Author Topic: "Legion accuses Harper government of discrimination over benefits"  (Read 5608 times)

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The Royal Canadian Legion is accusing the Conservative government of discrimination for offering support services only to Afghanistan veterans instead of all military personnel.

At issue is the Legacy of Care Program announced in September 2010 by former Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Defence Minister Peter MacKay, which promised five major support services to Canadian Forces veterans.

But an amended statement released this month says support programs, such the attendant care benefit, the caregiver benefit and the spousal education upgrade benefit would be restricted to only those who served in Afghanistan.

“Here at the Royal Canadian Legion we believe that all veterans are equal in their service and sacrifice to their country and should be treated equitably,” Legion spokesman Pierre Allard told the Toronto Star Friday.

The program promised five initiatives: barrier-free transitional accommodations, support services while in transitional accommodations, the Canadian Forces attendant care benefit, the spousal education upgrade program and enhanced case management support for seriously ill and injured personnel.

“There was no mention that any element of this was going to be Afghanistan only,” Allard said.

Patricia Varga, the Legion’s Dominion president said in a statement she was “appalled that such blatant discrimination is taking place.”

“It categorizes seriously ill and injured members by theatre of operations … that is blatantly unfair,” she said. “There are other members proudly serving their country in other far away locations. If they are unfortunate enough to be seriously ill and injured, are we to assume that the sacrifice that they made in their service to Canada is not as worthy as those that served in Afghanistan?”

The Legion is urging the government to reverse this “retrograde step” in the ongoing care of seriously ill and injured members.

Neither the MacKay’s office nor National Defence could be reached for immediate comment ....
Source:  Toronto Star, 22 Jul 11
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Offline GAP

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The issue was with Afghan Vets, it was sorted out for Afghan Vets....period....the Legion is wrong.
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Offline Wookilar

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Agreed.

A couple of thoughts though:

1) It sets a precedence for differential treatment based solely on theater of operations, which will be decided by VAC, not DND/CF. Since there are (next to) no CF pers inside VAC, who exactly, and by what process, will this be decided? I can see where this might be unfair discrimination. Since the current mission in A'stan is simply another NATO mission, what differentiates it, on a legal basis, from KFOR?

2) This is going to be an administrative nightmare. VAC has a hard enough time keeping fairly simple files together. This adds another level of complexity that, quite frankly, I do not trust them to handle appropriately. Also, what about injuries that originally happened somewhere else, but are made worse in A'stan (which is quite common)? How will that work?

3) This seems to me to be the good idea fairy coming to roost. Since VAC seems preoccupied by $ spent on programs (which is their only reason for existing: i.e. to spend money on appropriate programs), the amount of money that we are talking here would be a drop in the bucket compared to the overall costs if only applied to claims from A'stan.

I think this will appear to be simply penny pinching with no real justification of segregation forthcoming.

Wook
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Offline CountDC

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The issue was with Afghan Vets, it was sorted out for Afghan Vets....period....the Legion is wrong.

So our comrades in arms that are serving on numerous other operations do not deserve the same level of care?  I agree with the Legion on this - if Johnny goes on a small op and gets shot up then he deserves the same treatment as an Afghan vet.  I imagine though that this won't become a real issue until it happens which is only a matter of time.
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Offline GAP

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My bad, I was referring to issues based on old VA act, and then the new issues created when they changed it in 2007....I guess I didn't read it close enough...
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Offline 57Chevy

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Patricia Varga, the Legion’s Dominion president said in a statement she was “appalled that such blatant discrimination is taking place.”

So am I.

Offline Jimmy_D

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I think they should make it all vets ill or injured, go back to the pension plan instead of a benefit cheque, Because now they pay for this and pay for that ( which yes is good ) but thats what the monthly pension was supposed to be for and was not considered by some newer soldiers. Some younger soldiers on the old system see that pension as a source of income not a way to support their injury or illness, and the same goes with the new Benefit cheque, A young injured soldier, who is not well knowledged with investing can just blow large amounts of $$ that is supposed to help them through life.
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