Alarming suicide rate among Canadian vets

by Vins
Published: Updated:

Veterans are dying on home soil and the Liberal Party of Canada is focusing on “homelessness, support for veterans’ families, and support for those transitioning to civilian careers,” instead of on suicide prevention. The suicides of 54 returned-home Afghanistan veterans are being ignored. The Department of National Defence is unwilling to release the complete suicide count to investigators. In the Fall of 2015, there were 54 reported suicides confirmed by the Globe and Mail’s decade of compiled research with speculation that there are more to be uncovered.

Contrary to the research, the new secretariat developed by Liberal Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr does not have veteran suicides on the agenda. The former Harper Conservative government’s duplicity was concealed by lavish send-offs for troops, but once they returned the vets received little to no benefits as the government “failed to spend $1.13-billion of the funds allocated to vets’ benefits.”

During the 2015 federal election, the Liberals had an easy campaign for the veteran vote, to just promise to restore the damage created by the Conservative Party, observed But although the Liberals are taking strides in the direction of their public promises, veteran mental health issues are overlooked.

The Globe and Mail reported on the veteran suicide rate among returned-home Afghanistan veterans, but not the political angle. Suicides are a difficult topic to begin with and ignoring the issue is instinctively supported. The correlation with mental health and suicide is undeniable and not a vice a veteran wants to admit to. The stigma of mental health and weakness is deep rooted in military culture. Many victims hide their symptoms from friends and family until it’s too late. The independent news site Who. What. Why. brings up the political duplicity within the United States but the tactics span over the border. There is political gain to be had as veterans needs are observed and as promises to reform care are provided. However, the veteran community will be the last to speak on inappropriate government actions as their patriotism often trumps self-care.


Gerry Caplan, “This Election, Put Canadian Veterans Front and Centre.”, April 28, 2015,

Klaus Marre, “Stop Patronizing Vets and Start Helping Them.” Who.What.Why., November 11, 2015,

Renata D’Aliesio, “The Unremembered.” The Globe and Mail., February 23, 2016,

The Canadian Press, “Veteran homelessness a top priority for Liberals, says veterans minister.” CTV News., February 18, 2016,

Student Researcher: Tennessa Wild (University of Regina)

Faculty Evaluator:  Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina)