'They are slapping us in the face': Melfort veteran

By Nigel Maxwell
February 5, 2018 - 5:00pm Updated: February 5, 2018 - 5:33pm

The President of the Legion branch in Melfort said he is not happy about some recent comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau concerning pension money for veterans.

During a town hall meeting in Edmonton last week, Trudeau told the crowd his government is fighting some Canadian veterans in court because they are asking for more than the federal government can afford. Trudeau made the comment in response to a query from a disabled veteran in the crowd, who had concerns with the government’s re-vamped pension system for disabled veterans.

Bob Ellis, who spent 17 years in the service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, said the comment made by Trudeau felt like a "slap in the face" and added the government needed to find the money.

"They simply got to stop being frivolous with the money they've got and start thinking about us guys. People like Trudeau and all these guys wouldn't be around if the veterans hadn't stepped up to the plate and they deserve to be looked after a million times better than they have been," Ellis said.

A group of disabled veterans are taking their legal fight to the Supreme Court of Canada. They claim the federal government broke its promise to care for the country's wounded soldiers, with the overhaul of the old pension system. Trudeau told the Edmonton crowd the new program would help veterans throughout their lives instead of the lump sum payments under the old system.

Ellis received $12,000 in 2007.  Suffering from a hearing impairment, he applied for the program and was told to come back in five years and get his ears tested again. When Ellis re-tested six years later, he said the federal government refused to help him.

"I'm fighting the government right now; they just don't want to do anything, and they haven't said why," he said.

Ellis said he plans to take his story to Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback who told paNOW, he visited with others, like Ellis, who are very frustrated with the program.

"It all comes down to priorities and what your priorities are as government and unfortunately we have a prime minister whose priorities are something other than our veterans,” he said.

When asked to provide examples, Hoback cited the recent $8 million for the hockey rink outside the parliament building in Ottawa and the $10.5 given to Omar Khadr. The issue was raised during question period on Monday. Hoback said two Conservative MPs committed to a social media campaign to raise awareness.

 

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