NDP Veterans Affairs Critic Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe), backed by colleague Richard Cannings (South Okanagan – West Kootenay) and MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni), have submitted two bills requiring amendments to two pieces of legislation they consider discriminatory against veterans and their families.
The first legislation prevents spouses of veterans who marry past the age of 60 to receive the pension benefits of other military spouses.
“It should not matter when a veteran got married to its spouse. In the end, those spouses will provide the same level of care, comfort and support to their partners as would any other spouse that married at a younger age. This law may have made sense 114 years ago, but it certainly doesn’t in this day and age,” said Irene Mathyssen.
The other bill requires that the systematic reduction of pension for disabled veterans reaching the age of 65 be abolished.
“At a point in their lives when injured veterans usually require increased care and extra support, the government is cutting up significantly on their pension, without respect for the time served and the injuries sustained by such service to our country. The ombudsman himself has said a couple weeks ago that securing financial security is key to improving veterans’ quality of life. It starts with abolishing such laws,” she added.
The NPD Veterans Affairs Critic is also hoping to shield lights on the importance to provide injured members with proper counselling with regards to life-long pension benefits, to help protect the intellectual property of our creative service members, to ensure death benefits reach beneficiaries in all circumstances and that volunteers be recognised with a medal for their honourable efforts alongside the Canadian Armed Forces.
“I strongly encourage people affected or that feel concerned by these issues to contact their MPs and send letter to Ministers’ offices to ask that fairness be granted for veterans and servicemembers. We live in a different era than the one these legislations were implemented and it is time to bring them up to date with more modern standards of actions,” she concluded.
A feeling shared by Rick Inglis, Co-Chair of the Surviving Spouse’s Pension Fairness Coalition: “Our coalition is extremely pleased that the NDP is joining the fight to change unfair legislation that has, in various forms, been hurting Canadians for 115 years. These archaic laws have no place in a modern society.”