Tue Aug 21, 2018 | 20:33
Canadian vets protest over benefits
Sun, 07 Nov 2010 16:07:43 GMT
Font size :
Canadian veterans and currently serving members of the armed forces rallied in protest to the government's New Veterans Charter on November 06, 2010.
Canadian military veterans have held demonstrations across the country to protest against the government's New Veterans Charter and their unsatisfactory pension benefits.

Crowds gathered on numerous locations across Canada, including Ottawa's Parliament Hill, to ask the government to return to its lifetime pain-and-suffering pension plan.

Under the previous charter, veterans were paid monthly for their whole life but the new charter, established in 2005, changes the financial benefits giving veterans a one-time lump sum.

Participants in the Veterans National Day of Protest say the new charter is disrespectful to Canadian veterans.

"Canada's sons and daughters were and are being repatriated with terrible mental and physical wounds," the Toronto Sun quoted Parliament Hill organizer Michael Blais as saying.

Member of the Canadian War Veterans Motorcycle Unit Cathi Gludo, who was one of the protesters gathering outside Prime Minister Stephen Harper's constituency office in Calgary, said he was there to defend the rights of veterans-to-be.

"We're giving a voice to the veterans and the new ones who will become vets," said the retired reservist.

Gludo, who retired in 1992, receives her pension under the old charter while her husband, a colonel in Afghanistan, will be subject to the new guidelines.

Critics of the revised charter say it discriminates between veterans and treats retired soldiers like problems.

"There should be only one charter that applies to all members of the veterans' community of Canada," said retired captain and veteran of multiple international missions Perry Gray.

Protestors also asked for stronger Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) benefits and compensation for soldiers who were exposed to chemical and nuclear agents.

They have circulated a petition calling for an independent ombudsman, urging better compensation for soldiers with psychological problems.

The Canadian Minister of Veterans Affairs Jean-Pierre Blackburn said the government was listening to the concerns of veterans.

"Over the last two months, we have begun to implement a series of important new measures totaling over CAD 2 billion," he said in statement.

According to Blackburn, most severely injured veterans will receive at least CAD 58,000 per year and the restrictive eligibility criteria are being corrected.

Veterans with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease, have also been made eligible for support recently.

"I have listened closely to the concerns of the veterans who gathered today. They can rest assured that we are working hard each and every day to make sure we are meeting their needs. Other improvements are in the works, notably concerning wait times and bureaucratic red tape," Blackburn concluded.

Your Name
Your Comment
Enter the code shown
terms of use

  • last 24 hours
  • last week
  • last month
© 2009 Press TV. All rights reserved.