EDITORIAL: Treat veterans with honour

Canadian soldiers are getting substantially less support than they would have received with the former indexed pension

On Sunday many of us will gather around cenotaphs and in city squares for solemn ceremonies paying tribute to Canada’s service men and women. We’ll hear words like sacrifice and honour, some of them uttered by politicians.

But for some veterans they’ll ring hollow.

In 2006, Parliament unanimously passed the New Veterans Charter that changed the way injured soldiers are compensated. Instead of a lifetime pension, indexed to inflation, veterans injured after that year, or who had their injury diagnosed since then, would get a lump sump settlement.

Veterans Affairs champions the new system as “a more complete approach to helping our men and women injured in the line of duty,” offering them “real hope.”

But some injured veterans say otherwise. They say Canadian soldiers injured in Afghanistan, and those suffering the lingering mental and emotional effects of their tour are getting substantially less support than they would have received with the former indexed pension.

A study by Queen’s University last year concluded most disabled soldiers will receive only two-thirds the compensation under the New Veterans Charter than they would have received from the old act.

Recently Canada’s Auditor-General criticized the Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs for their shoddy treatment of injured veterans, saying the system to get them help is “complex, lengthy and challenging to navigate.”

Even in death, the indignities continue. A program that is supposed to contribute just over $3,600 to the funeral costs for destitute ex-soldiers has rejected more than two-thirds of funding requests since 2006. Even when approved, that money is still less than some social services departments will pay towards the burial of the homeless.

It’s one thing for Canada’s politicians to honour our veterans. It’s another to treat them with honour.

—Burnaby News Leader

Just Posted

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Illness and injury leaving many Abbotsford firefighters unable to work

More than 20 firefighters missed time due to long-term illness or injury last year

Mouat’s Benning signs with UFV wrestling

Benning one of 10 new recruits inked for the fall

Donation of more than $20,000 supports Shine On Legacy Fund

Fund created in memory of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson

BREAKING: Fire destroys Chilliwack restaurant

Popular Banners Restaurant goes up in flames Sunday morning.

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Serial speeder clocked going 138 km/hr in 90 zone

Driver had their vehicle impounded

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Paul Bennett was ‘a champion for the sport,’ team manager says

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

VIDEO: Plane crashes in Langley farm field (updated)

Plane lost power shortly after takeoff, RCMP told

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

1 man in critical condition after ‘serious’ stabbing in Downtown Eastside: police

Vancouver police say there was an altercation and stabbing appears targeted

Most Read