Ottawa revives Harper-era legal arguments to block pensions for injured vets
Justice department lawyers will revive legal arguments advanced by the former Harper government to try to block a lawsuit by six Afghan war veterans intent on restoring pensions for injured and wounded soldiers.
CBC News first reported last month that the federal government is taking veterans involved in the Equitas lawsuit back to court to try to block certain benefits for soldiers, despite a Liberal campaign promise to better support them after an era of Conservative cuts.
A peace agreement of sorts, reached by former veterans affairs minister Erin O’Toole, recently expired without any sort of resolution meaning the litigation will now proceed at the B.C. Court of Appeals.
The government’s handpicked lawyers will argue that Canada does not have a social contract or covenant with veterans, and that a “scheme providing benefits cannot be said to amount to a deprivation merely because claimant views the benefits as insufficient.”
The plaintiffs have argued in court that the lump-sum payment wounded veterans receive under the New Veterans Charter — as opposed to the lifetime pension that was offered to veterans before 2006 — is inadequate compensation, as they receive less money over a lifetime.
In court documents filed this week, the government’s top class action lawsuit lawyer, Paul Vickery, said that “the submissions made by [former Conservative attorney-general Rob Nicholson] on hearing of the appeal, as set out in the factum filed by him, accurately reflect the current position of the federal government.”
That is a controversial position among many in the veterans community as there is a long-held belief that Canada has a special responsibility to its veterans — a social contract — based on the promise politicians have made for generations to adequately care for those soldiers who are hurt in the line of duty.(Source: CBC News)