British Columbia

Spousal killers shouldn't get survivor benefits: victim's daughter

A woman in British Columbia whose father killed her mother wants the federal government to plug a loophole that allowed him to collect pension benefits for 28 years until his death.

Susan Fetterkind wants government to plug benefit loophole in spousal murder cases

Killers collect spousal benefits

9 years ago
Duration 2:21
Men convicted of killing their wives collect survivor benefits

A North Delta woman, whose father killed her mother, wants the federal government to plug a loophole that allowed him to collect pension survivor benefits for 28 years until his death.

Susan Fetterkind's mother Vivienne was stabbed multiple times by her estranged husband John Raymond Cotter. Cotter collected Canada Pension Plan benefits until he died last year.

Susan Fetterkind is trying to change the law that allowed her father to collect survivor benefits for 28 years after killing her mother. (CBC)

"He just said well, I must be entitled to it because they're sending it to me," said Fetterkind.

When B.C. school teacher Manjit Panghali was killed by her husband almost eight years ago, it wasn't unusual.

Spousal murders are not uncommon. In Canada they account for the largest proportion of family-related homicides.

Fetterkind says the law should be changed.

"The government is enabling killers to profit from murdering their spouse. You're not supposed to be able to profit from murdering somebody."

Susan Fetterkind's mom Vivienne was killed nearly 30 years ago by her estranged husband who collected survivor pension benefits for 28 years until his death. (Susan Fetterkind)

Three years ago an NDP MP introduced a private member's bill aimed at plugging the loophole. It got first reading but didn't go any further.

Now, a Conservative backbencher, Dave Van Kesteren has tabled essentially the same bill hoping this time it'll lead to change.

But Fetterkind says the bill doesn't go far enough.

"His bill mentions first and second degree murder but it doesn't mention manslaughter. My father did a plea bargain and he was convicted of manslaughter."

A private member's bill rarely gains approval. This bill is scheduled for second reading on Monday morning.

With files from the CBC's Belle Puri


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