Author Topic: Federal Government Pays So Little For Veterans? Funerals That Funeral Homes Are Covering The Costs  (Read 11881 times)

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CVA_Posting

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Federal Government Pays So Little For Veterans? Funerals That Funeral Homes Are Covering The Costs

My Ottawa Citizen colleague Andrew Duffy is reporting this:


OTTAWA ? Canadian funeral directors say they?re routinely subsidizing the burials of this country?s most impoverished war veterans because the federal government pays so little for the service.


Veterans Affairs Canada …


Source: Federal Government Pays So Little For Veterans? Funerals That Funeral Homes Are Covering The Costs



My Ottawa Citizen colleague Andrew Duffy is reporting this:

OTTAWA — Canadian funeral directors say they’re routinely subsidizing the burials of this country’s most impoverished war veterans because the federal government pays so little for the service.

Veterans Affairs Canada provides eligible veterans with up to $3,600 for funeral services through the Last Post Fund.

But that amount — it has remained unchanged for more than a decade — now covers only about half the cost of a veteran’s funeral, according to the Funeral Service Association of Canada.

“It’s mostly the members of our association, or the families themselves, that are making up the difference,” said Phil Fredette, the association’s government relations chair.

Depending on the province, Fredette said, it now costs between $6,500 and $9,000 to provide the funeral services mandated under the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program.

Among other things, the program requires funeral directors to bury war veterans in wooden caskets of a specified quality.

Some provinces, Fredette said, now pay as much or more for funeral services through social assistance.

Nova Scotia, for instance, offers $3,800 to cover the cost of a funeral and related services for a qualifying welfare recipient.

In Ontario, many municipalities pay funeral service rates of $4,000 to $5,000 for eligible social service recipients. Ottawa increased its rates last year to $4,366.

 

http://o.canada.com/2012/10/24/canadian-funeral-directors-say-theyre-paying-to-bury-war-vets/

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Fund intended for impoverished veterans' funerals rejects most applications
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 02:55:58 PM »
Fund intended for impoverished veterans' funerals rejects most applications

The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 2:22PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 2:57PM EST

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/fund-intended-for-impoverished-veterans-funerals-rejects-most-applications-1.1024014#ixzz2BI3ojaPP



OTTAWA -- A federal burial fund meant to give impoverished veterans a final, dignified salute has rejected over two-thirds of the applications it's received since 2006.

And of the requests that are accepted, Ottawa contributes just over $3,600 toward the funeral cost of destitute ex-soldiers, a figure that is substantially lower than what some social services departments pay towards the burial of the homeless and those on welfare.

According to figures put before Parliament, of the 29,853 requests made to the veterans funeral and burial program, 20,147 pleas for funding 67.4 per cent were rejected.

They either did not meet the eligibility criteria, or failed a means test, which says a qualifying veteran's annual income must have been less than $12,010 per year.

The executive director of the Last Post Fund, the independent agency that has for decades administered the program on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada, acknowledges the high rejection rate, but says the nature of the criteria excludes many modern day soldiers who served in the Cold War and Afghanistan.

Jean-Pierre Goyer says they have been petitioning Stephen Harper's Conservative government to not only overhaul the rules, but to increase the stipend given to those who do qualify for assistance.

"Our prime minister and his government don't see it as a priority and it hasn't made the list for the last budget," said Goyer. "We came close last budget, I'm told, and our improvements were taken off the list at almost the last minute. We hope in the next federal budget we can see this through."

"Veterans affairs and their minister, Steven Blaney, they are committed to see this change through. I would tell, and you can quote me on that, the problem is with the government of Canada."

Overhauling eligibility and increasing the funeral stipend, which hasn't been raised in a decade, could cost between $5 million and $7 million annually.

The Harper government through veterans affairs has poured millions of dollars into the restoration of local war monuments over the last two federal budgets. These photo-op friendly projects are unveiled by local MPs with much fanfare.

It has also spent $28 million to celebrate the War of 1812, including advertising, historical recreations and the presentation of battle honours to regiments that fought in a war that pre-dated Confederation.

A spokesman for the veterans minister said the government has been working with the veterans and their families to respond to their priorities and concerns.

"The department is constantly reviewing all of its programs to deliver better services to veterans and their families," said Niklaus Schwenker.

The government has also recently invested millions in improved veterans benefits, but critics say ignoring the burial issue is tantamount to a final insult.

"There's an awful lot of photo-ops and spin and propaganda about how this government purportedly loves veterans. They talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk," said Liberal veterans critic Sean Casey.

"This has been repeatedly raised."

Just recently, funeral directors meeting in Ottawa complained they were often subsidizing the shortfall between the federal government's $3,600 stipend and the nearly $10,000 price tag of modern funerals.

Goyer says the fund sometimes is bypassed now and requests go directly to provincial social services, which in some cases contribute up to $5,000.

The Royal Canadian Legion has also been lobbying to see the stipend increased for the funeral rate paid for serving members of the Forces, which is now over $13,000. The Legion argues the eligibility rules flaunt the Canadian Forces Military and Veterans Re-Establishment and Compensation Act.

The criteria of the fund restrict eligibility to soldiers who fought in both world wars, Korea and to those who were in receipt of a veterans disability benefit something Goyer says is badly in need of revision.

"What is the difference between modern-day veterans that we send to Afghanistan or in Africa to represent the country and fight for freedom and ensure that nobody's abused," and those who fought before them? Goyer asked.

The Last Post still receives pleas to bury modern-day veterans and currently has nine cases under consideration, including a former homeless soldier found dead on the streets of Calgary.

It recently took to private fundraising, for the first time, in order to bury veterans who fall outside of the federal criteria and is aiming to raise $9 million over the next three years.

The agency, like other arms of government, has been subject to both the strategic review and the deficit reduction plan and was told to cut its budget.

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Pressure mounts on Harper government over funeral fund rejections for poor vets

By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press November 5, 2012 6:00 PM

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Pressure+mounts+Harper+government+over+funeral+fund+rejections/7499934/story.html#ixzz2BPQZQkJe


OTTAWA - Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, who championed improvements to a federal burial fund for impoverished ex-soldiers, was put in the awkward position Monday of defending his own government's inaction and the fact that over two-thirds of applicants are rejected.

The Last Post Fund, an independent agency that administers a federal funeral and grave-marker program for poor veterans, has turned down 67 per cent of the applications submitted since 2006.

Both the fund and Blaney's own department have lobbied the Harper government to re-define the eligibility criteria and to increase the $3,600 stipend given to families who do qualify, but to no avail.

Blaney says unlike the previous Liberal government, the Conservatives have not cut the fund.

"This is a program for which we have maintained benefits, contrary to the former Liberal government, which made cuts to this program," Blaney told reporters following a ceremony in the Senate to mark the beginning of veterans week. "Our firm intention is to maintain this program. We are covering all the funeral and burial costs and we will keep on this way."

Just over 17 years ago, Jean Chretien's government introduced changes to the Last Post Fund that were aimed at slowing its growth, measures that were later amended in 2000, the last time the federal government overhauled the program meant to give poor veterans a decent burial.

The fund has urged the Harper government to re-write the eligibility criteria, which limit payments to those who fought in the Second War War or Korea or were in receipt of veterans disability benefits, to include more modern veterans. It has also asked for an increase in the stipend.

Over the last two years, the veterans department has proposed an overhaul, estimated to cost between $5 million and $7 million annually, only to be shot down by the cabinet committee that decides what goes into the budget.

The executive director of the fund has praised Blaney and blamed the government.

Ex-soldiers are outraged and Mike Blais, of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, says that kind of penny-pinching treatment is not what members of the military expect when they enlist and put their lives on the line.

"This is completely unacceptable," said Blais. "This is not a matter of cutting. It's not a matter of adding. It's a matter of fulfilling the obligation they have to these people."

He said it's outrageous that the agency has been forced to turn to private fundraising in order to cover the cost of funerals for needy veterans who do not qualify for federal assistance.

"That tells me the criteria needs to be changed immediately and it also tells me that there are Canadians ... that respect the sacred bond with veterans, even if our government does not," said Blais.

The Liberals called the lack of support for the fund "a national disgrace" and pointed out that responses to written questions posed in the House of Commons before the last election said the government was reviewing the program. A year later, when the same question was asked by Liberal Sen. Percy Downe, the government said it was committed to "improvements in a fiscally prudent manner."

MP Sean Casey, the Liberal veterans critic, demanded the government set up a panel to review the level of federal support is appropriate for the families of poor veterans.

He was hotly dismissed by Blaney, who told the Liberals they should be "ashamed to ask this question" given their actions when in power.

New Democrat veterans critic Peter Stoffer said the government should improve the program and there's no excuse not to, given the amount of money spent on photo-op friendly war monument restoration.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Pressure+mounts+Harper+government+over+funeral+fund+rejections/7499934/story.html#ixzz2BPQdkztg

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PM says veterans’ programs 'under review' amid controversy over funeral fund
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 11:48:29 AM »
PM says veterans’ programs 'under review' amid controversy over funeral fund

CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 5:24PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 10:36PM EST

VIDEO>>> http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/pm-says-veterans-programs-under-review-amid-controversy-over-funeral-fund-1.1033138



The president of a Canadian veterans’ advocacy group said it is “unconscionable” that nearly two-thirds of families who apply for government funding to help cover the cost of veterans’ funerals are denied.

During an interview with CTV News Channel Saturday, Canadian Veterans Advocacy president Michael Blais said that the eligibility criteria for The Last Post Fund must be reviewed.

“Clearly the criteria has to be revisited with a sense of compassion, not just an insurance company mentality that’s ravishing Veterans affairs Canada right now,” said Blais, who himself served in the Armed Forces for 16 years. “These men deserve compassion.”

Currently the fund provides $3,600 to families of veterans who meet the means test.

According to a review by Veterans Affairs Canada, this amount has not changed in 12 years. It is also less than what some provinces pay to help provide funerals for the homeless and welfare recipients.

Speaking from the Philippines, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters the Conservatives continue to make veterans care a priority.

"Let me just say that government of Canada puts as you know a very high priority on care for our veterans. This government has made enormous, billions of dollars’ worth of investments in programs particularly for the most needy veterans," he said. “Those programs are under constant review and we will continue to assess their suitability going forward.”

Blais said the $3,600 amount is too low and the means test too arbitrary. For example, he argued, the test does not take into account factors such as whether or not a veteran had costly health care expenses before death.

The fund has also been criticized because it is not available for veterans from recent conflicts, including Afghanistan.

A expansion of the eligibility criteria and boost in the amount provided per funeral is estimated to cost between $5 million and $7 million annually. By contrast, the government has earmarked $28 million to commemorate the War of 1812.

Blais accused the government of ignoring the needs of veterans and called for a policy ensuring a dignified burial for all of Canada’s veterans.

With files from The Canadian Press

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/pm-says-veterans-programs-under-review-amid-controversy-over-funeral-fund-1.1033138#ixzz2C1mbG6on

CVA_Posting

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Stephen Harper falls short of pledge to improve veterans’ burial fund
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 07:08:38 PM »
Stephen Harper falls short of pledge to improve veterans’ burial fund

By Mark Kennedy, Postmedia News November 12, 2012

MANILA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government is under fire for shortchanging a federal burial fund for ex-soldiers, pledged on Saturday to support Canada’s “most needy veterans” but would not commit to improving the program many of them need for a decent funeral.

Harper was responding to reports that the Last Post Fund has rejected two-thirds of the applications from veterans who need the money to help pay for burials and gravestones.

He also refused to offer his personal opinion about how he felt about the fact that so many ex-soldiers are being turned down.

“Let me just say that the government of Canada puts, as you know, a very high priority on care for our veterans,” Harper said in respond to a question at a news conference here.

“This government has made enormous —billions of dollars — in new investments in programs. Particularly for the most needy veterans.”

“Obviously those programs are under constant review and we will continue to assess their suitability going forward.”

Harper declined to say anything further and moved on to the next question from journalists.

The prime minister flies to Hong Kong on Sunday to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony at a graveyard where Canadians who died in the Second World War are buried.

Harper has been in South Asia all week on a trade trip — for several days in India, and then on Saturday in the Philippines.

While he was gone, a controversy erupted back in Ottawa, where the Conservative government has defended its policy on the burial fund for impoverished veterans.

It was revealed through the media that since 2006 — the year Harper’s Tories took power — there were 29,853 requests made to the veterans funeral and burial program. Of those, 20,147 applications for funding (or 67.4 per cent) were rejected.

Moreover, of the requests that are granted, the federal government contributes a relatively small sum — $3,600 — toward covering the funeral costs of destitute veterans.

The Last Post Fund is an independent agency that has long administered the program on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada.

Under eligibly criteria, veterans seeking the funds must have served in either the Second World War or Korean War or were in receipt of disability benefits.

Moreover, applicants had to pass a “means test” which proved their annual income was less than $12,010. The Last Post Fund’s executive director has acknowledged that the criteria excludes many modern veterans who, for instance, served in the Cold War and Afghanistan.

In recent years, the Fund has asked the Harper government to re-write the eligibility criteria so that more veterans will qualify, and to increase the stipend to $5,000 for funeral costs.

The veterans department appeared to concur and proposed changes that would cost between $5 million and $7 million a year, but its plans were rejected by a powerful cabinet committee that reviews government spending.

In the meantime, as Harper’s government spends millions to promote historical events to commemorate the War of 1812, it has been stung by criticism from veterans’ groups, opposition parties, and newspaper editorialists who said the Tories are penny-pinching today’s poor veterans.

At a meeting in Ottawa , funeral directors said they often subsidize the difference between the fund’s $3,600 stipend and the $10,000 that it often costs for a funeral.

In the House of Commons last week, New Democrat MP Sylvain Chicoine said the governing Tories have “abandoned” the families of deceased veterans “in their hour of need.”

“The Conservatives like to pull out all the stops when there is a photo op, but when the cameras disappear, they completely ignore our veterans,” said Chicoine.

In response, Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney made no apologies for the current state of the Fund.

“Our government has enormous respect for the men and women who risk their lives for our country,” said the minister, who then praised the burial fund without making any mention of the tight criteria.

“The funeral and burial program is provided to veterans through the Last Post Fund. It is provided to all veterans in need who have been injured in the line of duty.”

mkennedy(at)postmedia.com

Twitter.com/Mark_Kennedy_
© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

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Stephen Harper sidesteps call to boost funding for vets’ funeral
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2012, 09:29:56 PM »
Stephen Harper sidesteps call to boost funding for vets’ funeral

Published on Saturday November 10, 2012

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1285999--stephen-harper-sidesteps-call-to-boost-funding-for-vets-funeral



MANILA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn’t offering much hope for impoverished veterans who need help with their funeral expenses.

The controversy flared up this week in Ottawa after revelations that two-thirds of applicants to a special fund meant to offset funeral costs are being rejected.

Asked how he felt about the reality that poor veterans are having trouble with their funeral expenses, Harper gave no firm commitment that the problem would be resolved.

Instead, he said his Conservative government has pumped “billions” into programs to aid veterans.

“Let me just say that the Government of Canada puts . . . a very high priority on care for our veterans,” Harper said during a visit to the Philippines on Saturday.

“This government has made enormous — billions of dollars — new investments in programs, particularly for the most needy veterans,” he said.

Yet the Conservative government, which has often boasted of its investments in the Canadian military, this week faced sharp criticism that it was stiffing Canada’s most vulnerable veterans — those who couldn’t pay their own funeral costs.

At the heart of the debate is the Last Post Fund, a non-profit organization that offers financial benefits for funeral expenses for eligible vets. However the funding has been capped at $3,600 since 2001, despite rising costs that have pushed typical funeral prices to more than twice that amount.

Funeral directors are often left to pick up the difference to ensure veterans are provided with a proper funeral.

“For Canada, this is unjustifiable,” says Jean-Pierre Goyer, executive director of the fund, which administers funerals and burials for Veterans Affairs Canada.

That has prompted veterans groups, opposition politicians and even funeral directors to press the federal government to boost funding to the program.

“Why is it that so many veterans in the country cannot get a proper funeral and burial service after the services they gave to us? They liberated Europe. They gave their very best to our country. Will the government now ensure that all veterans in our country get a proper funeral and burial?” NDP MP Peter Stoffer said in the Commons on Wednesday.

The Funeral Service Association of Canada has taken its plea for improved funding directly to Parliament Hill, urging the Conservative government to take action to ensure veterans received “dignified burials.”

But Harper was giving no assurances that his government, which is spending $28 million to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812, would act on this issue.

“Obviously, those programs are under constant review and we will continue to assess their suitability going forward,” said Harper, who will mark Remembrance Day in Hong Kong on Sunday.

In French, he added that those reviews would deem whether the program is “appropriate for today’s needs.”

However, advocates say the needs are already well-known. They want the cap raised to $5,000 for each funeral, an increase that would cost an additional $5 million a year. The program now costs $10.2 million a year to administer.

The controversy comes as Ottawa is already under fire for its treatment of modern-day injured veterans. Despite an overhaul of the benefits package, the government has faced continuing criticism that ill and injured veterans are being shortchanged. Indeed, the government has been forced to make a series of successive patchwork fixes to correct shortfalls in the benefits program.

Still, the federal government is facing a class-action lawsuit from injured veterans, including those wounded in Afghanistan, charging that their benefits are inadequate.

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Government working hard on behalf of veterans (Funeral Fund)
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 05:55:29 PM »
Government working hard on behalf of veterans

Published on Sunday December 16, 2012

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters/article/1302776--government-working-hard-on-behalf-of-veterans



Re: Stephen Harper sidesteps call to boost funding for vets’ funeral, Nov. 10

After years of staggering Liberal neglect and funding cuts, our Conservative government is increasing benefits for veterans and their families to unprecedented levels. We created the Office of the Veterans’ Ombudsman, the Veterans’ Bill of Rights, improved the New Veterans Charter to better address the needs of modern day veterans, and are making important new investments to improve benefits for veterans because it’s the right thing to do. Administered by the Last Post Fund, the Funeral and Burial program has since 2006 provided the families of more than 10,000 veterans with assistance, and through combined funeral and burial costs has provided more than $10,000 to assist the family of a veteran in need. This program is available to all veterans who die as a result of a service-related disability and in addition to providing funding for funeral assistance, all burial expenses are paid for.

When compared to other developed countries, our program is one of the most comprehensive. Still, we know that consistently serving veterans better is a continuing process, which is why all of our programs are under continuous review so that we can improve and adjust them to better address the priorities of veterans and their families. They have stood up for us at home and abroad and it’s our duty to do the same for them.

Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Ottawa

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Royal Canadian Legion pressuring feds to pay for poor soldiers' funerals
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 02:32:05 PM »
Royal Canadian Legion pressuring feds to pay for poor soldiers' funerals

The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 6:45AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 7:56AM EST

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/royal-canadian-legion-pressuring-feds-to-pay-for-poor-soldiers-funerals-1.1137125#ixzz2JaDnutYJ



OTTAWA -- The Royal Canadian Legion will launch a national letter-writing campaign today aimed at forcing the Harper government to cover the full cost of burying impoverished soldiers.

Gordon Moore, the dominion president, will hold a news conference in Elmira, Ont. to outline the campaign.

He'll be joined by the executive director of the Last Post Fund, the independent agency that administers the federal government's funeral and burial program for Veterans Affairs Canada.

Last fall, in a story by The Canadian Press, it was revealed the fund had rejected 20,147 applications submitted to it by the families of poor soldiers who passed away.

That was roughly two-thirds of the total number of pleas the fund had received since 2006.

Moore and the Legion have been battling since 2008 to have the criteria updated and says he's dismayed at the inaction.

The Legion is calling on its 330,000 members across Canada, and the general public, to write their Members of Parliament to demand the funeral stipend be raised from the current $3,600 per soldier.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/royal-canadian-legion-pressuring-feds-to-pay-for-poor-soldiers-funerals-1.1137125#ixzz2JaDwk07K

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Tony
Jan. 31, 2013
2:17 PM

Stewie, I served 9 1/2 years in the CF and when I got out and got my first pay check outside of the CF I was shocked. Those men and women put the uniform on every day to protect the rights and freedoms of guys and girls like you so you have a career choice. Some of those members come back and they cannot work and have not had a chance to save enough money in their life time. I wish that I could have collected the EI that I paid in while I was in the military as well when I couldn't find a job once I got out medically. Fortunately I was able to find a job eventually. I think that there should be criteria that determins who gets this but with our older soldiers that are starting to pass on and the cost of a funeral it is hard to turn your back on them. If they turned their back on Canada we wouldn't be able to debate this.

JB in Ontario
Jan. 31, 2013
2:00 PM

We as Caandians have to do a better job of taking care of our men and women in uniform. $3600.00 is not very much when you consider an average funeral costs upwards of $12000.00. These men and women deserve more from our Canadian government.

bill kennedy
Jan. 31, 2013
12:51 PM

The feds should be paying for ALL service people not just the poor

Dave
Jan. 31, 2013
12:50 PM

I'm liberal for the most part but I have to agree with Stewie. People need to be accountable for their own decisions in life and stop relying on everyone else to bail them out because they neglected to save or plan ahead. If my tax dollars are constantly going to pay for other people's funerals, why should I bother saving to pay for my own? Technically if the government is going to pay for the funerals of soldiers or the employees of any particular industry, they should pay for the funerals of every citizen who is forced to pay into the Canadian Pension Plan and Employment Insurance week after week but never collects because they're never unemployed or don't live long enough to be eligible for their pension. Forced unwanted insurance and a minimum age to collect your own pension are both huge scams, unconstitutional, and should be illegal because they remove the individual's right to freedom of choice. Meanwhile Harper's four days in a limo overseas is costing us a million dollars in tax revenue, so I can't even imagine what his trips to India or wherever cost on average in their entirety.

Old Trooper
Jan. 31, 2013
12:49 PM

The Last Post fund was never intended to handle funerals for every man who ever put on a uniform. It is intended ONLY to halp with funerals for those few war veterans who are impoverished and whose family CANNOT afford a burial. This veteran supports the Last Post and, like my veteran father before me, will not need their assistance.

Stewie
Jan. 31, 2013
12:23 PM

A job in the military is a career choice, my choice was a carpenter and the government doesn't pay for my funeral costs, vets should be no different than anyone else in Canada these people are paid good money and need to learn to save like the rest of us all Canadians need to be treated the same.

Anne
Jan. 31, 2013
12:13 PM

Hey "too bad" - if it wasn't for that 'war machine' - you might be living with a swastika on your house, or maybe your daughter, sisters wouldn't be allowed to go to school and your life controlled by clerics - not to mention you'd have no forum such as this to voice your opinion. So a little respect please for those who went to war on all our behalf.

Eric from Ontario
Jan. 31, 2013
12:09 PM

Let's end this Socialist, nanny state mentality. Whatever happened to self reliance? Mr. Harper please don't cave in to all these bleeding heart liberals asking for more hand outs. Look to the south and see whats that leads to.

Erica
Jan. 31, 2013
11:15 AM

I agree that we should be taking better care of our vets. I had this conversation the other day with a man who is getting Vet. Affairs to pay him for breaking his wrist, and they have been for two years now. However, there are so many men who DESERVE this money and do not get it. I am behind this idea 100% and would like to know where I should be sending this letter, and any other information anyone can provide me. As a woman who's fiance is a soldier, I support all acts to better these men's lives

Phil McKenna
Jan. 31, 2013
10:49 AM

I am a retired veteran with 36yrs service and 9 tours. For those here who haven't served and complain about their tax dollars being wasted I have just two things to point out. 1. The Legion is asking for only those vets who die with little or no money, Impoverished vets,2. Our Federal Government recently pledged 250 Million dollars to the Auto industry for additional stimulus On top of the billions it loaned/ gave during the Resecssion. Who deserves more help our vets who served with honour or the auto industry? One more comment for those who piss and moan in their comments... put on the uniform, serve then talk to me.

Annon
Jan. 31, 2013
10:33 AM

I honestly had no idea that soldiers who perish in the line of duty were on the hook for their own funerals. This is a complete failing of the ENTIRE country! It is not just the Harper gov'ts responsibility to make sure our soldiers are properly honored for the sacrifice they make for our causes, but the responsibility of ALL to ensure this happens. Shameful that we ask ppl to die for us then turn around and drop them like dirty laundry when they do just that. Despicable.

Ex army guy
Jan. 31, 2013
10:33 AM

If you served during WW2, Korea, Bosnia and Afghanistan then yes you should have the right to have a funeral paid by the government. But if you stayed in Canada and never went anywhere, then start saving.

Rick W in BC Retired Vet
Jan. 31, 2013
10:25 AM

I see with Harpers Conservatives as usual are great with talking the talk but not walking the walk. They have no issues with giving their friends high paying appointments to the senate and their corporate campaign contributers tax breaks while screwing the people who put them in office by telling us that it in our intrests that they do so. This is an inexpensive common sense issue that is easily fixed but will not be since there is no immediate benefits to the Conservative party until just before the next election in 24 months.

Jeremy
Jan. 31, 2013
10:23 AM

@David: Well good for your Father that he has a family that can help provide for him in his golden years. But what about the thousands suffering for years at the hands of physical disabilities, or PTSD? Homeless, or disenfranchised Veterans in Canada is a real, immediate issue that no one should be trying to sweep under the rug, like your guy Harper is? Disgusting, despicable behavior from our PM. Try to show a little compassion to our fellow service men and women.

Too bad
Jan. 31, 2013
10:09 AM

I don't want any more of my tax dollars going to the war machine. If you can't pay for it, too bad.

David - Calgary
Jan. 31, 2013
9:58 AM

This is not referring to those soldiers that are killed in the line of duty, read the story. And no it doesn't say it clearly but it does say 20,147 applications were turned down ... have you heard about any combat Canada is involved in where 10's of thousands of our soldiers have been killed lately? I'm an Army brat and will pay for my fathers funeral without asking the government for financial assistance.

murray dawes
Jan. 31, 2013
9:42 AM

If you die in combat, your funeral is paid for by the crown if you want a military funeral. If you are a current serving member or retired member and you die from natural causes, you have to pay for your funeral just like anybody else. Soldiers are well paid now and just like myself, we need to plan for our retirement, and estate, covering the cost of planting our bodies in the ground

Support our Troops
Jan. 31, 2013
9:25 AM

It is a sad thing to know that our Canadian Military are the first in line when it comes to budget claw backs or reductions and the Government can afford five New Senate appointments and very hefty pensions within a very short time. I served for twenty years and was forced to retire because my job was civilianized. We really are a disposable commodity to the Federal Government. They are definitely there for any Photo Ops, or condolences as long as it benefits them. Conservative/Liberal/NDP, it doesn't matter.

prdcan
Jan. 31, 2013
9:22 AM

Wow, this I did not know. My son is in the Navy and I would be shocked if after the shock of losing her husband, my daughter-in-law had to worry about paying for his funeral. This had better change. Need the address, I know lots of people who would write!

Beanies
Jan. 31, 2013
9:04 AM

Where is the REST of the story? Are these soldiers who've died during combat? Or are we talking about 'vets' in general? I genuinely would like to know 'what' soldiers they're referring to in this article. I think ANY soldier who's passed away as a result of combat should have their funeral paid for--that is a given. But vets who've died of natural causes? Years and years later? Ummm....Not sure on that one.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/royal-canadian-legion-pressuring-feds-to-pay-for-poor-soldiers-funerals-1.1137125#ixzz2JaE23h2t

One Veteran One Standard

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Legion: poor veterans deserve better burials
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 05:30:49 PM »
Legion: poor veterans deserve better burials

January 31, 2013 Updated: January 31, 2013 | 4:28 pm



OTTAWA – Edward Ledwos served as a gunner on a Canadian corvette in the icy waters of the North Atlantic for three years during the Second World War and came home partially deaf.

Too proud, or perhaps too embarrassed, to fight the government for a full disability pension, the 87-year-old passed away on Oct. 14, 2012, and was buried near his home in Selkirk, Man.

His widow, Helen, worked well into her 80s as a real estate agent to supplement his meagre pension from a local rolling mill.

It was a matter of survival, especially when her husband developed Alzheimer’s before passing away.

Helen Ledwos’ application to have some of his funeral and burial costs covered by an arm’s length veteran’s agency was turned down on Nov. 29, 2012, making hers the latest of more than 20,000 applications to be rejected by the Last Post Fund.

“I feel he should have been entitled to something,” Ledwos told The Canadian Press in a recent interview.

“He was called, so he went. He did it for everybody.”

Since Edward Ledwos was not in receipt of a full veterans disability pension and because of his estate was valued at more than the $12,010 per year threshold, his family did not qualify for reimbursement of his $7,100 funeral.

Had the application been accepted, the maximum payout from the veterans fund would have been $3,600.

The Royal Canadian Legion and at least one opposition party launched a letter-writing campaign Thursday aimed at forcing the Conservative government to cover the full cost of burying impoverished soldiers.

Jean-Pierre Goyer, the fund’s executive director, said the federal government recognized its duty to impoverished soldiers decades ago, but it has been eroding.

“The Canadian government recognized in 1920 that it was their responsibility to ensure a dignified funeral and burial for its veterans,” Goyer said. “They have a program, and it’s a good program, but it needs to adjusted. It needs to be modernized.”

The legion’s dominion president, Gordon Moore, wants the Harper government to increase the $3,600 stipend and re-evaluate the criteria, such the means test, and open up the program to modern day veterans.

Right now, the fund is restricted to those who served in the Second World War and Korea, as well as those in receipt of a full veterans disability pension.

Moore, who has been fighting since 2008 to have the criteria updated, said he’s dismayed at the government’s “inaction.”

The legion is calling on its 330,000 members across Canada, along with the general public, to write members of Parliament to demand change.

“I ask, what is the Canadian government waiting for?” Moore said in an interview.

Goyer said the families of modern veterans, those who served in the Cold War, peacekeeping and Afghanistan, are being turned away, something that prompted his agency to begin private fundraising.

But the effort has been skeptical reception by the public.

“We’re trying a fundraiser, (but) it’s not working as good as we would have liked,” Goyer said.

“The main reason for that is the Canadian public, the Canadian people feel this is a Canadian government responsibility.”

Through private donations over the last year, the Last Post Fund assisted 12 families of dead modern soldiers, but only partially offset the funeral bills.

The federal Liberals piled on Thursday with the introduction of a motion in Parliament calling on the Conservatives to increase the stipend and make other improvements to the program.

“It is unacceptable that the Conservatives are forcing the families of our brave veterans to pay thousands for funerals while millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted commemorating the War of 1812,” said Liberal veterans affairs critic Sean Casey.

“This is a question of fairness and providing proper support to our vets. We hope all parties will immediately adopt this motion.”

Niklaus Schwenker, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, said the government is already being generous.

“While all of our programs are under constant review as we look for ways to improve them through a challenging fiscal climate, Canada’s funeral and burial program is one of the most comprehensive among allied nations and is the only program to cover full burial costs.”

Yet, both the legion and Goyer say the government is being “misleading.”

Currently, the surviving families of veterans are subjected to a means test, where they are eligible for reimbursement if their income falls below $12,010 per year. The threshold used to be $24,000, but was cut by Jean Chretien’s Liberal government as part of its second deficit-fighting budget.

Moore said the legion wants that eligibility criteria updated, noting that the exemption line “is considerably less than the poverty level and has not been adjusted since 1995.”

When complaints about the fund surfaced last November, the Harper government insisted it was contributing more than $3,600 to those that did qualify, and in fact some of the payments went as high as $10,000.

In order to come up with that figure, Moore said the government has been combining two potential benefits in order to confuse the issue.

“This is misleading veterans and their families and the Canadian public,” he said. “This is misleading and deceptive.”

Moore said $3,600 does not begin to cover the costs for a simple and dignified funeral, which typically includes a funeral service director, grave site services and a casket or urn.

Moore noted the federal government does pay separately for the “cheapest plot,” which is defined as the “lowest cost earth burial” in the area where the veteran has died.

Goyer said only seven cases, out of thousands, received $10,000 in reimbursement over the last four years.

Overhauling eligibility and increasing the funeral exemption could cost between $5 million and $7 million annually, but Moore said veterans officials have privately pegged the full cost at $14 million.

“I have no idea where they got that figure,” he said.

Through Veterans Affairs, the Conservatives have poured millions of dollars into the restoration of local war monuments — photo-op friendly projects that are unveiled by local MPs — in the last two federal budgets.

http://metronews.ca/news/canada/531391/legion-poor-veterans-deserve-better-burials/

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Joe O’Connor: Conservatives stiffing military veterans with funeral bills
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 05:57:14 PM »
Joe O’Connor: Conservatives stiffing military veterans with funeral bills

Joe O'Connor | Feb 5, 2013 11:48 AM ET



Stephen Harper stood at a lectern in Hong Kong this past Remembrance Day, gazing out at a sea of white crosses marking the graves of Canadian soldiers.

“By their deaths they made possible the freedoms we enjoy, the democracy which we govern ourselves and the justice by which we live,” the prime minister said. “These are the flowers that flourish upon their graves…

“We will remember them.”

It was a solemn occasion calling for solemn words. The Prime Minister was bang on with his delivery. And the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself.

Not every Canadian soldier died for our freedom on a battlefield, somewhere. In fact, most didn’t. Those World War II and Korean War veterans that are dying off today, at an alarming rate — about 2,000 a month — of old age and disease, are largely being left to pay for soaring funeral costs while the prime minister prattles on about how we should “remember” them.

Here is what we need to remember: a dead veteran’s family, under Veteran Affairs Canada’s Last Post Fund, is only eligible to have funeral costs reimbursed and only then, up to a maximum of $3,600, if the deceased’s estate is valued at less than $12,010 at the time of death.

Translation: unless you are a veteran and so poor that you are living on canned soup and soda crackers you can forget about getting a nickel out of the government when the great big general in the sky orders you home.

Last week the Royal Canadian Legion initiated a letter writing campaign to try and remedy the situation, urging Canadians to get mad, to write letters to our MPs, and to be aware that remembering those that served requires more than bowing our heads for a moment of silence on Nov. 11.

“This issue has been floating around since 1995,” Royal Canadian Legion president Gordon Moore told me.

“From then until now every government of the day has avoided the responsibility of looking after our veterans in need. The average funeral across Canada, for anybody, is $7,000.

“But when it comes to our veterans in need, and their families in need, the government of the day is not looking our way.”

The Harper Conservatives are the bad guys of the moment on this file. But the Liberals did their best blind-man routine back in 1995 in slashing the threshold of eligibility for the burial fund from $24,000 to $12,000. The $3,600 maximum benefit, meanwhile, has not been increased in almost 12 years.

A source told me that some veterans, nearing the end, go on welfare because the funeral benefits people are eligible to receive, as regular Joes, are better. Die poor in Nova Scotia, for example, and the government kicks in $3,800. But die on the street as a veteran and the Feds flip you the bird, or zilch, unless you meet the requirements of a program that our friends at The Canadian Press revealed in a report last fall has rejected about two-thirds of applicants — or 20,147 vets — since 2006.

It gets worse: Post-Korean War soldiers, including our contemporary Afghanistan vets, get nothing from the government, since the legislation hasn’t caught up to the mid-1950s and beyond yet.

“People are disgusted that this issue hasn’t been resolved,” Mr. Moore says. “If you are killed in action or die in a training exercise here in Canada the government will pay $14,320 to bury that service member, and not just the Canadian Forces, but the RCMP as well.

“But the moment you step out of the Forces, and if down the road you end up on poverty row…Look: all I am asking is that each of our service people who wore the uniform with such pride be buried with dignity.

“When it comes to the very end now no one is there for them.

“That’s a sad case.”

National Post

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/freeskreen/proxy/#

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Eve Adams sur programme de funéraille, veterans, dans le budget
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 11:40:41 AM »
Sylvain Chicoine  -   Député de Châteauguay St-Constant Un débat d'ajournement permet à un député qui n'a pas été satisfait d'une réponse à une question en Chambre peut resoulevé le sujet et en débattre pendant 10 min. J'ai demandé à la Secrétaire parlementaire des anciens combattants si le ministre alllait majorer le programme de funéraille dans le budget 2013?? Encore une fois, on m'a pas répondu directement alors je vais...

[youtube]http://youtu.be/FNzFHg_pl84[/youtube]

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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TIME FOR GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE VETERANS’ FUNERAL AND BURIAL BENEFITS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 21, 2013


TIME FOR GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE VETERANS’ FUNERAL
AND BURIAL BENEFITS

FALL RIVER, N.S – Peter Stoffer, Official Opposition Critic for Veterans Affairs will hold a press conference March 22, 2012 on the need for the Conservative government to increase funding to the Last Post Fund which provides funeral and burial assistance to veterans’ and their families. 
Peter will be joined by Bill Mont, President of the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, who wishes to offer a substantial discount on burial plots to veterans and CF personnel and their families to help address the major gap in federal government assistance.

FRIDAY MARCH 22, 2013                                                                            FALL RIVER

1:00 PM             Stoffer Press Conference
Office of Peter Stoffer, MP  2900 Hwy # 2 Fall River, NS 
- 30 -

For more information, please contact:
Holly Brown, Office of Peter Stoffer: 902-861-2311 or stoffp1@parl.gc.ca

---------

POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE
LE 21 MARS 2013


IL EST TEMPS QUE LE GOUVERNEMENT RÉDUISE LES FRAIS FUNÉRAIRES ET LES FRAIS D’INHUMATION DES ANCIENS COMBATTANTS

FALL RIVER (NOUVELLE-ÉCOSSE) – Le 22 mars 2013, Peter Stoffer, porte-parole de l’opposition officielle pour les anciens combattants, tiendra une conférence de presse portant sur la nécessité pour le gouvernement conservateur d’augmenter le financement du Fonds du Souvenir, qui fournit de l’aide aux anciens combattants et à leur famille pour les frais des obsèques et des enterrements.
Bill Mont, président du Pleasant Hill Cemetery, se joindra à Peter, car il veut offrir un grand rabais sur les concessions de terrain de cimetière aux anciens combattants et aux membres des Forces canadiennes ainsi qu’à leur famille pour aider à pallier le manque d’aide du gouvernement fédéral.

VENDREDI 22 MARS 2013                                                                                        FALL RIVER

13 h     Conférence de presse de Peter Stoffer
Bureau de Peter Stoffer, député, 2900, autoroute 2, Fall River (Nouvelle-Écosse):

- 30 -

Renseignements
Holly Brown, bureau de Peter Stoffer : 902-861-2311 ou stoffp1@parl.gc.ca


Sylvain Chartrand CD

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CVA Situation Report - BUDGET 2013 - Last Post Burial Fun
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2013, 11:30:39 PM »
Canadian Veterans Advocacy Situation Report - BUDGET 2013 - Last Post Burial Fund

CVA supporters will recall the dedicated effort the CVA executive put forth while in Ottawa and Trenton during Remembrance Week 2012 and I am pleased to note that this years budget addresses this issue by increasing the dispensation to 7400 dollars. Naturally, the Advocacy was not alone and I would take this opportunity to convey CVA compliments to Gordon Moore, Dominion President, Royal Canadian Legion and his team for their pro-active posture on this issue. We also acknowledge the consistent efforts of Peter Stoffer, NDP Veterans critic, Sean Casey, Liberal veterans critic and to Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney for listening to our collective voices and seeking resolutions, at least on the financial level, through this years budget.
The Canadian Veterans Advocacy, however, continues to bear serious concerns about the Last Post Fund's restrictive criteria, particularly in the sense of exclusion of deceased veterans who did not serve in WW2 and Korea yet who's families require financial assistance for a dignified internment. We are gravely concerned about the current Means Test and the formula responsible for the denial of two thirds of applicants and will continue to address this situation until we have resolved these outstanding issues through dialogue and engagement.
One Veteran - One Standard.
CVA Refresher - Last Post Burial Fund Operations - Remembrance Week 2012. Bear in mind that many reports are published nation wide through syndication and that over this period, our message was delivered to the government and the Canadian public by newspaper, radio, television and the Internet medium, platforms that provided awareness to millions of Canadians. Here is but a small sample.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/pm-says-veterans-programs-under-review-amid-controversy-over-funeral-fund-1.1033138
http://video.theloop.ca/watch/funeral-funds-for-veterans/1960817512001#.UUtlCFc40ZE
http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/pressure-mounts-over-funeral-fund-rejections-for-poor-veterans-1.1025199
http://www.citynews.ca/2012/11/06/burial-fund-for-poor-veterans-rejects-two-thirds-of-applications/
http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/canada/163030-blaney-defends-veterans-burial-fund

Pro Patria Semper Fidelis

Michael L Blais CD
Founder/President, Canadian Veterans Advocacy
6618 Harper Drive, Niagara Falls, Ont, Cda.
L2E 7K6 // 905-357-3306 // Cell 905-359-9247

Mike Blais

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NDP Press conference will address CVA concerns.
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2013, 10:45:36 AM »
Just spoke to Peter Stoffer, I am pleased to note the NDP will be conducting a press conference this afternoon and all the issues the CVA has identified will be addressed.

Standby, once it is up, we will put it up on the CVA internet network.

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Veterans critic has questions about boost to burial fund
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2013, 09:46:41 PM »
Veterans critic has questions about boost to burial fund

NDP veterans critic says who qualifies for Last Post Fund still an issue
CBC News
Posted: Mar 22, 2013 9:35 PM AT
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2013 10:27 PM AT

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2013/03/22/ns-vet-funeral-questions.html



The government said it would double the amount available to the Last Post Fund as part of Thursday’s budget announcement, but who qualifies remains an issue.

The budget commitment to enhance the funeral and burial program for veterans was an instant talking point for Conservatives.

“It’s virtually double the amount of money available for funeral services to see that our veterans are treated with dignity until the end,” said Defense Minister Peter MacKay.

    'It's a slap in the face to any veteran.'—Bill Maguire, veterans advocate

The latest budget would see the reimbursement rate increase from $3,600 to nearly $7,400. It is available to the estate of any veteran who dies after suffering a service-related disability or in cases of financial hardship.

However New Democrat veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer noted some details missing from the budget.

According to figures put before Parliament last fall, of the 29,853 requests made to the veterans funeral and burial program, 20,147 pleas for funding or 67.4 per cent were rejected.

They either did not meet the eligibility criteria, or failed a means test, which says a qualifying veteran's annual income must have been less than $12,010 per year.

“Is that estate exemption going to rise and if it is, to what?” asked Stoffer.

A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs said the $12,000-threshold remains unchanged.

“It’s a slap in the face to any veteran,” said veteran Bill Maguire.

He said the means test disqualifies most families from taking advantage of the Last Post program.

He questions the government's sincerity.

“What sincerity? It’s just words sir, nothing more than words,” said Maguire.

Meanwhile, cemetery owner Bill Mont pledged to do his bit on Friday, promising to reduce the price of a burial plot from $1,500 to $500 for all service people.

The extra money will not become available to families until the budget passes in the fall.

The government has received an endorsement from the Funeral Service Association of Canada which said the old funding was inadequate and made it difficult to provide the dignified burials veterans deserve.