In Saskatoon earlier this month, Justin Trudeau pledged half a billion dollars for First Nations education. This week in Belleville Ont., Trudeau turned his attention to Canadian veterans making a few more election promises.
“For 10 years, Stephen Harper has been nickel-and-diming our veterans, lacking the respect and the support that Canadians have earned through service to country and that’s something that we have to fix as a priority,” Trudeau said.
With that in mind, Trudeau promised to invest $300 million to bring back lifelong pensions and improve military support services for injured veterans and their families.
Trudeau added if elected on Oct. 19, the Liberal Party would invest $20 million to build two permanent veteran care centres, spend $100 million annually to expand support for families of veterans, including education and counseling. $25 million to expand the Permanent Impairment Allowance for the most seriously wounded. Increase the veteran survivor’s pension amount to 70 per cent from 50 per cent.
For Saskatoon peace-time veteran Cary Tarasoff, the news falls a little flat after years of ongoing battles between veterans and the federal government.
“Between the Liberals and the Conservatives, they created this system it wasn’t like the Liberals didn’t know anything about it; the program was started before the Conservatives took over,” Tarasoff said.
“The Conservatives said they were going to change it but they’ve just made it more vindictive.”
Tarasoff suffered extensive neck and back nerve damage training with the Navy and Canadian Air Force. He said he suffers migraines and headaches to this day and at one point he was heavily medicated.
Bringing back lifelong pensions for injured veterans is the right step forward, according to Tarasoff, because for him, having a monthly check in the mailbox gives him peace of mind. But the major dollar figures thrown around by Trudeau only bring up more questions about how they plan to do accomplish everything at once.
“They can say, ‘listen we want to make things better,’ OK great, show me first how you mean make it better. Just because you say you’re going to reinstate pensions, how are you going to do that?” Tarasoff said. “I don’t believe that, sorry, there’s no way that number to be in realistic.”
– with files from the Canadian Press