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Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Young vets mark D-Day, protest benefits
« on: June 06, 2012, 07:42:10 PM »
Young vets mark D-Day, protest benefits

By Kris Sims ,Parliamentary Bureau

First posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 05:41 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 05:47 PM EDT

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during a veterans demonstration on the steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, June 6, 2012. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

OTTAWA - Canada's veterans young and old marked the 68th anniversary of D-Day on Parliament Hill Wednesday, honouring those who stormed the beaches of France fighting against the Nazis in the Second World War.

The vets of recent missions, though, also had a message: They are not being treated as fairly as their elder brothers-in-arms when it comes to compensation for injuries and illnesses.

"They have no feeling of security in terms of finance or way of life when they come back with missing limbs or having lost their minds," said retired colonel Pat Stogran, former veterans ombudsman, who attended the vigil and rally. "There's the lump sum, there's the complex claw backs that are involved, the lack of compassion and the way people deal with them, they have to fight for everything and it's a deny culture."

Stogran said when the veterans of the Second World War returned they were better compensated, had educations, jobs and often land waiting for them. "That's all changed now."

Advocacy groups like Wounded Warriors say that prior to the New Veterans Charter, which came into action in 2006, there was an understanding that returning soldiers would always be taken care of.

Before 2006, a typical double amputee would get about $4,000 per month for life. Under the new charter, as an example, Maj. Mark Campbell, 47, of Edmonton, lost both his legs in Afghanistan in 2008, and got a lump sum payment of $276,000.

Campbell called it a "grotesque travesty."