Coming from Vancouver to Fredericton, large amounts of veterans from across the country will be banding together in front of Parliament Hill on Oct. 4 for the Veterans “Broken Promises” Protest.
Organized by The Canadian Veterans Advocacy (CVA), amongst the chief complaints is the failure of the Liberal government to re-establish lifetime pensions for those who fell under the wing of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) after 2006.
“It is our intent to send a message to this government today and tomorrow that the status quo is no longer acceptable, that we’ve given you a year to address the central issues that fulfill the promises you made, and we accept a resolution in our favour, not your favour, or not in a manner hat disrespects veterans as it does now,” said Michael Blais, President and Founder of CVA.
Blais says his group has given the new government a year to fulfill its promises to uphold the sacred obligation to veterans, and the lack of action has resulted in this protest.
“It’s not a knee-jerk reaction by any means,” noted Blais, who sits on several advisory committees to the minister.
The group is also protesting exclusions made in the new changes to the Earnings Loss Benefit. Starting Oct. 1, the Earnings Loss Benefit was raised to 90 per cent of a veterans pre-release salary. However, veterans under the Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Disability program must first qualify and participate in the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)’s Rehabilitation Program before potentially receiving the increased benefit. CVA is demanding equality in recognition of national sacrifice.
“We’re not money grabbers. We are out to get equality to what our forefathers had, particularly for those who have been wounded since 2006,” noted Blais.
Blais noted that the New Veterans Charter, which went into effect in the height of the Afghanistan War, leaves its recipients with less compensation in some aspects.
“There are 150 families who have not been acquired the same level of respect as Memorial Cross Mothers and widows in the past,” said Blais.
The plan for the protest is to stand out in front of Parliament Hill and reach out to as many Parliamentarians as possible.
“I truly believe, if we can convince parliamentarians to embrace their sacred obligation to equality, there will be support at a Parliamentarian level to apply pressure to the government to fulfill the promises that they made,” stated Blais.
The protest is taking place a day before the Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholders Summit. Based on what is planned for the Summit, however, Blais believes this protest is just the first of many.
For more information on the Veterans “Broken Promise” Protest click here.