Moral obligation

In a country like Canada, espousing what Canadians espouse, it shouldn’t have come to a legal ruling.

It’s been observed that a measure of legality is not the same thing as a measure of morality.

A recent decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal of the class-action lawsuit against the government on behalf of disabled Canadian veterans – championed by the White Rock-based Equitas Society – is likely on the same basis as the BC Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the same case last December. Namely, that courts can only enforce actual legislation.

That’s a triumph of legalese, and, no doubt, considered a victory by Department of Justice lawyers who have been arguing that Canada owes “no duty of care” to its disabled veterans.

But is it a victory for Canada, and for the young men and women – often sacrificing life and limb – who have served their country selflessly for generations? Can any of us look in a mirror and truly say we owe those injured in the service of our country’s democratic ideals no duty of care? There was no doubt for politicians in the aftermath of the bloodbath of the First World War that we owed disabled veterans something. That’s when the Pension Act was brought into law, providing disability pensions for veterans for close to nine decades afterwards.

Then, in 2005, the Martin government introduced the New Veterans Charter – embraced by the Harper government the next year – replacing pensions with lump-sum payments. If it was supposed to be a new deal for veterans, it was a bad one – something that is hard not to see as a cost-cutting measure instituted by our leaders comfortably remote from combat zones.

During the 2015 election campaign, current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the pensions ought to be reinstated. The same year, the House of Commons unanimously endorsed a resolution calling on the government to establish a “moral covenant” to provide compensation and support services to disabled veterans.

But these were words, not laws.

Equitas vows to continue the battle to establish a duty of care and reinstate disabled veterans pensions. Perhaps, in time, they will sway public opinion to such an extent that politicians can no longer retreat behind legal excuses.

Just Posted

Campbell River Storm blow away Glacier Kings on the road

Team remains well in the lead league-wide and a whopping 23 points up on Nanaimo in the division

Regional Housing Strategy continues to move forward, but there won’t be a ‘magic bullet’

Statistics and survey responses paint dreary picture in terms of Campbell River housing needs

BC Aquatic Food Resources Society supports North Island College

Students can apply now for tuition credit for aquaculture tech diploma

‘I’m very, very lucky to be doing what I do’

Photographer Boomer Jerritt brings Antarctica to Timberline Theatre Jan. 29

Campbell River school board adopts new indemnification bylaw

The board for School District 72 has passed a bylaw offering legal… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Vancouver Island to get its first publicly funded dementia village

Campus planned for Comox encourages independent activity, freedom to move

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Most Read