Canadian veterans fight to reinstate lifelong pensions

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Canadian veterans fight to reinstate lifelong pensions

Post by Accer on Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:24 am

Canadian veterans fight to reinstate lifelong pensions




The battle has gone all the way to the Supreme Court
KATYA SLEPIANSun Oct 15th, 2017 7:10pm

Burnaby’s Central Park was packed with people on Sunday morning, all there with one goal: to bring back lifelong pensions for veterans.

The event, the inaugural Walk for Veterans, was hosted by the Equitas Society.

Since its formation in 2012, the South Surrey-White Rock based group has been advocating for the cause through a class-action lawsuit against the federal government.

Video: http://streaming-colo.blackpress.ca:5080/live/streams/transcoded_vods/20171016015758-9900.mp4.mp4

The Pension Act, which guaranteed lifelong pensions for veterans, was replaced by the New Veterans Charter in 2006.

“It replaced [lifelong pensions] with lump sum payments that ended up being disproportionally lower,” said president Marc Burchell.

Burchell said that although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a pledge to reinstate the lifelong pensions, the lack of action has left veterans feeling betrayed.

“He has failed to keep that promise,” said Burchell.

Currently, the Canadian government is fighting the lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court of Appeals. If it fails to get the result it wants, it must take it to the country’s top court.

The lawsuit has six plaintiffs, including Coquitlam veteran Aaron Bedard.

Bedard served in Afghanistan as part of the first combat tour of Kandahar. He served for 10 years, from 2002-2010, despite a serious injury from going over an anti-tank mine just three months in.

“I hid my injuries and carried on with a traumatic brain injury and damage to my spine,” said Bedard. He returned to Canada in 2007 and was went to doctor to doctor, but received little help.

“I started developing post-traumatic stress disorder.”

It took three years before he was released from service but according to Bedard, much of the fight remained ahead.

“Dealing with Veterans Affairs Canada was immediately adversarial,” said Bedard. He learned that he would only be getting a lump sum, which in 2010 was only $250,000.

It’s a common thread, said Burchell, that’s not helped by what he calls Veteran Affairs’ “culture of denial.”

“These men and women come back from Afghanistan and a lot of them are suffering from PTSD,” said Burchell. “They’ve been fighting [for pensions] but it’s hard for the to fight when they’re suffering from this disability.”

To learn more about the Equitas Society, visit their website. http://www.equitassociety.ca/

http://www.saobserver.net/news/video-canadian-veterans-fight-to-reinstate-lifelong-pensions/
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