Author Topic: Equitas Notice of Civil Claim Attorney General of Canada  (Read 44731 times)

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CVA_Posting

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Equitas Society Fund Raising Event Nov 2nd 2012 Pat Stogran - VIDEO
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2012, 05:20:48 PM »
Equitas Society Fund Raising Event Nov 2nd 2012 Pat Stogran

Facebook Equitas https://www.facebook.com/pages/Equitas-Society/244969555566649



[youtube]http://youtu.be/fdP_l2pSH9U[/youtube]

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THE EQUITAS FUNDRAISER $20k
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2012, 08:13:00 PM »
THE EQUITAS FUNDRAISER... On Friday November 2nd was a huge success raising almost $20,000. A special thanks goes to Pat Stogran, Kevin Berry, Aaron Bedard and Mark Fuchko for speaking on behalf of Veterans effected by the New Veterans Charter.

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**Reminder: Equitas Notice of Civil Claim Attorney General of Canada**
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2012, 07:21:43 AM »
Reminder to view information below on the Equitas Notice of Civil Claim

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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REMINDER: Equitas Notice of Civil Claim Attorney General of Canada
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2012, 08:16:50 PM »
Please see the various articles on the Equitas Civil Claim

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Group Representing Disabled Soldiers Say They Were Snubbed By Harper And Blaney Over Concerns On New Veterans Charter

http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2013/05/07/group-representing-disabled-soldiers-say-they-were-snubbed-by-harper-and-blaney-over-concerns-on-new-veterans-charter/

May 7, 2013. 10:27 am • Section: Defence Watch

This news release came in from the Equitas group:

The Equitas Disabled Soldiers Funding Society’s Advisory Council is in Ottawa.

http://equitassociety.ca/

On May 6, 2013 The Hon. John Fraser (Progressive Conservative) Hon. Peter Milliken (Liberal), and Prem Singh Vinning (President, World Sikh Organization of Canada) arrived in Ottawa to make plain their concerns over the New Veterans Charter. The trio has meetings with the Hon. Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau MP – but not The Right Hon. Steven Harper or Hon. Steven Blaney.

Despite repeated attempts, and using a variety of means to contact their offices, neither The Right Hon. Steven Harper nor Hon. Steven Blaney’s offices have responded.

The Equitas Society released an “Open Letter” yesterday to The Hon. Steven Blaney.  The letter requests the governments’ plan to address disproportionally low disability settlements under the New Veterans Charter.  The Open Letter is available on the society’s website and facebook page.

On May 8, 2013 a Judicial Management Conference, under Mr. Justice Weatherill has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 from 9:00am – 10:00 am in Vancouver (800 Hornby Street).  Don Sorochan, Partner Miller Thomson is representing disabled soldiers (pro bono) in a class action lawsuit against the government.

Despite the improvements of Bill C-55, the NVC still provides less than the previous Pension Act, provincial worker compensation programs, or the Courts.

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Injured soldiers attempt class action over benefits
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2013, 12:18:30 PM »
Injured soldiers attempt class action over benefits

Six injured in Afghanistan are seeking improved benefits for all Canadian soldiers
CBC News
Posted: May 8, 2013 10:17 AM PT
Last Updated: May 8, 2013 10:15 AM PT

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/05/08/bc-class-action-soldiers-veterans-affairs.html?cmp=rss

Six soldiers disabled from injuries sustained in Afghanistan were in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday morning to attempt to launch a class action lawsuit against the federal government over veterans benefits.

Daniel Scott, one of four B.C. men involved in the six-person suit, lost a kidney, his spleen and part of his pancreas after he was hit by an explosion in Afghanistan.

Veterans Affairs awarded him a lump-sum payment of $41,000 for the injuries. His father, Jim Scott, says the amount is an insult.

"Basically, what the government is doing is liquidating their liability by saying, 'We took care of you. We gave you a training course. We gave you some money. Now go away,'" Scott told CBC News.

Scott says the goal of the class action suit is to improve benefits for all soldiers injured and disabled in Canadian military actions.

He says the proceedings that begin Wednesday are "big" as they will force the government to start responding to the claims.

"It's big in a sense that this is where the government's making it's big move to have it shut down," he said.

The statement of claim, filed in October in B.C. Supreme Court, alleges the government violated the constitutional rights of the soldiers by discriminating against disabled people financially.

It also alleged that by passing the New Veterans Charter, the government failed in its fiduciary duty to support veterans, and that it broke the constitutional principle of the honour of the Crown, by failing to keep the social promises Canada made to soldiers it sends into combat.

    Alberta veteran part of class-action lawsuit over benefits

The six soldiers call the action a David versus Goliath case, but are hopeful that the action will be certified and that many other injured soldiers will join them.

Video and Court Doc's: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/05/08/bc-class-action-soldiers-veterans-affairs.html?cmp=rss


Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Veterans suing government over disability pensions
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2013, 08:37:24 AM »
Veterans suing government over disability pensions

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/veterans-suing-government-over-disability-pensions-1.1378991

Chris Lane, CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, July 22, 2013 6:06PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 22, 2013 6:11PM PDT



The federal government is asking a BC Supreme Court judge to strike down a class-action lawsuit filed by six war veterans over disability compensation.

The disabled veterans are challenging a pension program introduced in 2006, which the soldiers say violates their human rights with insufficient and arbitrary disability payments.

Kevin Berry, one of the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit, contends that the benefits are 40 to 90 per cent worse under the new rules, and are weaker than provincial compensation plans.

The federal government argues the soldiers’ concerns should not be dealt with by the courts. They say the veterans should lobby MPs instead to change the legislation.

“They’re telling us that you can’t sue us because you’re veterans, you’re not entitled to equal compensation because you’re veterans,” said Berry.

“We’re not going to stand for that.”

Jim Scott, whose son Daniel is another one of the six disabled soldiers in the class-action suit, said the court case will determine what power soldiers have to negotiate their pensions.

“What we’re here to do today is to establish whether soldiers have fundamental rights under the Charter … and whether the government owes them a duty of care,” said Scott.

The court hearing will continue Tuesday and Wednesday.

Read more: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/veterans-suing-government-over-disability-pensions-1.1378991#ixzz2Zs5igsru

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Equitas - First Day in Court
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2013, 08:53:53 AM »
July 22, 2013 first day in Court.

Only the Governments lawyers talked today. I will summarise some of the points which they made.

(1)Fiduciary Duty to Veterans is being denied by the Government (Crown)
Basically this means that Ottawa or the Crown arguing for Ottawa does not believe that they have any sacred duty to care for Veterans.

(2)The crown also argued that Canada has no obligations to provide any benefits to Veterans.

(3) They also contend that there is no obligation under legislative authority to provide the military with equal benefits.

(4) That the changes made to the act are not a matter for the court. The lawyer went on to say that there were more prudent ways to deal with this matter and when the Judge as him to name one , he suggested contacting our MP’s, only later to state that government only worked incrementally not monumentally. To me at least one sort of ruled out the other, because he was saying a better way was to contact your MP for help and then said but it will take forever if at all.

I am not sure about the numbers of Veterans who showed up but it wasn’t as many as I would have expected because of the seriousness of that the decision on this question might (Might) have on the future of all Veterans and RCMP disability programs.

I honestly believe if the Crown (Government) gets a ruling in their favour there will be a legal president and ruling that Ottawa has no obligation to provide any services to Veterans and furthermore have no obligation to give equal benefits, not even for equal injury.
Now granted I would not expect or at least hope for them not to cancel what is already out there but I doubt that there will be any further recipients of many of the Veterans programs already out there, including but not limited to, VIP, Education, 75% of pay for 2 years, even medical care and who will provide it comes into question.

I had to leave early due to parking issues.
End of Day one.
PS: It is now a matter of Public Record that Ottawa (Our present Government) do not believe that they owe Veterans including the injured one, ANYTHING.

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Harold Leduc on the Equitas Class Action
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2013, 12:44:43 PM »
Hi all,

Please give this the widest distribution.

I've listened to the arguments presented by both sides in the current Court proceedings to determine if the Miller Thompson/ Equitas law suit can proceed.

Regardless of the outcome, Government lawyers taught us a very important lesson this week about how the Government views Veterans. They based their argument and it's now a matter of public record in a court of law that the Government feels:
1. veterans are essentially no different than any other citizen collecting other social benefits (welfare, unemployment, etc) and we are owed nothing more.
2. there is no 'Social Contract' between veterans, the Government and the People of Canada despite it being written through out legislation and in CF publications.
3. that if citizens (Veterans in the case of the NVC) don't like the Government's laws, we are free to replace the Government through an election.

Shocking statements showing Government's arrogant, disrespectful and aggressive adversarial position against us. You may recall that as an election promise, the Conservative party committed to improving veterans benefits. Instead of changing the offending parts of the NVC that they opposed in opposition, they adopted the Liberal Government's NVC as if was their own. Now they are wasting what can amount to millions of taxpayers dollars to defend it in the courts, in a breach of our 'Social Contract' and potential breach of Constitutional law, just like they did in their losing battle against Dennis Manuge in the SISIP court case.

When the Liberal Government was rushing the NVC though Parliament before they were defeated in 2006, Minster of Veterans Affairs Albina Gueriani, with the heads of Veterans organizations present, told Members of Parliament, with the heads of Veterans organizations present, that if MP's voted against the NVC, they were voting against Veterans.

Could the same be said about Veterans organizations and individuals who continue to work 'with' the Government, including the Ombudsman, under the current circumstances of a Government who's hidden agenda treats us like a burden on society disrespecting a long established 'social contract' that once was the envy of the Allied world?

What should we make of the organizations who appear to be ignoring supported allegations and calls for explanations of how their policies and actions play a significant role in denying Veterans and their families essential benefits disrespecting the established concept of 'One Veteran'? Aren't they part of our community? Don't they owe us an explanation when asked? Is there anything we can do as a community to address this behaviour? Is the behaviour important enough to address?

On our behalf, Miller Thompson / Equitas argued to the Court that the 'Social Contract' between veterans, the Government and the people of Canada is historically owned by the people of Canada and it's not open for any governing party to manipulate it as if it were their own policy as is the current case. Should we adopt the same position? What can we do about the Government's behaviour?

In summary, the lawyers, on behalf of the Government told us that there is no 'Social Contract', we are no better than welfare recipients and we should vote the current Party out of office. In addition, the Veterans organizations seem to be working 'with' the Government and not with our community.

We know where we stand, what are we prepared to do about it as a community?

All comments including those of the organizations are encouraged to provide a balanced point of view to help us work together to find a way to move beyond the current discourse.

Sincerely

Harold

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Summary of Court Day #1,2 and 3: Equitas Class Action
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2013, 12:38:00 PM »
Kenneth H Young CD
July 22, 2013 first day in Court.
Only the Governments lawyers talked today. I will summarise some of the points which they made.

(1)Fiduciary Duty to Veterans is being denied by the Government (Crown)
Basically this means that Ottawa or the Crown arguing for Ottawa does not believe that they have any sacred duty to care for Veterans.

(2)The crown also argued that Canada has no obligations to provide any benefits to Veterans.

(3) They also contend that there is no obligation under legislative authority to provide the military with equal benefits.

(4) That the changes made to the act are not a matter for the court. The lawyer went on to say that there were more prudent ways to deal with this matter and when the Judge as him to name one , he suggested contacting our MP’s, only later to state that government only worked incrementally not monumentally. To me at least one sort of ruled out the other, because he was saying a better way was to contact your MP for help and then said but it will take forever if at all.

I am not sure about the numbers of Veterans who showed up but it wasn’t as many as I would have expected because of the seriousness of that the decision on this question might (Might) have on the future of all Veterans and RCMP disability programs.

I honestly believe if the Crown (Government) gets a ruling in their favour there will be a legal president and ruling that Ottawa has no obligation to provide any services to Veterans and furthermore have no obligation to give equal benefits, not even for equal injury.
Now granted I would not expect or at least hope for them not to cancel what is already out there but I doubt that there will be any further recipients of many of the Veterans programs already out there, including but not limited to, VIP, Education, 75% of pay for 2 years, even medical care and who will provide it comes into question.

I had to leave early due to parking issues.
End of Day one.
PS: It is now a matter of Public Record that Ottawa (Our present Government) do not believe that they owe Veterans including the injured one, ANYTHING.

----------------

DAY # 2 - 23 July 2013,
Today’s start was once again the lawyers for the Crown. Only two points brought up by the Crown today.

(1) Suggested that Parliament cannot be questioned in court.
(2) Due Process in the application of Parliament does not exist.
After that the lawyers for the Veterans took the podium.

Judge asked, ‘WHY A CLASS ACTION?”
Reply... “To help thousands of people to get a resolution to this question at the same time, rather than tie up the courts in Canada with thousands of individual cases.”
(1) He went on to suggest like the Crowns lawyers that yes some questions can be resolved by putting pressure on the Government, but that Court decisions can and do help to put pressure on Governments.
(2) Some people might be upset to find that only Aboriginal Veterans are protected by Fiduciary duty. To be fair they fought for it and achieved it and it is time for other Veterans to do the same.
(3) Covenant is the will of the people and not the property of any one government or political Party.
(4) There is a written Armed Forces Covenant.
(5) Veterans and the military are unique and stand apart because there is no other group of people in Canada who can be ordered to run across an open field while under machine gun fire and no other group where they can be charged with desertion or being a coward in the face of the enemy for disobeying a command.
(6) Bureaucrats wrote the NVC to balance the books and bureaucrats wrote the, “TABLE OF DISABILITIES,” not government.
(7) The ,’Table of Disabilities has never been referred back to the Privy Council for review as is required.
(8) There are at least 4 high profile government written documents which clearly states that the covenant between the people of Canada, the Government of Canada and the Military exist.
(9) That as it now stands the Commitment between the two parties (The Military and the Government) is extremely one sided.
Every summation the Crown made yesterday was soundly and logically rebutted by the Veterans Lawyers.

End of day 2.

Tomorrow will be the end of our Lawyers and summations from both sides.

---------------

Day # 3 24 July 2013
Today a small victory because after a question from the Judge the Lawyers for the Crown conceded that Canada has to provide care and compensation for Canadian Veterans, but then spoiled what could have been a great moment by continuing to state that the NVC does that.

He also went on to read a document which showed that the Government gave themselves the right have the Table of Disabilities made and further on it the same document exempted that Table from being review.

However some of the changes made to the NVC are obligated to be comprehensively reviewed by Sept of this year, he also stated that the original NVC was in fact reviewed by the Standing committee on Veterans Affairs in 2010.

Aside from some technical law quotes from past court cases nothing much more was done of astounding interest.

Court was finished at 11:30 Hrs. Pacific time.

Over the past three days I have refrained from giving personal opinion or the names of the Lawyers or their titles so that much of the meat of the presentations could be understood and that it would be realized that Ottawa not the Lawyers hold these statements to be true.

I didn’t believe what I was hearing and I right up to the time that court was adjourned believed that some top government official would show up to refute the Lawyers for the crown. Needless to say it didn’t happen.

Win or lose this case the words spoken in that court room will shadow the Canadian Government for many years to come and I fear failing a sitting Prime Minister apologising and in a court of law, publically and legally repudiate all the what I would call Slander and disrespect shown to the members of the Canadian Military, that the trust between the government of Canada and it's military will no longer exist.

If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Sit Rep Press Conference 0930, July 30th Parliament Hill - Equitas
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2013, 07:47:19 PM »
Sit Rep Press Conference 0930, Parliament Hill - Equitas

Be advised that Peter Stoffer, NDP Veterans Affairs critic, will be holding a press conference on Parliament Hill, Tuesday, July 30th at 0930. I have been invited to speak to the Sacred Obligation the Government is claiming does not exists and I will be traveling to Ottawa Sunday for meetings Monday and the PC Tuesday morning. It is important that we present a unified front, that veterans of all ages and eras are seen demonstrating support for the Afghanistan wounded by standing in a row behind the principle speakers.

The Canadian Veterans Advocacy has been steadfast and resolute in support of Jim Scott and the Equitas team, indeed, our position has been somewhat justified by the government lawyers claims that veterans should approach our MP's for legislated change... No kidding. Did we not do just this in 2010 when we protested in front of MP's offices nation wide? Was not the CVA was created to continue this fight on the political level?

Yes indeedy.

The mission has yet to conclude, soon, we will once again march on parliament, we will once again encourage our government's MPs to embrace, not ignore, the obligation they have to those they send to war. We need you to stand for Equitas with us next Tuesday, if you are in the Ottawa area and wish to participate, meet us in front of the Peace Tower at 0900 hrs, if not, support our mission as we enter patrolling season next fall when parliament sits. It is our intention to engage on the national level through Remembrance Week, the focus will be the Sacred Obligation and the treatment of those who sacrificed so greatly prior to 2006 will be compared to the standards Equitas is fighting to resolve.

Are you willing to stand for your brothers and sisters? Are you willing to rally in front of your MPs office, to stand on guard for those who stand on guard for thee, to do exactly what the government's lawyers would tell us to do??????

The time has come to start getting organized in your community for a Rally in front of your MPs office, to stand for Kevin Berry, Mark Campbell, Aaron Bedard and all veterans who are subject to this grotesque policy.

We will fight, we you?

Mike, Prez, CVA

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Veterans group urges feds to retreat from request to drop class-action
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2013, 01:44:36 PM »
Veterans group urges feds to retreat from request to drop class-action

Dene Moore, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, July 30, 2013 7:36AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 30, 2013 1:33PM EDT

Video: http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/canada/veterans-group-urges-feds-to-retreat-from-request-to-drop-class-action-1.1389960

OTTAWA -- At least one veterans group promises to campaign against the Harper Conservatives because of a stand taken by federal lawyers, who argue the country holds no extraordinary social obligation to ex-soldiers.

The lawyers, fighting a class-action lawsuit in British Columbia, asked a judge to dismiss the court action filed by injured Afghan veterans, saying Ottawa owes them nothing more than what they have already received under its controversial New Veterans Charter.

The lawsuit filed last fall by six veterans claims that the new charter, which replaces life-time pensions with workers compensation-style lump sum awards for wounds, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, told a Parliament Hill news conference that since the First World War, the federal government has recognized it has a "sacred obligation" to veterans and that notion was abandoned with the adoption of the veterans charter by the Conservatives.

He says his members demand the government "stand down on this ridiculous position," and if it doesn't veterans will work to see that the Conservatives are replaced.

New Democrat veterans critic Peter Stoffer says the legal implication of claiming the government has no special obligation to veterans is extremely far-reaching and he demanded the Conservatives clarify what it means.

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Vets outraged as federal lawyers argue Ottawa has no social obligation to soldiers

Murray Brewster and Dene Moore

The Canadian Press

Published Tuesday, Jul. 30 2013, 2:19 PM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 30 2013, 2:23 PM EDT

Video: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/vets-outraged-as-federal-lawyers-argue-ottawa-has-no-social-obligation-to-soldiers/article13498389/



At least one veterans group promises to campaign against the Harper Conservatives because of a stand taken by federal lawyers, who argue the country holds no extraordinary social obligation to ex-soldiers.

The lawyers, fighting a class-action lawsuit in British Columbia, asked a judge to dismiss the court action filed by injured Afghan veterans, saying Ottawa owes them nothing more than what they have already received under its controversial New Veterans Charter.

The stand drew an incendiary reaction from veterans advocates, who warned they are losing patience with the Harper government, which has made supporting troops one of its political battle cries.

Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, told a Parliament Hill news conference that since the First World War, the federal government has recognized it has a “sacred obligation” to veterans and that notion was abandoned with the adoption of the veterans charter by the Conservatives.

“We are asking the government to stand down on this ridiculous position (and) to accept the obligation that successive generations of Parliament have wilfully embraced,” Mr. Blais said, who pointed out veterans of Afghanistan deserve the same level of commitment those who fought in the world wars.

“We’re damned determined to ensure (the same) standard of care is provided by this government or we shall work to provide and elect another government that will fulfil its sacred obligation.”

The lawsuit filed last fall by six veterans claims that the new charter, which replaces life-time pensions with workers compensation-style lump sum awards for wounds, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In all cases, the awards are substantially less than what service member would have received under the old Pension Act system, which was initially set up following the First World War.

Veterans advocates, including Mr. Blais, see the new veterans charter a bottom-line exercise.

“We went to war, signed up to serve this nation, nobody told us we would be abandoned,” he said.

“Nobody told us they were going to change the game in mid-flights and that our government would turn its back on us, and put the budget ahead of their sacred obligation.”

Federal lawyers argued that the veterans lawsuit is “abuse of process” that should be thrown out.

“In support of their claim, the representative plaintiffs assert the existence of a ‘social covenant,’ a public law duty, and a fiduciary duty on the part of the federal government,” Jasvinder S. Basran, the regional director general for the federal Justice Department, said in an application filed with the court.

The lawsuit invokes the “honour of the Crown,” a concept that has been argued in aboriginal rights claims.

“The defendant submits that none of the claims asserted by the representative plaintiffs constitutes a reasonable claim, that the claims are frivolous or vexatious, and accordingly that they should be struck out in their entirety.”

New Democrat veterans critic Peter Stoffer says the legal implication of claiming the government has no special obligation to veterans is extremely far-reaching and he demanded the Conservatives clarify what it means.

He noted that unlike the previous legislation, the new veterans charter — passed unanimously by all parties in 2005 and enacted by the Conservatives in 2006 — contained no reference to social obligation.

Both Mr. Stoffer and Mr. Blais do not advocate for a complete return to the old pension system, but rather that veterans be given a choice of how the benefit is paid.

Among the soldiers named in the suit is Major Mark Douglas Campbell, a 32-year veteran of the Canadian Forces who served in Cyprus, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

In June 2008, Campbell, of the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was struck by an improved explosive device and Taliban ambush.

He lost both legs above the knee, one testicle, suffered numerous lacerations and a ruptured eardrum. He has since been diagnosed with depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Campbell received a lump-sum payment for pain and suffering of $260,000. He will receive his military pension, with an earnings loss benefit and a permanent impairment allowance but he is entirely unable to work and will suffer a net earnings loss due to his injuries, the lawsuit claims.

Another plaintiff soldier suffered severe injuries to his leg and foot in the blast that killed Canadian journalist Michelle Lang and four soldiers. He was awarded $200,000 in total payments for pain and suffering and post-traumatic stress.

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been proven in court.

The federal government application says policy decisions of the government and legislation passed by Parliament are not subject to review by the courts.

“The basic argument that they’re making is that Parliament can do what it wants,” said Don Sorochan, the soldiers’ lawyer.

He said he receives calls almost daily from soldiers affected by the changes, and thousands ultimately could be involved.

Mr. Sorochan, who is handling the case for free, said he doesn’t believe the objective of the legislation was to save money at the expense of injured soldiers, but that’s what has happened.

“When the legislation was brought in it was believed by the politicians involved — and I’ve talked to several of them, in all parties — that they were doing a good thing,” Sorochan said.

“But anybody that can objectively look at what is happening to these men and women who have served us, can’t keep believing that.”


Sylvain Chartrand CD

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Des vétérans en campagne contre Ottawa
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2013, 10:56:41 PM »
Des vétérans en campagne contre Ottawa

Mise   jour le mardi 30 juillet 2013   19 h 47 HAE

http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2013/07/30/002-soldats-blesses-indemnites.shtml



Les avocats, qui tentent d'empêcher un recours collectif en Colombie-Britannique, ont demandé à un juge de rejeter la poursuite intentée par six vétérans blessés en Afghanistan, affirmant qu'Ottawa ne devait rien de plus aux plaignants que ce qu'ils ont déjà reçu en vertu de la controversée Nouvelle Charte des anciens combattants.

Cette déclaration a suscité la colère des militants pour les droits des ex-militaires, qui ont prévenu que leur patience avait des limites. Mike Blais, le président du Groupe de défense des intérêts des anciens combattants canadiens, a indiqué mardi que, depuis la Première Guerre mondiale, le gouvernement fédéral reconnaissait qu'il avait une « obligation sacrée » envers les vétérans, mais que cette notion avait été abandonnée avec l'adoption de la Nouvelle Charte par les conservateurs.

En conférence de presse sur la colline parlementaire, il a exhorté le gouvernement de Stephen Harper à renoncer à sa position « ridicule » et à accepter ses responsabilités à l'égard des anciens combattants comme l'ont fait ses prédécesseurs.

M. Blais a fait valoir que les vétérans de l'Afghanistan avaient droit au même traitement que celui reçu par les soldats ayant combattu durant les deux guerres mondiales et que son organisation allait s'assurer que le gouvernement conservateur respecte son obligation. Faute de quoi, il a juré qu'elle travaillerait à faire élire un autre gouvernement plus réceptif aux demandes des anciens combattants.

Le recours collectif déposé l'automne dernier par six vétérans soutient que la Nouvelle Charte, qui a remplacé la pension d'invalidité à vie par un montant forfaitaire, enfreint la Charte canadienne des droits et des libertés.

Dans tous les cas, les sommes versées sont beaucoup moins élevées que ce que les ex-militaires auraient touché en vertu de l'ancien système mis en place après la Première Guerre mondiale.

Selon Mike Blais et d'autres militants, la Nouvelle Charte a permis à Ottawa d'économiser de l'argent aux dépens des anciens combattants.