Election Coverage

Veteran inspired to make changes in defence and veterans issues

Jeff Lehoux, the Liberal Party candidate for the riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, inspired to re-enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 served honourably in Afghanistan before an injury caused him to be medically released.

Lehoux first joined the military as part of the reserve infantry unity 2nd Battalion Irish Regiment of Canada from 1994 until 1998. He then transferred to the regular forces but decided to be released in 1999.

And then 9/11 happened.

“Like the rest of the Western world I was horrified by the events that took place on that day and re-enlisted,” said Lehoux.

Lehoux served from Feb. 2002 until 2007 as a Medic with 2 Field Ambulance and was deployed in 2005 on Roto 3 Operation Athena Task Force Afghanistan. His career with the military ended after he was severely injured while on tour in Afghanistan.

After being medically released in 2008, Lehoux completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy at Nipissing University in 2010. He has also been involved with International Children’s Awareness (ICA), a non-government organization (NGO) that works in the Sub-Saharan African nation of Cameroon. Lehoux has served as an Executive Members of ICA since 2009.

“There I am able to put my medical skills learned in the military to use by implementing projects preventative medicine campaigns such as anti-malaria initiatives, anti-parasitic campaigns, education initiatives, clean water and infrastructure projects.

“I have been to Cameroon four times now, on humanitarian aid mission varying from one to two months both assessing and implementing projects. While in Canada I help plan projects and fundraise to pay for the projects,” said Lehoux.

Lehoux soon turned to the political arena inspired to make a change in the government’s outlook on defence and veterans.

“One of the reasons why I choose to run for office is the way both soldiers and veterans have been treated by our current government; a government that has branded itself as the party that best supports soldiers and veterans, yet as we have seen in recent years that this is not true. Further the fact that Canada’s military spending is near record lows, particularly relative to the size of our economy… Being a veteran myself, I know our men and women in uniform deserve better,” said Lehoux.

Lehoux turned to the Liberal Party believing that they better support veterans. He points to provisions like the $25 million planned to expand access to Permanent Impairment Allowance and $80 billion on Veterans Education Benefit that the Liberal Party has promised.

“What I believe really sets the Liberal Party apart from other political parties in this election is the strong commitment we have made veterans and their families. I know that when you are a serving member, it may be difficult to picture yourself as a retired “veteran.”

However that day will come, whether by retirement or by (hopefully not) some unforeseen and unfortunate circumstance that tragically cuts your career short,” stated Lehoux.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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