Author Topic: Vets outraged as federal lawyers argue Ottawa has no social obligation to soldie  (Read 6388 times)

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Offline Kilo_302

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Offline MCG

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Must be a slow day that old news is being brought back.
Quote
Veterans say there’s a huge gap between Tory rhetoric and reality
Murray Brewster
Chronicle Herald
27 March 2014

OTTAWA — A veterans group says there’s a major disconnect between what the Harper government is saying in court about its obligation to ex-soldiers and reassurances from Veterans Minister Julian Fantino.

Canadian Veterans Advocacy says a decades-old commitment to care for those who served, particularly wounded soldiers, has been abandoned by the Conservatives as they prepare to commemorate the sacrifices of war in Afghanistan.

Federal lawyers fighting a class-action lawsuit by Afghan veterans argue the government has no special legal obligation to soldiers, and that decisions about their entitlements are matter of policy and subject to revision.

Fantino has publicly stated that the government believes it does have a responsibility to service members, who are legally bound to give up their lives for the country.

Mike Blais, president of the advocacy group, says that while the Conservatives say they have an obligation, their actions go in the opposition direction.

He says until Fantino or other ministers instruct federal lawyers to change their defence — or settle the lawsuit — the government’s stand is a sham.
http://m.thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1196320-veterans-say-there-s-a-huge-gap-between-tory-rhetoric-and-reality

Offline Schindler's Lift

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Must be a slow day that old news is being brought back.http://m.thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1196320-veterans-say-there-s-a-huge-gap-between-tory-rhetoric-and-reality

As you noted it's "old news", by media standards.  So old in fact the Govt has already tried to backtrack from what their lawyers have already read into the legal record.   Looks like they are talking out of both corners of their collective mouths again.  Or perhaps talking out of their butts.  Either way, it stinks.

Offline Colin P

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Lawyers are there to advise you on points of law and liabilities, Senior PS types are to advise on policy, resources and current issues. Politicians are there to make the final decision based on many factors. 

Offline FSTO

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Lawyers are there to advise you on points of law and liabilities, Senior PS types are to advise on policy, resources and current issues. Politicians are there to make the final decision based on many factors.

You would think that due to the heat and light on this issue that there would be a rep from the minister with the law team. And when the point about the lack of gov responsibility to military pers came up, that there would be some discussion about using that line of argument. Apparently there wasn't.

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You would think that due to the heat and light on this issue that there would be a rep from the minister with the law team. And when the point about the lack of gov responsibility to military pers came up, that there would be some discussion about using that line of argument. Apparently there wasn't.
I kinda like having politicians out of the strictly legal bits of the work.  I wouldn't want political glasses being worn when deciding what bits of law get (or don't get) to the Senior PS or political types. 

That said, I would hope someone at some point in the conveyor belt would ask, "so, what's the basis of our defence here?" before having to explain it to the politicians.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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I think (some? most?) veterans are asking for something beyond the law. Some courts, including our own Supremes have held that the crown does have some special, even exceptional responsibilities, beyond the bare, black letter, words in the laws, towards some people ~ first nations, for example. I think the government's lawyers are doing their jobs, in this case, by telling the courts that, unlike 18th century treaties, the various laws respecting veterans and pensions and so on are well written and the intent of the crown is clear. We may not like what's written there but it does represent the will of parliaments we helped to elect.

It may be that the Supremes will, eventually, decide on this, and they may decide to interpret the "honour of the crown" as requiring more than just adherence to the law as written. Until then I am certainly not shocked, not even surprised that lawyers are making cogent, coherent, albeit unpleasantly worded arguments in support of their client.

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Offline Colin P

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The law is always more flexible than people like to think or rarely as clear as to interpretation, there are laws to tell you how to interpret laws  that are unclear on an issue, but even then that is subjective. Plus you can't read one section in isolation (normally) but on the whole Act and failing that on the intent of Parliament and the drafters.

As for "social obligations", if that's what the lawyer said then they are dumb. That interpretation is outside of the legal question and clearly within the political arena. Mind you we also had a DOJ advise going after a disabled Vet over a Census form challenge..... ::)

What I do find disturbing is when you question your lawyers you're told "You aren't a lawyer" Well I did marry one and my sister was a Judge so I am quite aware that they are quite capable of being wrong and pig-headed. (my wife does not have access to this forum so I'm safe.....) PS staff are often to meek and follow advice they know they should question.

Offline Grapeshot

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Just a reminder, 50% of the lawyers in any case are going to be losers.

I suspect that the government will eventually lose this case, however, they are trying to draw it out past the next election so that the damages awarded won't impact on their precious "budget surplus"!
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Offline ModlrMike

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I have to agree with Mr Campbell here. I think some of the Government's position is held in having the SC provide an answer, and perhaps less is vested in a belief there is no social compact.

If this government didn't pursue the question, another one would have been forced to later. It doesn't make it right, but it might make it a little more understandable.
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