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Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

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Kent Hehr's Response on Equitas & Comments to his response May 22 , 2016

Post by Guest on Sun 22 May 2016, 17:19

On Equitas

Recent reports have suggested that the Government of Canada is taking veterans to court. This is simply not true. There is an ongoing lawsuit which began many years before we came into office. I find it deeply regrettable that after years of neglect, veterans felt they had to take the previous government to court to ensure their own well-being.
It is precisely because of this that I was given a strong mandate to restore critical access to services for veterans, and to ensure the long-term financial security and independence of disabled veterans and their families. This includes providing a pension option for injured veterans, and I can assure Canadians that I remain committed to this, and to fulfilling all items in my mandate letter.
The Government of Canada has already taken a very big step forward with Budget 2016, which delivered $5.6 billion in additional support to ensure that Canadian veterans and their families receive the care, compassion, and respect they deserve. Canada’s veterans have dedicated their lives to the defence of our country, and they deserve our unwavering support.
In fact, Mr. Sorochan, the veterans’ lawyer in this case, has said that he is 90% supportive of what we are doing, and that includes our plan to consult broadly with veterans. We know that these consultations are critical to making sure that all veterans' voices are included as we move forward.
In our first six months, we have demonstrated our commitment to veterans by hosting two Stakeholder Summits, establishing six ministerial advisory groups to advise on specific issues, creating an online “have your say” tool for veterans and Canadians to weigh in on these issues, and launching a cross country tour, where I will be able to sit down with veterans and get their input on our top priorities.
While I cannot discuss the specifics of an ongoing court case, I hope this letter has clarified a few key points to ensure that Canadians have as many facts as possible.
There is a lot of work to be done—and the broader veteran community has made it clear that we must not to rush into a 'band-aid' solution. We will respect that wish and work with veterans to improve the service they receive, and to make sure that veterans are treated with care, compassion, and respect.

Comments;

Respectfully sir, that's disingenuous. Yes, your new government inherited the lawsuit- but the lawsuit it inherited was in aberyance; it was 'on pause', an accord that the plaintiffs were able to reach with that former government contingent on solid forward progress. After six months of your government being in power, they simply required assurance in written form that the restoration of the pension option was going to move forward in a forthright manner. They were not looking for a settlement, they were not looking for a payout, they were simply expecting and requiring a written commitment that would allow the consultative process commenced by Erin O'Toole and continued by yourself to keep working towards a solution.

You now have a situation where your government's actions (or inactions) have spoken more loudly than words- the text of the mandate letter is excellent, but it must be backed by tangible acts. The failure to reach an accord that would continue the equitas abeyance is something that must give the veterans community pause, and immediately raise skepticism. I and many other have no problem with the pension not being a done deal yet. You asked us in December, and we said 'get it right'. No issue there. But the refusal to commit in more concrete terms than the mandate letter casts doubt on just what these consultations have achieved. The resumption of the lawsuit - a decision that your government has forced - unfortunately will colour consultative efforts going forward, and has made both your job and ours harder. Your party's election platform presented the Liberal party as being on the same side. The restoration of the pension is the single biggest hill that the veterans community will fight on. Nothing else your party does is going to really figure if ultimately that one issue is not dealt with forthrightly and satisfactorily.


You could have chosen to cancel litigation. But NOOOOO!! As a government you would rather sue Veterans and continue the same BS that has been going since NVC was introduce in 2006. When Harper was in a minority situation, a Parliamentary Committee was struck and tried to rectify the situation, The committee had enough votes (in committee) with the NDP and Liberal members to bring the vote to the full House. The Liberal under Ignatieff abstained from voting at the committee level, and the vote was defeated, thus killing it. If you need a refresher on the issue of the vote, check the Hansard, it is all there. So enough apologies and B.S. either honour your election promises or resign. Nothing else will do.


Ok, I know, I am not the same smartest, SOB, but, why, and who, are these, stakeholders, that the minister, keeps, yapping about, are they, some, secret society, that gets to decide, the fate, of VETERANS benefits? They are probably, more civillians, who've, never served a day in unifor , such, as the members, of most VAC, board members, who sit on the boards, that, decide, the fate, of most VETERANS. So, in closing who are these stakeholders? What, do they do, and why, are there stakeholders, who are responsible,for VAC, matters??


All of our names are listed under the six groups in the link below. None of us make any decisions. We provide feedback and advice based on issues we see within the veterans community, and based on our own experiences. Given that two of the equitas plaintiffs and one of the members of their veterans advisory council are among these stakeholders, along with a decent roster of other well-reputed vets, I'd say your assumptions are off base. Asking the question without the editorializing would have served you better. If you want to know the kinds of things the minister is hearing from stakeholders, you need only see my reply to this post above. The six stakeholder groups are quite new, but as meetings continue records of discussion will be published on the VAC site as they already have started to be for the policy group.

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-us/advisory-groups


Aaron Bedard, Brian McKenna, Mark Campbell, Michael Blais, Sylvain Chartrand, Kelly Scales and myself are a few of those stakeholders, and also, former military members. That should answer your question.


Stuart Mills, Brian Har's response sure reaffirms, in detail, my own response to your inquiry.


Ok thanks Lou, good to see that there are vets, helping, to decide, these choices, maybe, you guys could help them speed the process up? And maybe, just possibly, recommend, something, on the Bde, when we were on ex in Germany, when Chernobyl, happened?


Lots of words sir, but you are saying little.
Additional support 5.6 billion!!! ⚡️⚡️🎉🎉
Well that sure sounds impressive, but for what? On what? How much was cut or taken away in years past?
A life long pension option ‼️🎉🎉
For who? A type of pension, but not the pension?
Is it retroactive ?
Stake holder meetings, meetings on meetings about meetings
Enought, it has been made clear on what is needed, what the liberals said they would do, time to move forward. Action is needed not meetings


I'm not a lawyer here, but I do believe that it is not up to the defense to drop a lawsuit, in this case the government, and it doesn't matter which government, former PCs or the new Liberals. The only people who can just "Drop" the litigation are the veterans, and their lawyers. No one else. It's not that I am against the veterans, with what the former government did to them, I think the lawsuit is valid and was unfortunately needed to right the wrongs. I hate people who complain that you still have not fixed a problem that took years for the former leaders to make, in the mere 6 months that you have actually have had the power to change. Kent I think you are doing a great job, Keep up the good work buddy.


Very well said, Kent Hehr . Thanks for clarifying the law suit situation. I am so pleased with your work as Minister!


Mr Hehr you may not have started the lawsuit but you sure as hell could have ended it. All it would have taken is a symposium letter stating that you where commented to reinstating the disability pension.. Splitting hairs again to make yourself look innocent when it fact it all falls in your lap to stop the lawsuit.


Answer the simple question - "why will you not live up to your promise and RESTORE the pension act benefits" - once that is answered you can go back to the mahogany trough ...


Cancel the lawsuit...then maybe your words will mean something.


Meanwhile our vets keep dying,waiting....


https://www.facebook.com/notes/kent-hehr/on-equitas/972466342861444

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Don Sorochan's Interview

Post by Guest on Sun 22 May 2016, 07:57


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Veterans' Lifetime Pensions Will Be Re-Instated, Liberals Promise

Post by Guest on Sun 22 May 2016, 07:52

BELLEVILLE, Ont. — Justin Trudeau's Liberals are promising to restore a system of lifetime pensions for injured veterans, if elected on Oct. 19.

The pledge is part of a comprehensive pitch to woo disgruntled ex-soldiers, whom the Conservatives have long considered their natural constituency.

Trudeau will deliver the promise Monday at an event in a southern Ontario community that hosts the largest and busiest military air base. The proposals give advocates, including the veterans ombudsman, everything they've been demanding.

The treatment of ex-soldiers has been a political lightning rod for the Conservatives and the perceived mishandling of the files, along with nasty public exchanges, contributed to the demotion of Julian Fantino out of the veterans portfolio in January.

The switch from lifetime pensions to a series of lump sum payments under the new veterans charter, which was conceived under Paul Martin's Liberals in 2005, is one of the biggest complaints among wounded soldiers.

It has been at the heart of a class-action lawsuit launched by Afghan veterans, who say the old Pension Act system was more generous to Second World War and Korean soldiers than to those who served in recent years.

The Liberal platform plank, obtained by The Canadian Press, offers the wounded a choice of either lump sum or pensions-for-life. They promise to re-instate the option during the current fiscal year.

The proposal also offers to pump millions of dollars into further improving compensation and care.

The Liberals say they will invest $25 million to expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance, which is given to the most seriously wounded and has been the subject of criticism by the veterans ombudsman, who has said eligibility criteria was too strict.

Guy Parent found, in a 2014 study, that nearly half of the country's most severely disabled ex-soldiers were not receiving the allowance intended to compensate them for their physical and mental wounds.

The Liberals also promise to invest $40 million to increase the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 per cent of a soldier's pre-release salary, and index it to the cost of living. Right now, the benefit is set at 75 per cent — something Parent has also complained about.

There is a pledge to invest $80 million per year to create a new Veterans Education Benefit that provides full support for the cost of up to four years of college, university, or technical education for veterans after completion of service.

Another $100 million per year would go toward expanded support for the families of veterans, including education, counselling, and training for families who are providing care and support for veterans. That might satisfy critics such as Jenny Migneault, who chased Fantino down a hall in Ottawa trying to get him to commit to improving caregiver services.

The Liberals are also promising to reopen nine regional veterans affairs offices closed by the Conservatives and to hire an additional 400 staff to process claims.

The Harper Conservatives have faced unrelenting criticism from the veterans community and responded earlier this year with a series of initiatives, including a family caregiver's benefit and a one-time $70,000 lump sum payout to injured soldiers.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/08/24/liberals-target-veterand-vote-with-promise-to-return-pensions-for-life_n_8029108.html

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Re: Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

Post by RCN-Retired on Sat 21 May 2016, 04:08

I just cannot see how Trudeau who gave his mandate to Hehr for life long pensions does not get to work on this. Yes it is money but ethics is hard to get back when you bald face lie to the country. We should all be able to sue him personnaly for making his to be done list, give it to his minister to enforce and now saying he was just joking. If he signs off n going to court I would sure like to know if we can go after him for failure to deliver what in his campaign he promised.
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Re: Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

Post by Dannypaj on Fri 20 May 2016, 06:58

His the whip, Eh!
How American!
I am Canadian and I was A proud Canadian. I am A Veteran (not sure what kind), but yet a Veteran and this is shameful and it is just the start.
Now what?
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Liberals, Tories Accuse Each Other Of Hypocrisy Over Veterans Lawsuit

Post by Guest on Fri 20 May 2016, 06:47

The Liberal government's decision to battle injured veterans in court has sparked accusations of hypocrisy on both sides of the House of Commons.

Two Conservative MPs, who also happen to be veterans, rose in question period on Thursday to charge that Liberals were breaking a pledge that vets would never again need to fight the government for benefits or respect.

At one point, Erin O'Toole, a veterans affairs minister under the former Conservative government, directly called out Andrew Leslie, the chief government whip. Leslie previously commanded troops in Afghanistan as a lieutenant-general.

While Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr defended his government, he provided no explanation for its course of action after a legal truce with disabled Afghan vets expired this week.

Alupa Clarke, the Tory critic for veterans affairs and a former master bombardier, claimed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was showing "pure hypocrisy" by promising to respect ex-soldiers on the campaign trail, only to change his mind once elected.

“I find it ironic that this member opposite can stand and accuse this government of anything.”
— Veteran Affairs Minister Kent Hehr

Clarke asked for confirmation the Liberals intend to drop a legal challenge to a suit launched in 2012 by six injured veterans arguing modern soldiers wounded in battle receive less generous compensation than those who served decades before.

Hehr shot back saying, "I find it ironic that this member opposite can stand and accuse this government of anything. This came about because of years of neglect by the former government on this file."

'The prime minister misled veterans'

Hehr pointed to the $5.6-billion funding pledge, over six years, earmarked for vets in the first Liberal budget. He said the fund would provide ex-soldiers with financial security. The spending plan did not, however, mark a return to the lifetime pensions Liberals promised veterans during the election campaign.

"The truth is very clear, the prime minister misled veterans in the last election," Clarke said, adding that the previous Tory government didn't make false promises or give false hope.

"Canada needs a respectful leader, a coherent leader and not a schoolchild who manhandles his colleagues," the critic said, referring to Trudeau's dust-up in the House a day earlier.

Hehr responded by rhyming off how Tories closed nine veterans affairs offices, cut support staff, and ignored ex-soldiers for "10 long years." Vets, he said, will do much better with Liberals in charge.

O'Toole, a former captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, then asked when Leslie would "stand up against the arrogance of his government" and stop "driving injured veterans into court." O'Toole said Leslie made a solemn vow to vets that his party would bring back lifetime pensions and other measures.

"When will chief government whip, a retired Canadian Armed Forces general, stand up and live up to the promises he made to our veterans?" O'Toole asked.

But it was the Liberals' point-man on the veterans file who responded.

Again, Hehr said he was acting on his mandate letter to improve things for veterans by, among other things, making disability awards more generous.

"It's really above the height of hypocrisy, these questions regarding this file from the former government," he said.

Mulcair to Trudeau: Show 'shred of decency'

Trudeau was not in question period Thursday but was grilled on the matter by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair a day earlier.

The NDP leader said Liberals were taking vets to court with "the same lawyers and the same arguments" as the last government. He called it "disgusting," and pointed to a CBC News report in which the veterans' lawyer described the situation as a "betrayal."

Mulcair urged Trudeau to "show a shred of decency" and change course.

"It's really above the height of hypocrisy, these questions regarding this file from the former government."
— Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr

The prime minister said ex-soldiers deserve more than "people trying to play politics on their backs." Trudeau lauded the investments in his budget and work done by Hehr so far, while conceding there is more to do.

CBC News was first to report this week that federal lawyers informed the B.C. Court of Appeals Sunday that they would defend the lawsuit after both sides failed to settle.

The Harper government spent more than $700,000 on the lengthy court battle. In a strategy that outraged vets, federal lawyers argued Ottawa has no special obligation or "social contract" with ex-soldiers, and that it was unfair to hold that government to promises made by another prime minister nearly a century ago.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/05/19/liberals-tories-veterans-lawsuit-canada_n_10054044.html


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Why is Trudeau kicking veterans to the curb?

Post by Guest on Fri 20 May 2016, 06:39

No, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shouldn’t have lost his cool in the House of Commons the other day. When a vote didn’t proceed fast enough for his liking, Trudeau morphed into a spoiled toddler who wanted his toy RIGHT NOW, rushing the floor, grabbing one opposition MP and elbowing another. Despite the PM’s apologies, it remains a bully moment that cast a shadow over his party’s ‘sunny ways’.

Unfortunately, it’s also overshadowing the far more serious instance of bullying that the Liberals are inflicting on Canadian veterans. This week, the government chose to revive the Harper government’s efforts to shut down a class action lawsuit launched by six war veterans against the federal government.

The vets claimed the Tories were discriminating against combatants in modern-day conflicts, such as Afghanistan, by offering them lump-sum payments, rather than the life-long pensions paid to veterans of older conflicts, such as the Korean War. The issue cost the Conservatives support among veterans’ groups — a traditional base of support — and became a black eye for a government that loved to play up the importance of Canada’s military.

In June 2015 the two sides called a truce, with the government staying the lawsuit to allow the plaintiffs to determine whether further changes to compensation would satisfy their concerns. That truce has now expired, and when the two sides could not reach an out-of-court settlement, the new Liberal government decided to revive the legal argument the previous government was trying to use to scuttle the lawsuit — that the federal government has no ‘sacred covenant’ with veterans.

Which, of course, makes a mockery of the explicit promise in the Liberals’ campaign platform: “We will demonstrate the respect and appreciation for our veterans that Canadians rightly expect, and ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.”

The Liberals are, in fact, doing the exact opposite of what they promised — forcing veterans to fight for just compensation in a court battle that could drag on for years.

The Liberal platform further stated that the federal government has “a social covenant with all veterans and their families that we must meet with both respect and gratitude.” That echoes a resolution put forward last year by NDP MP Fin Donnelly, and adopted unanimously by all parties: “That Canadians recognize that the federal government has a moral, social, legal and fiduciary obligation to the women and men who courageously serve our country.”

Recognizing this obligation was crucial, because government lawyers had argued in court that “at no time in Canada’s history has any alleged ‘social contract’ or ‘social covenant’ having the attributes pleaded by the plaintiffs been given effect in any statute, regulation or as a constitutional principle written or unwritten.”

to the curb?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with a Canadian veteran at the National War Memorial following Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa, Wednesday, November 11, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
No, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shouldn’t have lost his cool in the House of Commons the other day. When a vote didn’t proceed fast enough for his liking, Trudeau morphed into a spoiled toddler who wanted his toy RIGHT NOW, rushing the floor, grabbing one opposition MP and elbowing another. Despite the PM’s apologies, it remains a bully moment that cast a shadow over his party’s ‘sunny ways’.

Unfortunately, it’s also overshadowing the far more serious instance of bullying that the Liberals are inflicting on Canadian veterans. This week, the government chose to revive the Harper government’s efforts to shut down a class action lawsuit launched by six war veterans against the federal government.

The vets claimed the Tories were discriminating against combatants in modern-day conflicts, such as Afghanistan, by offering them lump-sum payments, rather than the life-long pensions paid to veterans of older conflicts, such as the Korean War. The issue cost the Conservatives support among veterans’ groups — a traditional base of support — and became a black eye for a government that loved to play up the importance of Canada’s military.

In June 2015 the two sides called a truce, with the government staying the lawsuit to allow the plaintiffs to determine whether further changes to compensation would satisfy their concerns. That truce has now expired, and when the two sides could not reach an out-of-court settlement, the new Liberal government decided to revive the legal argument the previous government was trying to use to scuttle the lawsuit — that the federal government has no ‘sacred covenant’ with veterans.

Which, of course, makes a mockery of the explicit promise in the Liberals’ campaign platform: “We will demonstrate the respect and appreciation for our veterans that Canadians rightly expect, and ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.”

open quote 761b1bThe Liberals are, in fact, doing the exact opposite of what they promised — forcing veterans to fight for just compensation in a court battle that could drag on for years.
The Liberal platform further stated that the federal government has “a social covenant with all veterans and their families that we must meet with both respect and gratitude.” That echoes a resolution put forward last year by NDP MP Fin Donnelly, and adopted unanimously by all parties: “That Canadians recognize that the federal government has a moral, social, legal and fiduciary obligation to the women and men who courageously serve our country.”

Recognizing this obligation was crucial, because government lawyers had argued in court that “at no time in Canada’s history has any alleged ‘social contract’ or ‘social covenant’ having the attributes pleaded by the plaintiffs been given effect in any statute, regulation or as a constitutional principle written or unwritten.”

Trudeau himself refuted this argument, both inside the House of Commons and on the campaign trail. “For ten years, Stephen Harper draped himself in the Canadian flag, then betrayed the men and women who fought for it,” he said. “Our servicemen and women, who have put their lives on the line for their country, stand for the very best of what it means to be Canadian. We have a social covenant with all veterans and their families — a sacred obligation we must meet with both respect and gratitude.”

The decision to block the lawsuit again has left veterans’ groups in a state of utter shock. “It’s a betrayal,” veterans lawyer Donald Sorochan told CBC News. “They have turned the Liberal election campaign into a lie. I sat at tables (during the campaign) with some of the people who are now in cabinet. Those ministers have been turned into liars by the Department of Justice.”

Why are the Liberals going back on their word? No one — not the prime minister, not the Justice Department, not Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr — is offering an explanation. When questioned about the decision in the House of Commons, Hehr stated he is committed to treating veterans “with care, compassion and respect,” according to CTV News, adding that “Budget 2016 had delivered on a lot of those items, including financial security for many of our most disabled veterans.”

But that’s not what the Liberals promised. They are, in fact, doing the exact opposite of what they promised — forcing veterans to fight for just compensation in a court battle that could drag on for years.

That’s bullying, plain and simple — and Canadians shouldn’t stand for it. Trudeau should reverse the decision to appeal, even if it means another mea culpa on the floor of the House.

http://ipolitics.ca/2016/05/19/why-is-trudeau-kicking-veterans-to-the-curb/

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Hauling Veterans Back To Court Over Benefits A 'Disgrace,' Opposition Says

Post by Guest on Thu 19 May 2016, 15:24

The Liberal government is a "disgrace" for sending wounded veterans back to court to fight for benefits, opposition parties charged Wednesday.

Veterans have been arguing the government has a sacred obligation to its soldiers and that the lump-sum payment wounded veterans receive under the New Veterans Charter — as opposed to the pension that was offered before 2006 — is inadequate compensation, as they receive less money over the course of a lifetime.

Government lawyers outraged many veterans by asserting that the federal government has no extraordinary obligation to those who have fought for the country.

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr speaks with veterans at a stakeholder summit at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (Photo: Justin Tang/CP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that after "10 years of neglect" by the former Conservative government there are a lot of issues to resolve, and he's proud of the work Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr is doing on the file.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair took issue with the government's stance, saying after "campaigning on a black and white promise to end the Conservative court case against veterans the Liberals are taking them back to court with the same lawyers, and the same arguments, to try and block them from getting the benefits they deserve and that the Liberals promised. It's disgusting."

"This is a disgrace, it is shameful. The Liberals must recognize Canada's moral, social, legal and financial covenant with veterans," NDP MP Irene Mathyssen added, noting the latest legal move will add to the $700,000 bill the Conservatives racked up fighting these veterans in court.

Trudeau condemned Mulcair for "playing politics" with veterans, but offered no reason as to why justice department lawyers are ending a legal truce and blocking the class action lawsuit launched by six injured Afghan veterans.

CBC News first reported Tuesday that Hehr signed off on sending the lawsuit back to the B.C. Court of Appeal after the legal truce — formally called an abeyance agreement — expired Sunday, a move that has been described by some as a "betrayal" after veterans groups campaigned with Liberals ahead of the Oct. 19 vote.

The Liberals have also put Paul Vickery back on the case, the government lawyer who was removed by former Conservative veterans minister Erin O'Toole in 2014 after a period of fractious relations between the Harper government and advocacy groups.

"The prime minister promised to uphold the sacred obligation our country owes to our veterans and yet his justice minister has turned her lawyers on veterans," O'Toole said Wednesday in question period.

Hehr told the House he could not comment on issues before the court, but said the Conservatives "should applaud us for what we're doing," rhyming off changes made in the most recent budget, including reopening service offices, increasing the disability award and boosting the earnings loss benefit for injured veterans and expanding access to the permanent impairment allowance.

He also said he is dedicated to implementing all the items his mandate letter, including lifetime pensions, but said that "veterans stakeholders have asked us to get this right and not rush."

Veterans affairs minister 'two-faced'

The veterans promised to drop the litigation if Hehr provided timelines for enacting the priorities outlined in his mandate letter. But, according to Donald Sorochan, the lawyer representing the veterans, the minister has been noncommittal on timelines for implementing key promises, namely when lifetime pensions will be restored.

Government lawyers have informed Sorochan that they will revert to the legal position they initially argued in the Harper era, namely that the federal government has no extraordinary obligation to those who have fought for the country and that Canada does not have a social covenant with veterans.

They will also seek to justify the lump-sum payments, arguing that a "scheme providing benefits cannot be said to amount to a deprivation merely because claimant views the benefits as insufficient."

These positions were ultimately repudiated by the Harper government who sought to patch up relations with veterans, many of whom had become vocal opponents of the Tories.

The fact the Liberal government is now reverting to the same arguments that the Conservatives acknowledged were problematic has exasperated veterans groups.

"I am bitterly disappointed that I took some flack for trusting this government and now people are telling me 'I told you so, the government couldn't be trusted.' They were right," Sorochan said. "I think [Hehr's] an inexperienced minister with little background on the veterans affairs file and his chief of staff comes from the insurance industry where this type of approach is common, they're motivated to increase profits," Sorochan said.

Conservative Veterans Affairs critic Alupa Clarke also chided Hehr for the latest move, calling him "two-faced" for appearing publicly supportive of wounded veterans while his government is taking them to court over benefits his party promised to enact.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/05/18/hauling-veterans-back-to-court-over-benefits-a-disgrace-opposition-says_n_10037258.html

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Liberals accused of breaking promise to uphold 'sacred obligation' to veterans

Post by Guest on Thu 19 May 2016, 05:42

The New Democrats and Conservatives are accusing the Liberals of breaking their election promise to uphold a ‘sacred obligation to veterans,’ after the justice department moved forward with a court case that would give the government the option of denying lifelong pensions to injured soldiers.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair accused the Liberals during daily question period in the House of Commons of “trying to stop (veterans) from getting the benefits they deserve,” despite “campaigning on a black-and-white promise to end the Conservative court case against veterans.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded that “veterans who have served this country extraordinarily well deserve more than people trying to play politics on their backs.”

“Veterans across this country know that in Budget 2016 we put forward historic measures that will fix the 10 years of neglect,” Trudeau added.
Former veterans affairs minister Erin O’Toole -- whose government came to an agreement with the plaintiffs of the lawsuit last June, putting it on hold until this month -- accused Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould Wednesday of “attacking veterans” and allowing a “truce” to “fall apart.”
“The prime minister promised to uphold the sacred obligation our country owes to our veterans,” O’Toole said, “yet his justice minister has turned her lawyers on veterans.”
Quebec Conservative MP Alupa Clarke also accused the Liberals of breaking promises. “The Minister of Veterans Affairs appears two-faced,” he said.
Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr responded by saying that he is committed to treating veterans “with care, compassion and respect.”
“Budget 2016 had delivered on a lot of those items, including financial security for many of our most disabled veterans,” the minister added.
Hehr’s department said he was not available for an interview, but issued a statement that said he “was given a mandate to re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for injured Veterans and remains committed to this.”

The court case in question was brought forward by six veterans of the Afghan war in 2012, who argued that new rules introduced in 2006 discriminated against them by offering small lump sum payments for their injuries, as opposed to the lifelong pensions that veterans of previous wars have received.
The case sparked a public outcry in 2014 when the Conservative government’s justice department argued that the government does not have a special obligation, or “social covenant” with veterans to provide pensions for injured soldiers.
After that outcry, the Conservatives introduced measures aimed at placating veterans, including pain and suffering awards, expanded access to permanent impairment allowances and a bill to codify the country’s sacred obligation.
The Liberal election platform also stated that the government has “a sacred obligation” to veterans and went a step further – and vowed to “re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured veterans.”
Trudeau also said while campaigning that he would end court cases "that (the Conservative) government has taken on to deprive veterans of their benefits."
The promises proved especially popular with veterans groups during the campaign.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Don Sorochan, said last summer that the proposed changes meant they were willing to give the government some time to see if the situation improved. He also said the upcoming election campaign represented “a nice competitive bidding (process) to see who's going to do better.”

A judge put the case on hold last June.

‘A Betrayal’

Sorochan told CTV’s Power Play Wednesday that what the justice department has done now is ask the court to rule on whether the Conservatives were correct about there being no social contract with veterans.
“When that argument was made in the courts, there was a public outcry saying, ‘How can you say there’s nothing special warranted for people that put their life on the line for their country?’” Sorochan said.
He added that the argument was “repudiated by the Conservative government in its last days, was campaigned against by the Liberal government, and was certainly not accepted by any of the Liberals that I dealt with during the election campaign."
Sorochan said he believes “progress" was made on programs for benefits by both the Conservatives and the Liberals. He said that despite “some disappointment” that the Liberals had not honoured their pensions promise in their first budget, they may still be planning to do so.
However, he said the “gist of what the Liberals are arguing,” is that “the government happens to want to do good things for veterans now but it has no obligation to do them.
Sorochan later said he sees it as a “betrayal” that the Liberals – who some disabled veterans had campaigned for – appear to be asking the court to rule that there is “no social covenant.”
“This position … is making liars of us when we said to people the Liberal Party was putting forward a platform acceptable to veterans,” he said.
“If this government wants to retract from their position that there’s a social covenant,” he added, “they should stand up in court and do so.”
Plaintiff Brian McKenna, who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, said Wednesday that he is “pretty ticked off,” but committed to seeing the case through.
“We’re not going away,” he added.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/liberals-accused-of-breaking-promise-to-uphold-sacred-obligation-to-veterans-1.2908124



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Re: Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

Post by Guest on Wed 18 May 2016, 20:58

MVA Hehr has now declined to be interviewed in the media since the news that the Equitas lawsuit is going back to court has surfaced.  Will this non committal rhetoric be the sign of whats to come from MVA Hehr when questioned about the mandate letter and the Liberal promises unfulfilled?

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=873187

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Re: Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

Post by Teentitan on Wed 18 May 2016, 20:52

So if Hehr says he is woring on the mandate letter is he not contradicting himself when he says he can't comment on the lifelong pension because it is before of the court case when the lifelong pension is the reason for the lawsuit?

His appearence, lack of knowledge, and overall self gratification I wonder if he will be the MVA in the fall after the summer break?
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Re: Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

Post by bigrex on Wed 18 May 2016, 20:37

I guess Hehr has been able have his cake and eat it too, for far too long. He cannot say that they are working on fulfilling the mandate letter, while fighting Veterans in court, that only seek what was promised in that mandate letter, which is the life long pension.
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Re: Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

Post by Teentitan on Wed 18 May 2016, 18:43

Is it too soon to start calling JT a dictator?
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Pulling a fast one ?

Post by Guest on Wed 18 May 2016, 18:06


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Re: Legal truce over veterans benefits on shaky ground, lawyer warns MPs

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