Governments of the past have been able to provide proper veteran care. So what's changed?

Governments of the past have been able to provide proper veteran care. So what's changed?
From CBC - February 19, 2018

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answered three generations of Canadian Forces veterans whowondered why they have received far less than veterans who came before them: "Because they are asking far more than we are able to give right now" Trudeau told an Edmonton town hall.

The prime minister is wrong, obviously: the government could give more, if it wanted to. But Trudeau can nevertheless be congratulated for finally admitting that the government's aim is ultimately to minimize its liability to care for all veterans, but particularly those with disabilities and their families. One-time cash infusions, such as the government's forthcoming $622 million bailout of the military's chronically underfunded disability pension plan, should not distract us from that fact.

Veterans need to understand the fact that this governmentjust like its Conservative predecessoris in effect bargaining: battling on a multitude of fronts (legal, political, media, academia, and stakeholder manipulation) in an effort to lessen its financial obligation to those in uniform. And veterans need to wake up and face this reality if they stand to make any gains.

So, are veterans asking too much? Well, let's look at what governments of the past have been able to scrounge up.

For at least the last 200 years, whenever veterans required care, government provided, sometimes begrudgingly, regardless of its economic circumstances. The first pension plan for disabled Canadian veterans and their survivors was passed by the government of Upper Canada in 1816 and 1817.

Upper Canada took the brunt of the U.S invasions and, at the end of the war, large sections of the province (including its capital York)had been devastated by fighting. Farms had been burned and the economy was in tatters. Added to this was the fact that 1816 was also an abnormally cold and rainy year, which ruinedmuch of the crop.

But these severe economic circumstances did not prevent Upper Canada from putting in place an easily accessible pension scheme for those who served during the war and their surviving family members.

Pension paperwork

Compared to the bureaucratic labyrinth and delays that veterans have to navigate through today, the amount of paperwork required to receive a pension in 1816-17 was laughably but effectively scant. A one-page declaration from the soldier's commanding officer was sufficient testimony to a soldier's disability. (Today, Veterans Affairs demands a separate medical opinion than the one provided by military doctors, who are undoubtedly the most qualified to attribute an injury to a soldier's time in uniform.)

Current spending


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