Author Topic: 2011 - Veterans expert questions minister’s motives  (Read 1206 times)

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2011 - Veterans expert questions minister’s motives
« on: March 31, 2012, 08:30:09 PM »
Veterans expert questions minister’s motives

Dear Editor:

One can only wonder why (Veterans) Minister (Jean-Pierre) Blackburn and his staff are going through such exorbitant expense of an eight city, cross-country tour considering the press release stated reasons the journey has been designed to highlight.

Thousands of disabled veterans living in substandard conditions these past four years have good reason to be disappointed.

Blackburn's well-publicized promises to provide legislative relief were subsequently ignored during the dying days of 2010's parliamentary session.

Despite months of promises, despite the government's acknowledgment 2000 disabled Canadian veterans urgently require urgent relief through Blackburn's proposed a $40,000 minimum annual income base, despite the fact that 3,500 veterans will not qualify for the proposed changes to the ELB (Earnings Loss Benefit) until the bill is legislated, disabled veterans have received nothing but shallow promises that fail to address the serious hardships they have suffered as a consequence of the New Veterans Charter.

Further discouraging is that none of minister Blackburn's financial relief proposals are retroactive.

Every month the government delays implementation, deprives these 2,000 veterans of more than $600,000 and will continue to deprive them until the Blackburn's proposed legislation proceeds through Parliament and the Senate.

Do Canadians understand the consequences?

What precisely are these improvements deserving of a cross-country junket that will undoubtedly cost tax payers thousands of dollars at the expense of the VAC budget?

First, improving the standard time for rehabilitation eligibility requests to two weeks from four weeks?

This is an improvement but … considering the VAC's staff, why are disabled veterans waiting any more than 72 hours for approval?

Secondly, amongst these so called important announcements is news that veterans will have less paperwork when applying for VIP services. Golly!

Last amongst these important announcements was veterans now only have to wait for two minutes before speaking to a VAC representative through a national call center.

Now we can only hope the minister will exhibit this same devotion and focus on improving the serious issues that are confronting our troops and veterans today.

They include: the grotesquely unjust lump sum payment for Canada's sons and daughters should they be injured in combat, the widows tax, and the claw back of pension at age 65, rectified through parliamentary vote.

The SISIP LTD claw back on 6500 veterans pensions, an issue that will move forward through the courts compliments of a Supreme Court ruling in veterans favour after the government spent millions of tax-payers dollars to prevent Canada's sons and daughters from exercising their legal right to unite to stand tall against this unjust practice?

How about focusing on providing care and compensation to all Canadian veterans adversely affected (cancer) from exposure to Agent Orange and not just those who were in Gagetown during seven days in 1966 and 67.

Prime Minister Steven Harper promised justice for all veterans affected by Agent Orange during the 28-year program when he was in opposition, now five years later with an election looming, is it not too much for veterans to expect the PM do the honourable thing and fulfill his promise to them?

Michael L Blais CD

Canadian Veterans Advocacy founder

Niagara Falls, Ont.
Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran One Standard

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