The Honourable Roméo Antonius Dallaire, O.C., C.M.M., G.O.Q.—Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the Use of Child SoldiersPublished on 9 March 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Joseph Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day:
Honourable senators, our veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces are an invaluable source of expertise and knowledge that we must cherish, preserve and use whenever possible. One of our findings during the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee’s study on operational stress injuries was that many of our soldiers are wondering what they could be doing after leaving service with the Armed Forces.
Part of the answer to this question lies in a program entitled the Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers, known as VTECS, launched in February of this year by our former colleague Senator Dallaire and his colleagues in the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie University, in partnership with the Wounded Warriors of Canada.
This program provides a unique opportunity for veterans to acquire an understanding of the skills, knowledge and attitudes required of security sector participants so that they can legally, humanely and effectively interact with child soldiers in domestic and foreign operational areas. It will also allow our veterans to further develop their academic skills while acquiring or strengthening their skills as facilitators and instructors. This program will also assist veterans in transitioning from military to civilian life and finding meaningful employment.
The program is centred at Dalhousie University in Halifax. To make the program more accessible to all our veterans, there will be no tuition fees. They will also receive return travel while in Halifax and campus accommodation — all provided free of charge.
The program includes courses on global policing, children in armed conflict, world politics, training the trainer and weekly seminars with guest speakers on related issues.
The successful graduates of the program have the opportunity to join the Dallaire Initiative either here in Canada or in other countries of the world.
Colleagues, this is a great opportunity for our veterans, for Canada and for the world. Our veterans will be pursuing their education after their military service, which will allow them to expand their knowledge and expertise so as to continue their service to Canada as civilians, thereby serving the world at large.
This academic program is uniquely designed for our veterans. It is my hope that in the future other similar academic programs will be specifically designed for our veterans — programs which will help our veterans smoothly and efficiently transition from military to civilian life.
Colleagues, we can help by encouraging veterans we know to apply through Dalhousie University’s online application. Applications for this year’s program are currently under way.
Honourable senators, I join with you in congratulating former general and Senator Roméo Dallaire for this initiative of serving both the veterans of Canada and child soldiers of the world.