This month Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Canadian Forces veterans, who asked the prime minister why they are receiving much less than the veterans who came before them.
They were told by the prime minister that it is because they are asking for far more than the Canadian government is able to give at this moment.
$622 Million Dollar Bailout
Obviously the prime minister is wrong, if it wanted to, the government could give much more to its veterans. Trudeau seemed almost self congratulatory for admitting (finally) that the aim of the government is to minimize its own liability to care for all of our veterans, especially those with disabilities. Although there is a forthcoming $622 million dollar bailout coming for the military’s underfunded disability pension plan, we should not be distracted from the fact that this is just a one time bailout and that neither the prime minister, or anyone in his party, has offered any long term solutions for caring for our veterans.
This government is has been working on lessening its financial obligation to those who have served in the past and are currently serving. This is obvious from their lack of solutions and plethora of excuses, especially from the prime minister who is a genius at deflection when it comes to topics that might make him look less than perfect.
Are Veterans Asking for too Much?
Are Canada’s veterans asking for too much? Not compared to what Canada has historically done for its hero’s in uniform. For the last 150 years the Canadian government always provided care for its veterans, regardless of what the economic climate was like. In fact, the first pension plan for Canadian veterans who were disabled was passed in 1816 in Upper Canada. Upper Canada was going through a severe economic crisis during the time, it had taken the brunt of the United States invasions and large sections , including the capital, had been ravished by the fighting. The farms that had not been burned in the fighting were dealing with an abnormally rainy and cold year, which ruined the crops. But even when dealing with these horrible setbacks, the government put an easily accessible pension scheme into law for everyone who served in the war. They knew their priorities should lay with those who had fought for Canada.
In fact, not only did they make sure they could help the veterans, they made in incredibly easy for them to access the help and services that they earned. All that was required in 1816 to receive a pension was a one page testimony from the soldier’s commanding officer saying that the soldier was disabled. Today veterans have to see multiple doctors and fill out tons of different paperwork in order to hope to get the help they need. In the early 1900s when Canada was dealing with the post war recession, the government passed the Pension Act. Which granted military pensions to every veteran who was disabled, that year 21 percent of all government spending was used for veterans benefits. The government also offered vocational training, interest free loans, clothing allowances, dental and healthcare as well as hiring veterans first for civil service appointments.
Current spending for veterans is only 1.2 percent of the entire federal budget. It is obvious that this government does not value veterans as it did in years past. This is something that everyone needs to speak up about and change.