By Harold Leduc
Monday to Thursday (Oct. 5-9, 2015) Veteran Watch will provide a summary of our policy report card 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 Liberal Party
Does the proposal fall inline with the spirit of parity of the recently re-affirmed social covenant?
It does in part. The policy speaks to parity among CAF veterans but not with all veterans despite the stated “one veteran, one standard” language. There is a commitment to be a world leader in treating veterans, re-opening offices and providing better services by hiring more case managers.
The pre-amble doesn’t mention all fatalities listed in the Seventh Book of Remembrance.
The wording of the proposal is not clear when addressing increasing veterans survivor pension amount and in addressing a re-establishment of life long pensions and increasing disability awards.
Does the proposed policy meet veterans and their families needs?
There is a commitment to increase certain programs and benefits however no studies or consultation results are provided to establish a need or if the dollar figures are sufficient. The proposed programs seem to enhance NVC programs but not in the standard set by the WWII Veterans Charter and other available benefits CAF veterans are denied access to, however sufficient details are not provided to determine to what extent.
The policy doesn’t indicate that the increase in survivor benefits is only available to spouses of veterans collecting Pension Act disability benefits, not the lump sum under the NVC.
Is a return to the Pension Act contemplated?
No despite it being the most controversial part of the NVC. The policy commits to a re-establishment of life long pensions and an increase the disability award. The life long Pension Act benefit is a tax-free disability award as is the NVC’s lump sum. The increase referred to is an increase in the lump sum and the life long pension alluded to appears to be a collection of taxable benefits.
Not returning to the Pension Act denies benefits for spouses and families.
Does the proposal address the difficulties veterans have in accessing benefits?
No, there is no mention of addressing the denial culture at VAC and VRAB.
Does the proposal acknowledge current court actions against veterans?
Yes, there is not mention on how this would be addressed.
Based on the available information, the Liberal Party’s policy fails to address the most contentious part of the NVC. It does offer promise by enhancing NVC benefits and programs. Details are required to determine if the proposed dollar figures meet veterans and their families needs. Major drawbacks are the policy’s unclear language and narrow focus.