EQUITAS Says Budget Falls Badly Short for Injured/Disabled Veterans (National Champion Seeking Better Deal for Afghan Conflict Veterans expresses ‘Huge Disappointment’)
White Rock, B.C. (March 23, 2017) – The Equitas Disabled Soldiers Funding Society [“Equitas”], a Canadawide community advocate for
- Acknowledgement that the Canadian Government has a ‘duty of care’ to its disabled soldiers.
- The restoration of lifelong pensions that are indexed, and not subject to claw backs or termination.
- Education support programs in which the average disabled soldier can participate.
- The enactment by Parliament of a Military Covenant that defines a standard of care for disabled soldiers across all federal government departments
EQUITAS is pleased to note the acknowledgement in Budget 2017 delivered yesterday that “Canada’s veterans have dedicated their lives to the defence of our country”, and (consequently) “they deserve our unwavering support for the sacrifices they have made”. We are also glad to see the Government affirm its commitment “to ensuring that it delivers the programs and services our veterans—and their families—need for a seamless and successful transition from military to civilian life.” According to EQUITAS President Marc Burchell, “Regrettably, those stirring words and worthy sentiments about veterans expressed by the Minister of Finance seem hollow. And since the laudatory goal he underlined still remains elusive, EQUITAS is hugely disappointed.” “While it is true that since taking power the Liberal Government has come some distance in improving certain policies and implementing select programs having a positive effect for all veterans – including those injured and disabled, this Budget falls considerably short of what we anticipated”, said the EQUITAS President. This is because, in claiming the Government intends moving towards ‘re-establishing lifelong pensions as an option for injured veterans’, it has succeeded only in manipulating its promise, in mangling the numbers and in making a mockery of the concept of a pension overall. “Indeed”, asserted Mr. Burchell, “as presented in the Budget, the Government’s purported solution to the foundational objective of our organization – the abolition of lump-sum settlement payments and the reinstatement in their place of lifelong pensions for disabled veterans (a solemn undertaking to which Prime Minister Trudeau vigorously attached his personal prestige as a campaigning Party Leader seeking election in August 2015), is unacceptable. This is because the Government’s proposal of an alternative to a real pension, while attempting to classify it as an actual one, plainly is a misleading insult to our disabled veteran stakeholders. It. would short-change many in much the same way as the lump-sum system currently does under the New Veterans Charter.”
EQUITAS is the BC-based, national, cross-partisan, volunteer community organization which since 2011 has sought fair settlements for disabled veterans through a class action lawsuit launched by six representative plaintiffs over deficient compensation awarded under the New Veterans Charter.
Further Information CONTACT: Marc Burchell 604-616-7933, or Gerry Lenoski 604-813-1762