Liberals sit on $150 million meant for veterans’ loved ones « Canada’s NDP
OTTAWA – Yesterday, at the Veterans Affairs Committee, NDP critic for veterans Rachel Blaney questioned the minister about the Liberal government’s continued failure to support veterans’ families. The Liberals have repeatedly broken their promises to eliminate the discriminatory ‘marriage after 60’ clause which prohibits spouses of veterans who marry after age 60 from accessing the automatic survivor pensions. Instead, the Liberals allocated $150 million over 5 years to the newly created Veterans Survivors Fund but, so far, not one penny has been provided to veterans’ loved ones.
“Veterans who marry after the age of 60 deserve to know that their spouse will be taken care of just like any other married couple. The Liberals haven’t scrapped the marriage after 60 clause and now we see that the money earmarked for the Veterans Survivor Fund isn’t getting to the people it was created to help,” said Blaney. “The minister owes veterans and their families an explanation.”
Many veterans advocacy organizations have criticized the Trudeau Government for breaking its promise to eliminate the antiquated clause from legislation, including the National Council of Veterans Associations and the Armed Forces Pensioner’/Annuitants’ Association of Canada.
“When will the Liberal government start treating these people respectfully? They should not be punishing veterans for falling in love later in life,” said Blaney. “Many veterans live well into their eighties and their partners are caring for them during that time. The government should just remove the clause. Clearly, the system they put in place in still failing our veterans.”
During the committee meeting, Deputy Minister Gen (Ret’d) Walter Natynczyk acknowledged that COVID-19 delayed the outlay of the Veterans Survivors Fund, but the fund was announced a full year before the pandemic hit.