Wednesday, May 18, 2016

No, Justin, Don't Screw With the Vets. Just Don't.

I hope this isn't as bad as it sounds. From CBC News:

The federal government is taking veterans back to court to try to block certain benefits for injured and wounded soldiers, despite a Liberal campaign promise to better support them after an era of Conservative cuts.

"It's a betrayal," said Donald Sorochan, the lawyer representing the six Afghan war veterans who initiated a class-action lawsuit over pensions and other benefits.

"They have turned the Liberal election campaign into a lie. I sat at tables [during the campaign] with some of the people who are now in cabinet. Those ministers have been turned into liars by the Department of Justice," he said Tuesday, noting the election platform explicitly promised that no veteran would have to "fight the government" for the support and compensation they have earned.

...The plaintiffs have argued in court that the government has a sacred obligation to its injured soldiers and that the lump-sum payment wounded veterans receive under the New Veterans Charter — as opposed to the pension that was previously offered to veterans before 2006 — is inadequate compensation, as they receive less money over the course of a lifetime.

...Government lawyers outraged veterans by asserting that the federal government has no extraordinary obligation to those who have fought for the country, and therefore the litigation has no merit.

Harper veteran affairs min Erin O'Toole also removed the lead government lawyer, Paul Vickery, from the case and replaced him with Joel Watson, a litigator from the private sector and himself a former veteran.

But Sorochan told CBC News that the government lawyers have told him they will now revive the argument that the government does not have a sacred obligation to veterans — to try to kill the class-action lawsuit once and for all.

The Liberal government has also put Vickery back on the case.

When are the Liberal rank and file going to give Trudeau and Co. a smack upside the head?


Troy said...

In the long run, this seems counterproductive. Isn't the Forces constantly in need of new volunteers due to turnover?
I wouldn't recommend anyone join the Forces if there's no safety net if they get injured on the job. And it's a tough job, and they're called upon to do important physical dangerous labour. And that's not even including combat.

The Mound of Sound said...

It makes me all the more grateful that my late dad was torn up in WWII, not Afghanistan. There were a few glitches in his post-war care but, overall, the government provided for him very well, anticipating many of his needs.

I saw first hand how wounds age just as we do. Early on in life a person can seem to "bounce back" from some pretty horrific damage but that may not be a lasting improvement. Wounds can come back to present serious challenges later in life, compounding the other effects of aging decline.

That's why this notion of a "sacred obligation" is more than impassioned rhetoric. Some learn to cope, perhaps with the invaluable support of a loving, caring spouse. Some never do. For some their physical wounds are eclipsed by what they bring home in their minds.

One of my dad's pals was shot several times in his face and torso by low-power machine pistol fire. He survived and came home to raise a family and establish a successful career. It was almost 20-years later than he took his life. The note indicated that he just couldn't escape the war. The emotional wounds did what the physical wounds never could. I saw more than one situation of that.

Dana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dana said...

Well, you just proved the bean counter's case for them. Why throw good money after bad, after all. I mean if a soldier is incompetent enough to get injured somehow it's certainly not the responsibility of the superb thinkers and planners in their crowded, stuffy offices undergoing who knows what kinds of insufferable horrors in the terrifying halls of bureaucratic hell.

This government has lost me.

As I said a few months after Harper became PM, "Not my Prime Minister".

I repeat it now. Not my Prime Minister, not my government.

What a tragic farce we have perpetrated upon ourselves.

Unknown said...

The lawyer representing the Vets Mound should read Bordens speech in full to remind everyone in the courtroom exactly what is meant by "sacred obligation." This as you know was a speech Borden made, I think, the day before the Canadians were going to battle at Vimy Ridge.The speech itself is very moving. Borden did not say we have an obligation, he said we have a "sacred obligation." The Liberals have not only broken a promise to our Veterans, they have done much worse. They have betrayed the sacred trust our Vets had with the Canadian people.
This government does not speak for me.

Anonymous said...

My former MP, who I indeed did vote for on Oct 19, was Peter Stoffer. That was the man with the Vets' conscience at heart. Beaten by a Liberal nonentity, he now is on the board of a charity out of Ottawa that funds veterans legal fights against people like Hehr and his government.

You probably haven't heard the last from him yet on the Veterans file.

Never vote for an identified party, vote for the person. Why tie youself to mediocre organizations? You'll only ever be diappointed in the long run.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for the Borden reference, Pamela. Here is a helpful exploration of the Canadian government's history in regard to wounded military personnel and their dependents:

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon - yes, Peter Stoffer was an impressive MP of uncommon integrity. He might have been a fine replacement for Angry Tom.