During this election the political parties have put forward proposed policies to try to sway veterans votes. On the surface they all look promising and will resonate with veterans one way or another, however how are veterans to know if the parties are proposing the best our country has to offer? Canada used to have a gold standard of care and treatment for all veterans and their families but seems to have adopted a lower standard for CAF veterans and their families. The following evidence based factors are provided to assist veterans and citizens determine if the party’s are living up to their obligation to the people of Canada, veterans and their families.
The MP’s of all parties recently unanimously re-affirmed the social contract between the people of Canada, their the Government of Canada and those who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. This is a contract first made by the Conservative government in 1917.
Parties have a legislated duty to care and treat veterans under the Social Contract:
The public needs to be reminded that while citizens also suffer poverty, physical or mental disability, veterans suffer the same fate as a result of public policy and no other occupation in Canada requires people to die by law if circumstances dictate. That is why government has a duty to care and treat veterans and their families as enshrined in Section 4 of the Department of Veterans Affairs Act and other legislation.
VAC VRAB Denial culture:
Parliamentary and Senate (all party) Committees, the Veterans Ombudsman, veterans and Federal Court have expressed frustration with both VAC and VRAB’s denial culture yet none of the party election promises commit to thoroughly cleaning it up if they form government. It’s no use politicians promising better benefits if they know VAC and VRAB will deny access to them.
WWII Veterans Charter:
The WWII Veterans Charter was a compendium of 44 different Acts, Regulations and Orders that used the Pension Act as a corner stone. The countries of the Allied world considered it the gold standard for caring and treating veterans and their families. CAF veterans and their families also qualify for these benefits but the Government denies them access, trying instead to have the public believe that the needs of post WWII veterans needs can be met with the lump sum and four parts of the NVC. By comparing the WWII Veterans Charter with the NVC readers quickly realize that the NVC falls far short.
Pension Act too expensive:
All other benefits aside, the Parties, Veterans Ombudsman and veterans organizations who claim this lack integrity and morals. The tax-free life long disability pension, similar pensions for spouses, children and widows are the gold standard of compensation under the Pension Act since 1919. The 2015 poverty line in Canada is under $29,000.00 and 95% of pensioners collecting disability benefits under the Pension Act receive less. Yet all those benefits were replaced with a lump sum that is far inferior financially. It is well documented that the lump sum was instituted to save money while Treasury Board’s policy is whether ten or ten thousand veterans apply funds will be available.
The above information sets a gold standard of care and treatment for citizens and veterans to hold political to. This is important to ensure that veterans and their families facing poverty, mental or physical disability by discharging their legal duty in the name of public policy. Canada once had a gold standard of care and treatment for veterans; a lesser standard for CAF veterans and their families is unacceptable!