't live with the harassment and ostracization that I was feeling on a daily basis in the military.
Since being kicked out of the military, I have also felt the burn of how veterans are treated by our government, too.
I was kicked out of the forces medically, but I was given no family doctor or assistance to get one. The waiting list for a family doctor in my city was eight months long, so I was medically released without any medical care. If that's happening to me, I think that it's probably happening to a lot of people.
I had to fight Veterans Affairs for eight months just for help with one of the things I have, which is bruxism. When treatment was finally approved after eight months, it just didn't make any sense: VAC approved only half of the treatment, but the other half was necessary and took only 20 seconds.
It's very clear that the VAC employees are not doctors and are not dentists, and it's clear that they're denying veterans medical care while last year there was $360 million for veterans that sat unused.
The problem with VAC isn't funding. The problem is bad staff who are cruel and unqualified to be making life-threatening medical decisions on behalf of veterans. They are denying us the care that we need.
I had another severe bout of depression last Christmas when VAC case managers told me that I'd be unlikely to qualify for benefits much longer because I have an English degree. Three times I've been threatened by VAC employees to have my benefits terminated, and it's very stressful.
I'm here today to make sure that this never happens to another woman, and I am willing to do whatever I can to change the discriminatory practices and policies that still exist in the CAF. Now that I can clearly identify the problems with VAC, I'd also like to help make positive changes there, too. I think that we need to recognize that veterans can get the help they need and also that female veterans do have different issues—not just me, but all women who have been to war or not. Whatever issues they have might be different from the status quo and the policies that we have in place because, typically, the benefits are for men.
Thank you very much for listening.