OTTAWA– The Conservative government must treat Canadian veterans and their families with the respect they deserve and immediately increase funding to the Last Post Fund, said Liberals today.
“Not only have the Harper Conservatives cut funding to the Last Post Fund, which offers assistance for veterans’ funeral and burial costs, but they have outright denied 66% of requests,” said Liberal MP for Random–Burin–St. George’s Judy Foote. “This is no way to treat the courageous men and women who have fought and sacrificed so much for our country. That is why I am introducing a Private Member’s Motion, supported by the Royal Canadian Legion, calling on the government to increase funding and access to this fund.”
Ms. Foote’s motion follows pleas from the Veterans Ombudsman, the Royal Canadian Legion and advice from Veterans Affairs officials requesting the expansion of the Fund’s financial support for veterans and their families. The motion particularly calls on the government to re-evaluate the current burial assistance cap of $3,600 to bring it in line with the assistance provided to serving Canadian Forces members.
“It is unacceptable that the Conservatives are forcing the families of our brave veterans to pay thousands for funerals while millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted commemorating the War of 1812,” said Liberal Veterans Affairs critic Sean Casey. “This is a question of fairness and providing proper support to our vets. We hope all parties will immediately adopt this motion.”
Ms. Foote’s Private Member’s Motion is as follows:
That, in the opinion of the House, the Last Post Fund is currently underfunded and excludes deserving veterans causing unnecessary stress and hardship to families of veterans, and that the House call on the government to do the following:
a) accept the recommendations of successive Veterans’ Ombudsmen calling for expanding and enhanced financial access to the Last Post Fund;
b) accept the advice from the Royal Canadian Legion made in the years 2008, 2010, and 2012 calling for expanded access and financial support for the Last Post Fund;
c) accept three year old advice from departmental officials to expand and enhance financial access to the Last Post Fund;
d) review the Last Post Fund’s current burial assistance cap of $3,600 with the goal to establish a standard consistent with burial assistance provided to current members of the Canadian Forces;
e) review the “means tested” standard applied to the Last Post Fund that currently excludes many veterans with the goal to improve and lower the qualification standard to access the Fund; and
f) provide stable long term funding to the Last Post Fund with consideration given to establish a financial escalator tied to the Consumer Price Index.