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Local veterans not speaking out about Ottawa protest

By Joseph Carin [1]

BELLEVILLE – Local veterans and officials with the local Legions will not speak publicly about a protest fighting to improve compensation and benefits planned for Feb. 15 on Parliament Hill.

Yet, privately, they have a lot to say.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 110 in Trenton and Belleville Royal Canadian Legion Branch 99 declined to comment on the subject when contacted by QNetNews. However, individual members of the Belleville branch have expressed concern for the quality of veteran services in the country but would not allow their names to be used.

“We don’t want to speak against the country we served,” said Trenton branch president Manny Raspberry.

Last December, the Liberal government launched a $3.5 billion overhaul of veteran benefits and reworked the compensation system which supports ex-soldiers. Currently, the government pays veterans $360,000 as the maximum lump sum, or a life long monthly pension of a maximum of $1,150.

One individual said in an interview held in the Legion Tuesday the compensation given is a monetary award system based off a case by case scenario often only giving larger amounts to more critical cases. Another individual talked about how the money being given by the government seems like a band-aid to the situation pointing towards the growing homeless veteran population.

According to Veteran Affairs there has been an increase of homeless veterans across the country. In January 2015 there were a total of 475 within the government radar eventually growing to 770 by September 2017.

[2]

Canada saw an increase of 295 homeless veterans from 2015 to 2017. As of September, there are currently 770 homeless veterans under the government’s radar. Graphic by Joseph Carin, QNet News.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan stated that not everyone will receive the same level of compensation. He also said the government is also committed to providing improved rehabilitative services to get able veterans back to work.

The rally is planned for 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Parliament Hill on Thursday.