Hon. Kevin Sorenson, M.P., (Battle River-Crowfoot)
Canada’s Conservative have always and will always support our men and women in uniform. Like all Canadians, we will forever be grateful for their service to our nation.
In mid-February, we used one of our Opposition Days in the House of Commons to demand that the Prime Minister apologize to veterans for the insensitive comments he made at a town hall. And, we called on the Prime Minister to fulfill the campaign promise that he made, that “no veteran will be forced to fight their own government for the support and compensation they have earned.”
Our demand was prompted by an unacceptable response the Prime Minister gave to retired Corporal Brock Blaszczyk’s on February 1st, 2018 in Edmonton. The veteran who was injured and lost a leg in an explosion after serving less than a year in Afghanistan, attended the town hall with no expectation of questioning the Prime Minister. However, when given the opportunity he rose to ask about potential changes to disability pensions but not before saying, “I was prepared to be killed in action. What I wasn’t prepared for, Mr. Prime Minister, is Canada turning its back on me.”
Trudeau first responded by explaining how the Liberals were investing in programs to help veterans. He then went on to answer the very pointed question, “Why are we still fighting against certain veteran’s groups in court? Because they are asking for more than we are able to give right now.” As expected, his response met with loud boos and disdain.
Stories and comments abound for many weeks after this horrific response. The most notable comparison being made to the Liberal government having had no problem finding and giving $10.5 million to pay off convicted terrorist Omar Khadr. Other contrasts have been made to the $500 million given to an infrastructure bank in China and in recent days, to the sprinkling of millions under Budget 2018 to everything and everyone but veterans.
Liberal Members of Parliament voted against our motion and as a result, no formal apology has been issued to retired Corporal Blaszczk and a group of injured veterans who launched the Equitas lawsuit out of Vancouver in 2012 continue to plot their next move in fighting the Trudeau government.
In 2014, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled there was enough merit to the veterans’ claim they were unfairly treated under a 2006 overhaul of government compensation to those hurt in the line of duty. Their main complaint was about the replacing of lifelong disability pensions with lump-sum payments. In early December 2017, the B.C. Court of Appeal struck down the claim.
In the 2015 federal election, Trudeau campaigned with Equitas members promising to reinstate the lifelong pensions. Yet, the fight continues and another broken promise is made.