Published Monday, July 22, 2013 6:06PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 22, 2013 6:11PM PDT
The federal government is asking a BC Supreme Court judge to strike down a class-action lawsuit filed by six war veterans over disability compensation.
The disabled veterans are challenging a pension program introduced in 2006, which the soldiers say violates their human rights with insufficient and arbitrary disability payments.
Veteran pensions previously fell under the Pension Act, before the New Veterans Charter was signed off seven years ago to establish more veteran-specific regulations.
Kevin Berry, one of the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit, contends that the benefits are 40 to 90 per cent worse under the new rules, and are weaker than provincial compensation plans.
The federal government argues the soldiers' concerns should not be dealt with by the courts. They say the veterans should lobby MPs instead to change the legislation.
"They're telling us that you can't sue us because you're veterans, you're not entitled to equal compensation because you're veterans," said Berry.
"We're not going to stand for that."
Jim Scott, whose son Daniel is another one of the six disabled soldiers in the class-action suit, said the court case will determine what power soldiers have to negotiate their pensions.
"What we're here to do today is to establish whether soldiers have fundamental rights under the Charter … and whether the government owes them a duty of care," said Scott.
The court hearing will continue Tuesday and Wednesday.
July 22, 2013 first day in Court.
Only the Governments lawyers talked today. I will summarise some of the points which they made.
(1)Fiduciary Duty to Veterans is being denied by the Government (Crown)
Basically this means that Ottawa or the Crown arguing for Ottawa does not believe that they have any sacred duty to care for Veterans.
(2)The crown also argued that Canada has no obligations to provide any benefits to Veterans.
(3) They also contend that there is no obligation under legislative authority to provide the military with equal benefits.
(4) That the changes made to the act are not a matter for the court. The lawyer went on to say that there were more prudent ways to deal with this matter and when the Judge as him to name one , he suggested contacting our MP's, only later to state that government only worked incrementally not monumentally. To me at least one sort of ruled out the other, because he was saying a better way was to contact your MP for help and then said but it will take forever if at all.
I am not sure about the numbers of Veterans who showed up but it wasn't as many as I would have expected because of the seriousness of that the decision on this question might (Might) have on the future of all Veterans and RCMP disability programs.
I honestly believe if the Crown (Government) gets a ruling in their favour there will be a legal president and ruling that Ottawa has no obligation to provide any services to Veterans and furthermore have no obligation to give equal benefits, not even for equal injury.
Now granted I would not expect or at least hope for them not to cancel what is already out there but I doubt that there will be any further recipients of many of the Veterans programs already out there, including but not limited to, VIP, Education, 75% of pay for 2 years, even medical care and who will provide it comes into question.
I had to leave early due to parking issues.
End of Day one.
PS: It is now a matter of Public Record that Ottawa (Our present Government) do not believe that they owe Veterans including the injured one, ANYTHING.
The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.