Nova Scotia

Norwegian veteran's request for care at Camp Hill officially denied

The family of a 94-year-old Norwegian war veteran says Veterans Affairs Canada has officially rejected his application to receive care at the Camp Hill hospital in Halifax.

Family of Petter Blindheim says they will keep fighting and not give up hope

Norwegian-born Petter Blindheim, 94, has been rejected long-term care by Veterans Affairs Canada. He wants to spend his final days at Camp Hill Veterans' Memorial Hospital in Halifax. (Peter Blendheim)

The family of a 94-year-old Norwegian war veteran says Veterans Affairs Canada has officially rejected his application to receive care at the Camp Hill hospital in Halifax.

Petter Blindheim is a decorated war hero who received six medals while serving with the Royal Norwegian Navy. 

Blindheim's son, Peter Blendheim (Blindheim's wife changed the spelling of their son's name to make it sound more English), says they first applied to have his father admitted to the hospital for veterans more than a year ago.

They've been turned down three times.

"My family will keep fighting, we will not give up hope," Blendheim said in a statement.

Allied veterans in Canada are entitled to benefits under the War Veterans Allowance, but Blindheim was initially turned down for care because he enlisted during the German occupation of Norway during the Second World War, which made Blindheim ineligible for allied veteran status.

Doesn't meet 'special conditions'

The decision was later reversed, but the family was then told he needed to meet "special conditions" to get into Camp Hill. One of the conditions, for example, is if he needed care he could not get in a regular nursing home due to a contagious disease. 

On Monday, the family was told Blindheim did not meet the special conditions and he would not be admitted.

According to Blendheim, the family was told they should be pushing the province to see how quickly their father can get a bed in a community nursing home — which has a wait list of up to two years. Blendheim says Camp Hill currently has 13 empty beds and 16 of its beds are occupied by non-veterans.

Blendheim says his family will keep fighting, but they have been told they are facing another appeal that could take months. 

Blindheim debated in Parliament

In Parliament on Tuesday, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau why care was being denied to Blindheim.

"Can the prime minister explain to us why he's refusing care to this veteran who so richly deserves it, care that he promised to deliver to him," Mulcair said in French.

Trudeau replied that after the previous Conservative government "neglected our veterans" for 10 years, he was "proud to be part of a team that recognizes our solemn obligation to support our veterans, to help them in their difficult times and to show then that we respect their services."

Trudeau said the minister of Veterans Affairs is working with veterans groups to "ensure that we deliver them the services they deserve."

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