Veterans plan protest on D-Day anniversary
Former soldiers worry about low benefits after their service
Canadian soldiers and veterans are planning a rally today on Parliament Hill — the 68th anniversary of the D-Day invasion — to mark what they say is the low standard of benefits for veterans of recent wars.
The Canadian Veterans Advocacy group said it wants to honour the soldiers who fought on the beaches of Normandy, France, and began the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
But the group's head, Michael Blais, also said it wants to draw the public's attention to how differently veterans are treated now.
"We wanted to highlight the significance of D-Day, and highlight the significance of the manner that this nation once treated its veterans and compare against the veterans who are covered against the new veterans charter," said Blais.
Ombudsman ripped Veterans Affairs
In February, veterans ombudsman Guy Parent said Veterans Affairs Canada's letters to former soldiers who have been denied disability benefits revealed a pattern of providing information, but no adequate explanation of how the decisions were made.
Master Cpl. Jody Mitic, one recent veteran who has concern about his future benefits, was on patrol with his sniper team in Afghanistan in 2007 when he stepped on a mine, resulting in the loss of his feet.
He said he is worried about coverage just as veterans were after the Second World War.
"They were the generation of soldiers that really put the veteran in the spotlight," said Mitic.
"It makes sense we would use their memory to make sure future veterans are just as much in the spotlight as in the past."
In a statement, officials at Veterans Affairs Canada said they place the "highest priority on making sure veterans and their families have the support they need, when they need it and for as long as they need it."