POLITICS

Veterans Charter: Ombudsman's Report Suggests Gaps In System

09/30/2013 05:08 EDT | Updated 11/30/2013 05:12 EST
CP
OTTAWA - Political pressure is mounting on the Harper government to close gaps in its long-championed veterans legislation.

New Democrats say leaked details of an upcoming veterans ombudsman's report show extensive problems with the system, which is supposed to compensate and care for former soldiers who sustained injuries overseas.

The ombudsman's office carried out a detailed comparison of benefits and entitlements under the charter and the old pension-for-life system, which had been used since the end of the First World War.

The report found that hundreds of the most severely disabled soldiers will take a financial hit after they turn 65 when some charter benefits end.

The Conservatives overhauled the charter in 2011 amid complaints that it was not as generous as the old system. Those enhancements, which included more money to replace lost income, will be reviewed by a parliamentary committee this fall.

But the NDP's defence critic, Jack Harris, says the concerns and gaps regarding elderly veterans and lump-sum compensation payments have been around for years and the government had the chance to deal with it two years ago.

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