The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans’ Association wholeheartedly supports the statement made by the Royal Canadian Legion on February 6, 2018, and entitled “Legion responds to Prime Minister’s Comments at Edmonton Town Hall.”

The Royal Canadian Legion statement published on their website states:

“In a Town Hall recently in Edmonton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau angered many in the Veteran community when he responded that the Canadian government is still fighting ‘certain Veterans groups’ in court because “they are asking for more than we are able to give right now.”

These sorts of words are extremely insensitive to Canada’s Veterans and reinforce a message that the government does not have an obligation to take care of Canada’s ill and injured Veterans – and that Canada cannot afford it.

Why then, do we continue to send our forces into harm’s way if we are not willing to – or cannot – help them adequately upon return? This is inexcusable.

In the Town Hall, the Prime Minister said the revised New Veterans Charter – or Pension for Life plan – goes beyond what was offered in the Pension Act, and offers services, rehabilitation and supports to improve quality of life for the Veteran and their families and caregivers.

He also clarified that the government “cannot return to the amount of money that was given before (through the Pension Act) without accounting for the money invested (in the New Veterans Charter) in services for Veterans.

The government’s plan for a tax-free pain and suffering award for Veterans is promising, but based on the limited details of the plan released to date, the Royal Canadian Legion strongly believes there are still areas for improvement.

The plan must include definitive financial support, along with compensation in the form of services and benefits – which together would equal what was offered in the original Pension Act.”

RCMP Members and Veterans who have become permanently disabled due to a service-related injury or illness, and their survivors, are covered under the Pension Act, not the New Veterans Charter, and the money for our Pension Act disability pensions is provided by the Government of Canada through the Force, not Veterans Affairs Canada.

Nevertheless, we fully support the demand of military veterans who are covered by the New Veterans Charter to be provided with compensation in the form of services and benefits, as well as financial support, equal in monetary terms to that received by RCMP Members and Veterans under the Pension Act.

The RCMP Veterans’ Association continues to work hard, and shoulder-to-shoulder with military veterans organizations such as the RC Legion, to ensure that the Government of Canada provides the care, services, benefits and recognition that all of Canada’s Veterans need and deserve.

At the same time, and as we have done since 1886, we continue to strenuously advocate for improvements to the benefits, services and financial support the Government of Canada provides for Canada’s RCMP Veterans and their survivors.

As the RC Legion statement noted, and which applies equally to RCMP Veterans:

“When asked to risk their lives and futures, our Veterans do so without hesitation.

In return for their sacrifices, we must support them without hesitation and not use money as the main excuse for gaps in their care and benefits.

We reiterate that the whole of government must, without reserve, reaffirm its social contract and honour its obligation to provide for the men and women who are injured in the service of Canada.”

Al Rivard
President, RCMP Veterans’ Association