Liberals to promise lifelong pensions for injured veterans, other benefits
The Liberal Party will announce key promises for Canada’s veterans on Monday, including lifelong pensions for injured vets and tens of millions of dollars in expanded benefits, CTV News has learned.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will announce that, if elected, his party will re-establish lifetime pensions, as well as increase the value of the disability award for injured veterans.
It’s the first time veterans issues will take centre stage during the election campaign, now in its fourth week.
Trudeau will also pledge to reopen nine regional Veterans Affairs offices closed due to budget cuts and fully implement all of the Auditor General’s recommendations on improving mental health services for veterans.
The Liberals will also promise to:
- invest $25 million to expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance;
- invest $40 million to increase the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 percent of pre-release salary;
- invest $80 million per year to create a new Veterans Education Benefit that provides full support for the cost of up to four years of college, university, or technical education;
- increase the veteran survivor’s pension amount from 50 percent to 70 percent;
- double funding to the Last Post Fund to ensure that veterans receive a dignified burial;
- hire 400 new service delivery staff, including new case managers at Veterans Affairs; and
- budget $20 million to create two new centres of excellence in veterans’ care.
The Liberals are targeting a key demographic – disgruntled veterans unhappy with how they have been treated by the Conservative government.
One veterans group opposed to the Harper government said last week it’s planning to regularly picket campaign events, post lawn signs and use social media in its “Anyone But Conservatives” campaign.
The Conservative government has pledged to improve mental health services for former soldiers while defending its approach to veterans’ issues.
Earlier this month, the Tories also promised to improve the earnings loss benefit for veterans with service-related injuries or disabilities.
In March, the Conservative government unveiled two new initiatives for veterans and their families, including the creation of a new benefit for caregivers of severely ill or injured servicemen and women.