A bill to repeal a century-old clause that prevents veterans’ spouses from receiving survivor pensions if they married after the age of 60 was introduced in the House of Commons on Dec. 16.
North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney, who is the NDP’s critic for veterans affairs tabled Private Member’s Bill C-221, which would eliminate the ‘golddigger clause’ for veterans that made spouses who married veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP after the age of 60 ineligible to receive survivor pensions.
Blaney said the bill would ensure veterans “who find love when they are older will know that their spouse will be taken care of just like any other married couple.”
“This clause is archaic, sexist and it must be eliminated,” she said in the House as she introduced the bill. “It was created in the early 1900s. It was sexist then, and it’s ridiculous that it’s in place today.”
The bill would amend a number of acts to allow for the change, and would affect veterans, as well as RCMP veterans and federal public servants who marry after they turn 60.
“People are living a lot longer today than they did in the twentieth century when this law was created,” Blaney said. “Canada should not be punishing veterans, pushing them into poverty before they die, simply for finding love when they are moving into their senior years.”
Repealing the clause was a Liberal promise in 2015, but it has not been acted upon. In 2019, the Veterans Survivor Fund was created, but according to Blaney’s press release it has “yet to benefit a single veteran or their survivors.”
Blaney told the Mirror she would be working on this issue back in October.
The bill was seconded by Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison.