Chump sum' for vets?

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Chump sum' for vets?

Post by Guest on Wed 23 Mar 2016, 20:00

The new federal budget showers the country's veterans with cash, but questions lingered Wednesday about the details and just how far the money would go towards improving the lives of former soldiers.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau's fiscal plan delivers $5.6 billion $3.7 billion booked in the current fiscal year for better programs and services for the most critically injured former military members. The money will be spread out over decades, but federal accounting rules require all of it to be recorded now.

It raises the lump-sum disability award next year for wounds suffered in the line of duty to a maximum of $360,000 from the current $310,000 a rate far below other countries such as Britain, where the payout is closer to $1 million.

Mike Blais, of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said he remains unhappy, and will continue to describe it as the "chump-sum award," a phrase he coined when the Conservatives were in power.

"It's no better than a workers compensation settlement," said Blais. "I've said you can't compare this to (cases involving) negligence on the job site."

He said the award should be equal to what a veteran would have received in a lifetime pension, which was the system until Parliament unanimously agreed in 2006 to overhaul the system and deliver pain and suffering settlements with lump-sum awards.

As a veteran injured in the 1990s, Blais receives a lifetime pension that he said will be greater than what soldiers wounded on the battlefield in Afghanistan receive.

"People like me who've been on the old Pension Act will make four times more in pain and suffering than guys like Jody Mitic."

Mitic, a former master corporal, lost both his legs in Kandahar in 2007 before going on to become an Ottawa city councillor, author and prominent veterans advocate.

"That's not fair," Blais said. "It is fundamentally wrong."

The Liberals promised last year to either revert back to the previous pension-for-life system or provide soldiers a choice between that or the lump-sum option, but there was no sign of such changes in Tuesday's budget.

Between what was announced Tuesday and the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of changes introduced last year by the former Conservative government, an enormous sum of money is now being made available to ex-soldiers.

Veterans ombudsman Guy Parent said this is the time to start gathering data, focusing on outcomes and determining whether there's been a meaningful impact on lives.

"We bring in new benefits (and) we improve the existing ones without necessarily looking at what the impact is on the overall situation on the families and the veterans themselves," Parent said.

"Do we want veterans to live at the poverty line, or is just above the poverty line good enough? I don't think so because we owe them a debt that's way above that.... We keep piling up things until there's a lot of benefits there. But do they meet the needs?"

The treatment of veterans became a lightning-rod issue for the Harper government and a political embarassment for a party that prided itself on supporting the troops, particularly when a group of Afghan veterans launched a class-action lawsuit claiming discrimination with the new system.

The case has been on hold since last year when the Conservative government embarked on a series of changes meant to address the inequities and rebuild bridges with the veterans community.

Whether Tuesday's budget is enough to end the lawsuit remains an open question.

Don Sorochan, the Vancouver lawyer representing the six claimants, said Wednesday he'll consult with his clients, but there will be a meeting with Justice Department lawyers next month.

"To my mind, I'm encouraged by what's been done," Sorochan said.

"I'm heartened by what I saw in the minister's mandate letter. I'm heartened by what I saw in the budget. We know they have further things in mind. We want to hear what further things they plan on doing."

Tuesday's fiscal blueprint also increases the salary replacement for the wounded known as the earning-loss benefit, but notes the minimum benefit will be based on a senior private's salary instead of a basic corporal's salary.

That measure will disadvantage the lower ranks, said Don Leonardo of the group Veterans Canada.


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Re: Chump sum' for vets?

Post by pinger on Wed 23 Mar 2016, 22:05

When did the tentative GoC promise become either/or back to? Options were one thing, but I don't recall that kind of wishy washy reversion this article alludes to. There's a distinction, not too subtle.

" The Liberals promised last year to either revert back to the previous pension-for-life system or provide soldiers a choice between that or the lump-sum option, but there was no sign of such changes in Tuesday's budget.

Bad article... How many either / or's are there???
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Re: Chump sum' for vets?

Post by Guest on Thu 24 Mar 2016, 04:05

Well we haven't heard anything from the Equitas Law Suit in quite some time , so the article gives us a bit of info on how they are receiving the budget news.


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