Dear Concerned Citizens,
First off, I would like all concerned to know that this is my opinion and idea on how the New Veterans Charter (NVC) can in some ways be corrected or at least transitioned without so much harm and inequities befalling our Canadian Veterans, while at the same time allowing the Canadian Government to enact long overdue changes to the Pensions or aftercare of Veterans. I have not polled or asked any Veterans group, organization or club for any input, nor am I looking for any now. It is a suggestion, and an opinion, which stands on it’s own, is meant to stimulate ideas and methods to help get Canadian Veterans, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Taxpayer through the issue and transition to the New Veterans Charter, without disrespecting their perceived rights, privileges and the understanding, which our Veterans were lead to believe before serving the People of Canada and this great country.
Now let me say what I believe all veterans have been thinking about the NVC. No one, not even the Government of Canada, has the right to change a contract after the work has begun or worse yet after it has been completed. For still active military personal, it was while the job was in progress and for Veterans it was after, sometimes long after the job had for them already been completed.
Therefore, to change the Pension Act for any soldier who was already out of the military and who has completed their service and their duty to Crown and Country is, in my mind, an illegal act.
Also in my opinion, any country who sends its Military off to war or into combat should not have or at least not have the moral right to change the terms of their contract as long as that mission is still being carried out and troops are still in harm’s way.
I personally can see some if not many advantages to the NVC. I can also see where it would be of great advantage to new Veterans, because of the retraining, 75% of pay, minimum $40,000 per annum and even for the additional $1,000 if seriously injured. But because these added benefits are not available to all veterans and for that matter to almost no Veteran who was not in the Military or in combat during the Afghanistan combat mission, and it is still not for sure clear weather the still serving Military now on a training mission will qualify for these benefits.
The problem arises when we take apart the age and time served for groups. Much older Veterans would and are probably better off with the (one-time) lump-sum payments especially if they do not expect to survive more then seven years, as are the majority of recent injured Veterans who qualify for all of the aforementioned benefits.
The problem, as I see it, escalates when it involves Cold War Veterans. Although they are forced to take what amounts to a much reduced one-time Lump-sum pay out when compared to a lifelong, tax-free, monthly pension, they are not as far as I can see entitled to any of the newly introduced benefits in the NVC as described and repeatedly told to the general public.
Now My Proposal:
I believe that any Veteran and serving soldier, who joined the Military or RCMP before the NVC was fully in effect, should have the choice of receiving benefits under the Old Veterans Act or the New Veterans Charter.
That whichever choice is taken that the Veteran receive all benefits as proposed for that particular Charter or Act and not be limited to you can have this portion but not that, piecemeal pension.
There after I believe that if the Government does not wish the Military and RCMP to become totally unionized, then the two methods of pensions and maybe a third choice (a hybrid-bit from here and a bit from there) after full and public disclosure of both are made, needs to be voted on By the Military, the RCMP, in order to establish which method of pension or mixture there of will be the law of the land.
And lastly, Government needs to accept their decision.
This is, in my humble opinion, one of–if not the only way short of totally disbanding the NVC and reinstating the old Pension act–that the Pension issue between the Government of Canada and Canadian Veterans/Serving Military/RCMP even has a chance to be resolved.
Thank you for reading and for your consideration of this suggestion.
Kenneth H. Young CD
Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada
3205 Telescope Terrace
Nanaimo, BC V9T-3V4