‘Hon­our, dig­nity, jus­tice, equal­ity’

Military, RCMP vet­er­ans lose CPP ben­e­fits; en­gage­ment con­tract was bro­ken

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY JOHN LABELLE John Labelle of Lower Sackville, N.S., is co-or­di­na­tor of the Vet­er­ans An­nu­ity Cam­paign.

Dear Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau:

The com­mit­tee has at­tempted on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions to com­mu­ni­cate with you but our mail does not reach your desk. You are ur­gently re­quested to ini­ti­ate an ex­ec­u­tive white pa­per memo to the Com­mis­sioner of the Canadian Pen­sion and Ap­peal Board to rem­edy this long out­stand­ing military/RCMP vet­er­ans CPP pen­sion de­duc­tion at age 65 or sooner, if in re­ceipt of a CPP dis­abil­ity pen­sion.

This un­just/un­fair de­duc­tion af­fects the wel­fare of their fam­i­lies in their golden years. Military/RCMP vet­er­ans con­tinue to main­tain that their en­gage­ment con­tract was bro­ken.

Sir, as Prime Min­is­ter of Canada you have stated: “Vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies have earned our re­spect and grat­i­tude.” Vet­er­ans should not have to fight their gov­ern­ment for the sup­port and com­pen­sa­tion they have earned. You are re­quested to stand be­hind your words that you gave to vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies. The com­mit­tee wishes to re­mind you that the Lib­er­als voted to end this claw­back on five sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions. They stand be­hind you!

Vet­er­ans re­quest no retroac­tive pay­ments. They re­quest no funds from the tax­pay­ers. Bil­lions of dol­lars are avail­able in our pen­sion ac­count to rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion. This pen­sion claw­back may af­fect 30,000 vet­er­ans over the age of 65.

Serv­ing per­son­nel and vet­er­ans are fu­ri­ous that the gov­ern­ment of Canada is able to solve other un­pleas­ant is­sues and pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance other coun­tries. Then it de­nies military/RCMP vet­er­ans their earned and paid for pen­sion at no cost to the tax­pay­ers.

The morale of our forces was sec­ond to none. It has now de­te­ri­o­rated to a level where less than 30 per cent of our re­cruits re-en­gage af­ter their first con­tract in the Canadian Forces. It is a know fact that how Canada treats its vet­er­ans re­flect on the re­cruit­ment of new per­son­nel.

Military/RCMP per­son­nel are a dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment provider. Un­like other seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion they of­ten work in de­plorable con­di­tions. What price tag can be placed on the vol­un­tary ser­vices we ask our spouses to per­form while we serve our coun­try, Canada?

Con­sider the loss of our spouses’ em­ploy­ment in­come op­por­tu­ni­ties as a re­sult of many op­er­a­tional moves. Many post­ing led to the loss of their spousal CPP ben­e­fits. They of­ten faced ex­tended fam­ily sep­a­ra­tion with el­e­vated level of stress while main­tain­ing a fam­ily on their own. The un­avail­abil­ity to cel­e­brate an­niver­saries, birth­days and fam­ily gath­er­ings, just to name a few.

Prime Min­is­ter, you must stand be­hind your words given to vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies. To­day, many of our vet­er­ans are in their 80s. Some 130 vet­er­ans die daily. This past year our com­mit­tee lost four close, home base vet­er­ans. They had ac­cu­mu­lated over 140 years of ser­vice.

Where are the lead­ers who will re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fices military/RCMP vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies have given to the ser­vice and pro­tec­tion of Canada? When will vet­er­ans be able to re­ceive the pen­sion pro­tec­tion they and their fam­i­lies have paid for in more ways than one?

This vet­er­ans’ let­ter of con­cern needs to be placed on the Prime Min­is­ter’s desk. He needs to pro­vide a favourable re­ply to military/RCMP per­son­nel and their fam­i­lies. Vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies feel cheated. Forces per­son­nel need to be proud again of the sup­port and pro­tec­tion they pro­vided to Canada. Vet­er­ans were pre­pared to give the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice to Canada. Many fam­i­lies gave it their all. They and their fam­i­lies need to be re­mem­bered, not just on Re­mem­brance Day photo ops week, but also through­out the year. This CPP pen­sion is­sue has been go­ing on for far too long.

Prime Min­is­ter we look for­ward to your re­ply, in that military/RCMP vet­er­ans can move on to pro­vide more as­sis­tance to our dis­abled vet­er­ans. Sir, your Lead­er­ship is re­quired now to solve this is­sue, at no cost to the tax­pay­ers.

We re­main your obe­di­ent ser­vants.

Canadian vet­er­ans see pen­sions clawed back

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