Veterans angry

LETTER: Social contract must be lived up to for those who risked their lives

Canadian veterans, who felt betrayed by the Harper government and campaigned to remove them from power during the 2015 election, are now pressuring the Trudeau government to live up to all of their campaign promises. To their credit, the Liberals reopened nine regional veterans offices (including Kelowna) that were closed by the Conservatives, and rehired both claims processing staff and case managers at Veterans Affairs.

On Nov. 9, a veterans rally took place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

During the press conference, retired major Mark Campbell, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, told reporters: “Veterans are angry, particularly the generation of modern veterans that have been subjected to the New Veterans Charter since 2006, which saw a significant 40 to 90 per cent reduction in our disability compensation in the middle of the [Afghanistan] war, while we were fighting the war, without telling any of us that our disability compensation was being reduced. That, in and of itself, was an unconscionable act on the part of the government of Canada. We need to rectify that with a return to the life-long pensions. It has to be a true pension, and it has to achieve parity with the former Pension Act or it’s all been a waste of time, and Veterans Affairs and the government of Canada’s credibility with the veteran community will die. This is the hill that Veterans Affairs is going to die on if the government of Canada does not get it right next month.”

In 1917, Prime Minister Robert Borden said: “When a Canadian enlists, they are promised that if they are injured or killed in service, then Canada will take care of them and their loved ones. This social contract is our sacred obligation to those who serve. We Canadians must defend it.”

David Buckna

Kelowna, B.C.

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