Aaron Bedard is one of the plaintiffs in the Equitas Society’s class-action lawsuit. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

VIDEO: Canadian veterans fight to reinstate lifelong pensions

The battle has gone all the way to the Supreme Court

Burnaby’s Central Park was packed with people on Sunday morning, all there with one goal: to bring back lifelong pensions for veterans.

Hundreds of people had come out for the Equitas Society’s inaugural Walk for Veterans.

Since its formation in 2012, the South Surrey-White Rock based group has been advocating for the cause through a class-action lawsuit against the federal government.

WATCH: The fight for lifelong pensions

The Pension Act, which guaranteed lifelong pensions for veterans, was replaced by the New Veterans Charter in 2006.

“It replaced [lifelong pensions] with lump sum payments that ended up being disproportionally lower,” said society president Marc Burchell.

Burchell said that although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a pledge to reinstate the lifelong pensions during the 2015 federal election campaign, the lack of action has left veterans feeling betrayed.

“He has failed to keep that promise,” said Burchell.

Currently, the Canadian government is fighting the lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court of Appeal. If Ottawa fails to get the result it wants, it must take the case to the country’s top court.

The lawsuit has six plaintiffs, including Coquitlam veteran Aaron Bedard.

Bedard served with the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan as part of the first combat tour of Kandahar. He served for 10 years, from 2002-2010, despite a serious injury from going over an anti-tank mine just three months in.

“I hid my injuries and carried on with a traumatic brain injury and damage to my spine,” said Bedard. He returned to Canada in 2007 and was sent from doctor to doctor, but received little help.

“I started developing post-traumatic stress disorder.”

It took three years before he was released from service but according to Bedard, much of the fight remained ahead.

“Dealing with Veterans Affairs Canada was immediately adversarial,” said Bedard. He learned that he would only be getting a lump sum, which in 2010 was only $250,000.

It’s a common thread, said Burchell, that’s not helped by what he calls Veteran Affairs’ “culture of denial.”

“These men and women come back from Afghanistan and a lot of them are suffering from PTSD,” said Burchell. “They’ve been fighting [for pensions] but it’s hard for them to fight when they’re suffering from this disability.”

To learn more about the Equitas Society, visit their website.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Vancouver veteran Bob Chown came out to support the Equitas Society in Burnaby on Sunday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Just Posted

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Vehicle found “burnt to a crisp” off of Hwy 5

Update from Clearwater RCMP detachment

One day, your way

Information about this year’s Terry Fox (virtual) Run

Two residents remember fundraising for Terry Fox

This year marks 40 years since Terry Fox first embarked from St.… Continue reading

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read