VIDEO: Should have seen it coming: Trudeau says veterans’ groups ask for more than Ottawa can give
The new pension plan, which will take effect in April, 2019, will save the government money, at least in the short term, and reduce the compensation awarded to many disabled soldiers. During the first four years of the plan, Ottawa will pay about $1.8-billion less, in total, to disabled vets than it would have under programs enacted during the Harper government. And critics say it has gone to some lengths to prevent veterans from having input.
“It’s a systemic attack upon veterans’ rights to be denied the chance to participate in the very democracy that they were willing to die to defend,” says Sean Bruyea, a veterans-rights advocate who is suing Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan for defamation as a result of comments the minister made in response to Mr. Bruyea’s criticism of the plan.
After taking office in 2015, the Liberal government created advisory groups of veterans to offer comment about new policies and laws affecting Canadians who have served in the military.
The government says a number of suggestions from the advisory groups were incorporated into Pensions For Life, but it did not ask the groups for feedback before announcing it in the days after Parliament broke for Christmas in 2017.
The legislation to enact the program was rolled into an omnibus budget bill in 2018. There was no discussion about it on the floor of the House of Commons, and very little at Commons committees.