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Canada After decades-long fight, Metis veterans recognized for their service

00:15  01 november  2019
00:15  01 november  2019 Source:   thestarphoenix.com

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After decades - long fight , Métis veterans recognized for their service . The results were lovely and it was wonderful seeing each Elder's personality expressed in their art. A big thank you to Maureen from the Remai Modern for leading today's class!

Fighting on the front lines in Italy during the Second World War, Lucien “Jim” Boucher had a moment when he wondered how he was still alive.

Bullets careened around him, striking on nearby rocks and causing sparks to fly.

Now 97, Boucher sat flanked by his children and a plaque of war medals on Wednesday as he received overdue financial compensation for his service.

As a Metis veteran, Boucher was denied appropriate benefits and support upon returning from the war.

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Metis veterans are the last veterans to be acknowledged, following Canada's decision to provide veterans ' benefits to First Nations soldiers in 2003. Letendre lost his voice after a stroke, but the 97-year-old let out a squeak of joy when he received his at a service at the George Derby Centre in

Many Metis who served in uniform experienced discrimination or ended up in poverty after returning from the battlefields in Europe and their role in winning the war was largely ignored. Ottawa is in the process of compensating Metis veterans for the unfair treatment.

He and Marie “Alice” Victoria Samuel (née Petit) are among just over a dozen such veterans being presented with cheques for $20,000 as part of the federal government’s recognition of their service. Samuel was honoured in a ceremony at Goodwill Manor in Duck Lake on Wednesday.

In September, officials issued a formal apology and announced the creation of a $30 million compensation package, most of which would go into a legacy fund to support initiatives like education or monuments.

a man sitting in a chair: Metis veteran Lucien (Jim) Boucher© Liam Richards Metis veteran Lucien (Jim) Boucher

The rest will be presented to remaining Métis veterans, or their estates if they’ve died in the past three years.

First Nations veterans, who were deprived of their benefits by Indian agents when they returned to their reserves, received similar compensation in the early 2000s.

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Speaking at the Central Haven Special Care Home in Saskatoon, where Boucher resides, Métis National Council (MNC) President Clément Chartier highlighted the role Métis veterans had in fighting for rights on an international scale and then at home for their Métis nation.

“These same people who saw adversity when they got back continued to press for rights,” Clement said. “Now it is rights for our own people. Many of these returning soldiers actually became our leaders and helped us get to where we are today.

“So we owe a great tribute to the veterans of WWII.”

Chartier and Glen McCallum, President of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, remembered listening to returned veterans’ stories as children.

The MNC has tracked down more than a dozen veterans, some of whom now live outside Canada. It’s been no easy task, said MNC Minister of Veterans Affairs David Chartrand. Aside from the advanced age of those remaining, Métis people who enlisted did so not as “Métis,” but “Canadian” or “French.”

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OTTAWA – The president of the Metis National Council is urging the federal government to formally recognize the contribution of Metis veterans in the Second World War before it is too late for remaining survivors to find redress and get post-war benefits. The timing is important because the

After the war, some Métis vets in Alberta and Saskatchewan were told by the federal government to "move "Injustice is more difficult to document for Métis veterans because they did not live on reserve and He has covered the Canadian military and foreign policy from Parliament Hill for over a decade .

“I’ve been working on this file for over 20 years and for me it’s been two decades of fighting for justice to find a day when Canada will honour the promise made to every veteran,” Chartrand said.

With an emotional “thank you,” Boucher dabbed at his eyes while receiving the cheque, along with a woven sash and a beaded poppy.

Boucher, who grew up in the village of St. Louis, spent time all over Europe and then returned to live and work at his family’s farm. At the time, the money would have gone toward helping the farm; now he plans to put it away.

Back then, the money could have made a difference.

“I should have had that when I was buying and selling horses,” Boucher said.

Chartrand drew attention to the prejudice and other implications of colonization that Métis soldiers faced heading into the war.

In 1939, just as the war was beginning, the Manitoba government expropriated the Métis village of Ste. Madeleine. Resident’s homes were burned to the ground and their dogs were shot dead.

“And yet our Métis people went, they still went to fight for a country that treated them so horrifically and disrespectfully,” Chartrand said. “This country has treated us in such a fashion, that I think that they’re finally coming to terms of why that apology came.”

Boucher and Samuel are the 18th and 19th veterans to receive compensation. Veteran sailor George Watson was presented with a cheque on Tuesday in Vancouver.

amshort@postmedia.com

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A B.C. man has been charged with faking military service in a "stolen valour" offence so he could allegedly apply to receive a housing subsidy meant for veterans. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation According to a search warrant, a Surrey RCMP officer began investigating allegations of stolen valour by Kenneth James French after reading an article that included this picture of French with service medals. The 49-year-old is facing one count of unlawful use of military mark and another count of false pretence in relation to an application he allegedly submitted to the Amos Gordon Ferguson Memorial Society.

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