Injured soldiers attempt class action over benefits
Six injured in Afghanistan are seeking improved benefits for all Canadian soldiers
Six soldiers disabled from injuries sustained in Afghanistan were in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday morning to attempt to launch a class action lawsuit against the federal government over veterans benefits.
Daniel Scott, one of four B.C. men involved in the six-person suit, lost a kidney, his spleen and part of his pancreas after he was hit by an explosion in Afghanistan.
Veterans Affairs awarded him a lump-sum payment of $41,000 for the injuries. His father, Jim Scott, says the amount is an insult.
"Basically, what the government is doing is liquidating their liability by saying, 'We took care of you. We gave you a training course. We gave you some money. Now go away,'" Scott told CBC News.
Scott says the goal of the class action suit is to improve benefits for all soldiers injured and disabled in Canadian military actions.
He says the proceedings that begin Wednesday are "big" as they will force the government to start responding to the claims.
"It's big in a sense that this is where the government's making it's big move to have it shut down," he said.
The statement of claim, filed in October in B.C. Supreme Court, alleges the government violated the constitutional rights of the soldiers by discriminating against disabled people financially.
It also alleged that by passing the New Veterans Charter, the government failed in its fiduciary duty to support veterans, and that it broke the constitutional principle of the honour of the Crown, by failing to keep the social promises Canada made to soldiers it sends into combat.
The six soldiers call the action a David versus Goliath case, but are hopeful that the action will be certified and that many other injured soldiers will join them.
With files from the CBC's Chad Pawson