All posts in category C4A Editorial

Dangerous Déjà Vu for Veterans: Send the Omnibus Plate Back to the Chef

Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole

Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole (Hill Times photo)

 

Sean Bruyea

In a bizarre and never-ending déjà vu, government is ramming through Parliament the fourth piece of veterans’ legislation in a decade. It is plainly bad legislation swallowed inside yet another budget omnibus bill.

The proposed veterans’ programs are joined by a torrent of feel-good political announcements. Does the hype match reality? Do the programs fill the identified gaps and address the evidence-based recommendations?

No and no. The proposed veterans’ legislation should be sent back to the kitchen until what was ordered by veterans is finally served after 10 years of painful hunger.

Retirement Income Security Benefit

A new Retirement Income Security Benefit claims it will top up to 70% of what the veteran received from government prior to age 65. However this is based upon the veteran’s income loss benefit which already reduces military salary to 75%. This income loss benefit is inadequately adjusted for inflation to a maximum of 2% since military release from 1953 onwards. In the past twenty years, inflation has been above 2% nine of those years. Seventeen of the previous 20 years were above 2%.
For example, veterans released in 1996 have had their earnings loss benefit increased by approximately 30% while military salaries have increased 80%.… Read the rest

Harper’s Man Friday

Ian Bron and Allan Cutler

Last week, the government announced that Stephen Harper had appointed a new Integrity Commissioner, Joe Friday, who has been with the office since 2008 and was the last Commissioner’s Deputy. This was not a surprise to us, but it is a disappointment. It is also a slap in the face of conscientious public servants looking for a safe place to report misconduct. They, as well as the Canadian public have a right to expect an aggressive, thorough, and competent Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (OPSIC).

Friday served under both previous Commissioners, Christiane Ouimet and Mario Dion. Ouimet’s tenure was an unmitigated disaster. Just three and a half years into her tenure, she resigned in the face of a damning report from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) that concluded she had been engaging in the very kinds of acts she was supposed to be preventing – harassment and reprisals against staff believed to be speaking out about abuse and mismanagement in her office. She left with her pension intact and a $500,000 lump sum. When called before Committee in 2010, Friday denied seeing anything wrong: “Madame Ouimet was carrying that out in her role as commissioner, which would be appropriate.… Read the rest

Unidentified Remains: An Update

Bruce Ricketts

On this blog in April 2014 I discussed a case of a set of Unidentified Remains recovered by the Niagara Regional Police in 1998. In the entry I told of the unusual lengths that the Ontario Coroner and the Niagara Police were going to not release any information on the case. I specifically mentioned a pending DNA analysis which was to be done on the remains so we could compare this to a missing persons (MP) case. Well the fun continues on this case. Here is a bit of an update.

The family of the MP were told by police that the DNA profile had been done by the Coroner but when I met with the Coroner face to face (it took a complaint to the Ontario Ombudsman to get that meeting) I was told that the analysis had NOT been done. Why not? I asked. Apparently the Niagara Police could not find the evidence; including the bones. It was stated that the box in which the evidence was contained had been moved during a renovation sometime in the past 18 years and was only recently found and turned over to the Coroner. While the DNA profile had not be done at the time of the meeting, the Coroner was able to give tell me their description of the evidence and lo and behold, their description did not match that of the Niagara Police from back in 1998.… Read the rest