'I'm fighting for dignity,' Afghan veteran says as Fantino backlash grows
Bruce Moncur was severely injured in Afghanistan, but says he's still fighting for a proper pension.
Published Tuesday, December 9, 2014 6:22PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 9, 2014 10:03PM EST
As the opposition continues to demand Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino’s resignation, one young veteran says he became so frustrated with the Conservative government that he decided to run for the New Democrats.
Bruce Moncur, a retired corporal from Windsor, Ont., was shot in the head while on duty in Afghanistan in 2006. He lost five per cent of his brain and faced a long, difficult road to recovery.
For his sacrifice, Moncur, now 30, got a lump sum payment of $22,000. He says he’s still fighting for a proper pension.
“I’m fighting for respect, dignity, honour – all the things you’d expect to come from an agency that is meant to take care of wounded veterans,” he told CTV News.
Even though he supported the Conservatives as a soldier, Moncur announced this fall his intentions to run for the NDP nomination in Windsor-Tecumseh, ahead of the 2015 federal election.
“The way I’ve been treated by my government and by Veterans Affairs since I came home equally contributes to my mental anguish,” he said.
Moncur is one of many veterans – young and old – who have spoken out against Fantino and the way his department has been handling the needs of injured and troubled soldiers.
Veterans and the opposition have slammed Fantino for the closure of Veterans Affairs offices across the country and what they call inadequate benefits and services for vets and their families.
As NDP and Liberal MPs once again called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to “fire” Fantino, the minister defended his record and his department in the House of Commons Tuesday.
Fantino said there are “real” and “meaningful” programs to help veterans and returning soldiers.
“On this side of the house, we deliver to our veterans,” he said during question period.
Harper also stood up to defend veterans’ services, saying his government has increased befits and cut down bureaucracy.
Both Fantino and Harper accused the opposition of voting against veterans’ programs in the past.
Harper also sought to put distance between his government and a class-action lawsuit filed in B.C., which argues that the New Veterans Charter is unconstitutional and discriminatory against today’s veterans.
"It's actually a court case against the previous Liberal policy," Harper said during question period.
"In any case, we have repeatedly enhanced the benefits under that policy to the tune of some $5 billion, opposed every step of the way by the Liberal party, who has voted against all those benefits.
"They can keep voting against those benefits for veterans. We will keep bringing them forward."
With a report from CTV’s Deputy Ottawa Bureau Chief Laurie Graham and files from The Canadian Press