On Saturday, November 20, the following letter-to-the-editor by Robin Brentnall, CD, appeared under David Pugliese’s “Defence Watch” column in the OTTAWA CITIZEN. In it, Robin explain’s the government’s spin on its announced changes to answer veterans’ concerns. More smoke and mirrors as you will read.
Veterans and the public don’t deserve this deception. For a party that promised transparency before being elected to power, their sham is shameful! Bonnie
Recently, the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced that the Conservative government were taking care of veterans and soldiers by making changes to the New Veterans Charter.
What Canadians and the media were unaware of is this:
The Lumpsum payment is now able to be spread out over time. That in itself seems reasonable but you must understand, if the soldier dies before it is all collected, it does not get dispersed and the family gets nothing. With the old monthly payment, the family continued to receive 50% of the monthly payment for the rest of their life.
If the soldier or veteran takes the full lumpsum, that is it. Our government loves to put dollar signs next to their facts but the fact of the matter is, they always state the maximum amount, for which the soldier has to be dead to receive that amount! Most soldiers and veterans are turned down by Veterans Affairs Canada and never receive any compensation. Those who do get their claim approved receive between $13,000 – $40,000, not much when you consider they will lose their job as a soldier.
The Conservative government tells everyone that a soldier or veteran will receive a minimum of $40,000 per year. That’s not the government paying them, it’s the 75% from Manulife under the Long Term Disability SISIP. If a soldier or veteran does not take rehab training or prove they are not able to work, that payment is discontinued. At 65, the Manulife insurance ends, leaving the veteran with Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.
The Conservative government also sold the wonderful additional payment of $1000 per month for severely injured soldiers in Afghanistan. Good news right? Well it doesn’t cover those who were severely injured already, it only applies to those injured in the future! Even when a soldier becomes severely injured in the future they will lose their job and the $1000 per month will be deducted from the Manulife Insurance payment, so the soldier will not have extra, only Manulife benefits!
The $58,000 for severely injured soldiers is another spin. What most don’t realize is that it will not become law until it passes the Senate and then, if it does pass, will only be for soldiers injured in “battle”. Our troops will cease to be in “battle” in July 2011, the same time this wonderful legislation is to begin. The catch is a soldier will be “training only” so the clause of injured in battle will never fit the scenario. Therefore, a soldier will NEVER qualify for the $58,000 because they were training, not in battle. It’s not retroactive to those who may be injured in battle between now and July 2011.
Once again our wonderful bean counters have taken the time to give the Canadian public and the media the old “Smoke and Mirror” show. Con artists would applaud the way our government can deceive us.
Perhaps the Conservatives should change their name once again, this time to the “Con Artist” Party!
Robin Brentnall, CD