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.

 

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

Just Posted

$100,000 worth of helicopter parts stolen in Port Hardy

Anyone with information is asked to call Port Hardy RCMP at (250)-949-6335.

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

10 tonnes of plastic cleared from North Coast beaches

Living Oceans Society spent three days sorting the marine debris

Court orders protestors to leave fish farm site

“The adjournment allows us to compile our evidence and present it in 30 days.”

NISS Students find out what journalism is all about

Four students visit the Gazette for a work experience

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Naked man arrested in Nanaimo, provided with pants

Suspect arrested for causing disturbance Nov. 13 near Bowen and Northfield roads

Most Read