By Harold Leduc
Veteran Watch continues to provide a summary of our policy report cards on each of the political parties. You don’t need to compare policy positions; Veteran Watch has done it for you. Today, Veteran Watch examines the Conservative Party
Does the proposal fall inline with the spirit of parity of the recently re-affirmed social covenant?
It does in part. The Conservative Party policy is found in court documents, media stories, legislative amendments, etc… Despite having nine years to make good on 2005 election promises they’ve only recently made modest policy changes following mounting public criticism. They’ve made no commitment to treat all military veterans and their families equally or to deal with outstanding issues.
They recently agreed to drop their appeal of the latest class action lawsuit on the NVC however the Judge wouldn’t allow it.
Does the proposed policy meet veterans and their families needs?
In a small way. The Conservative Party has only recently begun to make modest positive changes to benefits. Recently established programs and benefits meet the needs of a minority of veterans and their families assessed at a 70% or higher disability, ignoring the gaps left for the majority.
Is a return to the Pension Act contemplated?
No. Despite it being the most controversial part of the NVC, the Conservative Party was the first to promise a bundling of taxable benefits into a pension. That pension combined with the lump sum will not replace nor come close in compensation to the life long monthly tax free disability benefit available under the Pension Act.
Not returning to the Pension Act denies benefits for spouses, widows/widowers and families.
Does the proposal address the difficulties veterans have in accessing benefits?
No. Despite report recommendations the Conservative Party has not committed to addressing the denial culture at VRAB or within the Department.
Does the proposal acknowledge current court actions against veterans?
Somewhat. They’ve conceded to a parliament wide re-affirmation of the social covenant between the people and government of Canada and citizens who serve their country in the military and their families. They’ve also agreed to drop their appeal of the lawsuit.
Based on the available information, the Conservative Party policy lacks promise and disrespects the recently re-affirmed social covenant, especially since they’ve proven time and again that they will not meet their obligations to veterans and their families unless there is public protest.
NOTE: Colours fill the boxes next to each question. Green indicates a positive response that will likely meet the full needs of veterans. Yellow indicates a somewhat positive policy but one that fails to meet the full requirement. Red is a complete failure to meet the needs of veterans. Colours that fade from green to yellow indicate an initial positive response but one that may require more research or clarification. Colours that fade from yellow to red indicate some redeeming factors within policy but one that might end in failure.