Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

OTTAWA — Jody Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet this week has stoked long-standing frustration, disappointment and anger among Canada’s veterans, who say they have been ignored and betrayed by the Trudeau government.

The Liberals went out of their way during the last federal election to court former service members, as Justin Trudeau promised to improve service delivery and reinstate a lifelong disability pension for veterans after years of Conservative cuts and inaction.

That pension, first introduced after the First World War, was abolished in 2006 with support from all federal parties and replaced by a suite of rehabilitation programs and financial compensation for injured soldiers.

Since then, the Liberals have run through three veterans-affairs ministers in as many years — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould — while making little headway on improving service delivery and breaking their pension promise.

The government has increased some supports and benefits for veterans and unveiled its own so-called Pension for Life program that will roll out in April, but that program has been widely assessed as falling far short of Trudeau’s original pledge.

“Our key concern is there’s been a betrayal of the commitment that the prime minister made in the election of 2015,” said Brian Forbes, chair of the National Council of Veterans Associations, which represents more than 60 veteran groups.

“That is felt very strongly in the veterans’ community.”

The Liberals have also been roundly accused of ignoring the various ministerial advisory groups and other mechanisms established after the 2015 election to solicit feedback from the veterans’ community about its needs and concerns.

All of which had sowed seeds of discontent even before Wilson-Raybould was handed the veterans-affairs portfolio on Jan. 14, taking over from O’Regan in a move widely regarded as a demotion from her previous role as justice minister.

Now, while parliamentarians and Canadians at large wonder about the truth surrounding Wilson-Raybould’s discussions with the prime minister’s office about SNC-Lavalin, many veterans feel they have been forgotten. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has added responsibility for veterans to his duties, but only temporarily.

Wilson-Raybould Affair

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

Just Posted

Samson Cree Nation reeling after 10 year-old-boy-shot, 13-year-old charged with manslaughter

‘Don’t give up, keep praying, we will get through this’

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Aug. 9

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

Team says technical issues from ‘unprecedented demand’ left Oilers raffle in limbo

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers’ record-setting online 50/50 raffle from Friday with… Continue reading

Update: Possible drowning at Pigeon Lake involved man and woman from Edmonton

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

Karyn Keith says she isn’t asking for much. All she wants is… Continue reading

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

OTTAWA — With Gov. Gen. Julie Payette finding herself the focus of… Continue reading

Liberals turn over thousands of pages on WE decision

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has turned over thousands of pages… Continue reading

US hits 5 million confirmed virus cases, Europe is amazed

ROME — With confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hitting 5 million… Continue reading

University of Victoria and women’s rowing coach sued over alleged verbal abuse

VANCOUVER — A former member of the University of Victoria’s varsity women’s… Continue reading

Parents, teachers press Quebec to revise back-to-school plan amid COVID-19

MONTREAL — For Politimi Karounis, August is usually spent buying new backpacks,… Continue reading

Most Read