When is the Conservative government going to understand that our veterans are not stupid? They can add and subtract. They get it. The feds are using monies in the Veterans Affairs budget that should go to support homeless vets to finance their cross-Canada propaganda tour to sell the public on their hypocritical programs.
Let’s look at what the New Veterans Charter is NOT doing from our veterans perspective (figures from March 2011, Legion Magazine, pg 58):
NEW PENSION RATES FOR 2011:
Veterans under the old charter:
50% Assessment for a single pensioner paid monthly is $1,239.04. or $14,868.48/ yr or $371,712 total over 25 yrs.
The veteran under the new charter (2007):
50% Assessment paid in one lump sum for a single pensioner is: $142,659.74 or $5,706.39 per year for 25 yrs.
Say again? Before — $14,868.48 per year. Now — $5,706.39 per year
One vet’s comment — Sad, eh? Pathetic what the Government thinks of our Veterans — is the kindest grossest understatement ever uttered.
This crippling reduction in support is downright incomprehensible and brutal. Think of it in monthly terms and your stomach churns:
$5,706.39 per year in monthly terms is $475. 53 PER MONTH. How can anyone survive on this?
The mentality of PM Harper and Veterans Affairs Minister Blackburn is ludicrous!!
As one vet comments: “After seeing these numbers, it is no wonder why we have veterans who are homeless and/or living in squalor. They tell the public about these sweeping changes to make it better… in reality, it is much worse. Even if a veteran under each charter invests his/her money, the new veteran is still getting shafted.”
This vet explained that the 50% rate is used as a median to show the inadequacies in the New Veterans Charter because “no one gets 100% as the government leads the public to believe, and the 10% is the basic amount paid out until you stabilize a year later at which time you get your remaining entitlement.”
What’s even more mind-boggling, and frankly scary, the Canadian Legion Editorial on pg 3 of its March issue thinks “these announcements are wonderful, and we applaud the minister and his department for their efforts.”
If you’re an Afghanistan vet, how do you react? “I almost choked on the bile that leaped into my throat upon reading this. How can an organization that outwardly supports the troops and Veterans say this????!!!! I want the money back that I paid for my membership.”
I guess! Are our old vets in the Canadian Legion all suffering from dementia?
On Blackburn’s propanganda tour, what does he stress? A vet highlights his most significant statements — vet’s comments are in square brackets; mine follow:
a) Turnaround times for a decision on rehab eligibility is now 2 weeks instead of 4 weeks. [It took me over 2 years to get a response –as is the case with many others I know. Utter BS from the Minister.]
b) Vets now have less paperwork to complete when applying for the VIP program. [Misleading. It’s the initial application that requires streamlining, not the VIP application. The book War and Peace has less paper than what you have to do to get a pension award. This same paperwork is clearly designed to frustrate and overwhelm and confuse a Veteran. If he/she has PTSD, these feelings are aggravated to the point they often give up.] My observation: Another payment VAC doesn’t have to pay out. A cruel way to save money, don’t you think?
According to a reservist, the situation is even worse. “Unless you get a medical release, you are not entitled to any benefits from VAC beyond a lump sum. A voluntary release voids the benefits as well.”
Do reservists know this when they sign up? Years ago when I signed up in the Navy Reserve, I did so because I wanted to contribute if my country needed me and I honestly never thought about the consequences if I were wounded or disabled as a result. Ah, youth eh! Never thinking ahead. Does this justify a gov’t. taking advantage of good patriotic Canadians?
I’ll tell you this: the more we spread the word, the fewer recruits the Canadian Forces will enlist. What next? Conscription? Well, at least military members would all have to receive the same benefits because there would be no volunteers.