20 October 2010
by Patricia Varga
Ottawa – A resolution passed at the Dominion Convention of The Royal Canadian Legion in Winnipeg this summer in which our delegates demanded immediate action by Veterans Affairs Canada on the rates payable for funeral and burial expenses. They should be brought in line with the customary fees for these services, or at least to the level established for the Canadian Forces. We have been advocating for this since 2004.
In 2006 we requested action be taken and again in 2008. Nothing was done. In September, 2009, the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman submitted a report to the government entitled “Serve with Honour, Depart with Dignity” which was consistent with our advocacy on this issue. Again nothing has happened.
The Royal Canadian Legion is extremely concerned that this very important issue is being swept under the rug, as it has been in the past. It would require a very small amount of funds and a willingness to address the issue. It is a chance to honour those who have served now, and a progressive review of the systems would allow the same honour to be paid to those who will serve in the future.
After six years of waiting on a decision, with regards to the payments made, it is time that the Veterans Affairs Canada made up its mind as to whether it will increase these payments substantially or not. Will we let our veterans die knowing that they could go to a pauper’s grave? One would hope not.
Now is the time for action not words.
Patricia Varga is the Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion. A black and white picture of the Dominion President is available at www.legion.ca/PVarga.jpg .
For further information please contact Bruce Poulin at Dominion Command, The Royal Canadian Legion, at (613) 591-3335 ext. 241 or by cell at (613) 292-8760.
BACK TO INDEX OF HEADLINES