“The Penniless Pensioner: Misaligned, Maligned but Marvellous” : Chapter 52: Revolt at the Queen Fairy Hospital for Veterans in Montreal

Not far from the idyllic suburb of Hampstead in Montreal one can find the ageing Queen Fairy Hospital for Veterans. Those Quebec soldiers severely injured in conflicts where Canada was fighting were “housed” in the Queen Fairy. Conditions were rather grim with lack of comprehensive physical and psychiatric care. For the past year patients had been complaining about the “stink” of tomato sauce permeating the hospital. It was everywhere they said. It stuck to your clothes and clung to your skin. Due to budget cuts by the Canadian Veteran’s Affairs department the existing kitchen staff were terminated and replaced with cheaper Cuban labour. Cheap they were but skilled they were not. It was hot dogs in tomato sauce over blackened potatoes 4 nights a week accounting for the horrific and ubiquitous tomato stink permeating the hospital air. Lunches were downsized to baloney sandwiches and Kraft Dinner. Fresh fruit was replaced by canned fruit and salads were a thing of the past. Bingo and shuffleboard programmes were canceled. The patient committee sent a strongly worded complaint letter to Pierre Malade the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs in Ottawa. Malade’s response was that the patients were well taken care of. He emphasized Canada would never forget the brave soldiers who “saved democracy” time and time again and if there were any complaints they were manufactured by a bunch of “shell shocked ingratiates”.

Like the Mugless Mental Hospital the inmates rose up in fury setting the hospital on fire and running amok on the hospital grounds. The entire world was shocked to see television footage of half starved and malnourished veterans being beaten by Montreal equestrian police officers. One poor wheelchair bound Korean War was beaten to a bloody pulp. Camera crews managed to enter the kitchen and found out the hot dogs were actually expired “Belgian Hot Dogs” made not with mechanically rendered beef parts but rather with horse meat.

Again Squid, long a friend with these war veterans, asked me to sue the pants off the Canadian government if they did not improve conditions at the Queen Fairy. Legal action was also to be taken against the brutality of the Montreal police force.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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