Saturday, December 31, 2005

Armed Forces Veterans - the new *motherhood and apple pie*?

Nobody is going to argue that veterans shouldn't get the best possible treatment from the Canadian government.

Except, perhaps, the government itself.

On Friday, an Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled that Canada owes certain disabled veterans as much as $4.6 billion for "unrealized investment potential".

It's not quite as cut and dried an issue as it looks, however; a prominent veterans' spokesman says the money would be better spent addressing the needs of current veterans rather than going to (mostly) families of those who have already died.

Without knowing any more facts than these, I'd venture to hope that a settlement could be reached that would both compensate some losses and improve services to veterans going forward.

It will be interesting to see whether the campaigning leaders touch this one. Steven Harper has already put forward his plan for a veterans' bill of rights, but this was two days before the court ruling.

It's a little more complicated for the Liberals - their promises are burdened with the perspective of twelve years of Liberal regime, and they are the government who is fighting the claim for lost interest on pensions that were entrusted to - the government.

Not to mention the other shortcomings in their current program, as outlined in this news release issued on Thursday by the National Council of Veteran Associations.

I wonder whether this issue is sexy enough for the leaders to make a show of falling over each other to promise to do right by the veterans, and whether the party who ultimately forms the next government will follow through.

To everyone who reads this: thank you, and I wish you a wonderful healthy and prosperous New Year.

Cross posted to the CTV Election Weblog

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