The Canadian Veterans Advocacy urges the Harper Government to accept the Nova Scotia Supreme Court's ruling and to end the unjust claw back on Veterans' disability benefits.
Only hours after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court released its ruling on the SISIP LTD claw back class action law suit - a ruling in favor of disabled veterans - the Canadian Veterans Advocacy is encouraging all concerned Canadians to write to the Minister of National Defense, Peter MacKay, and the Minister of Justice, Robert Nicholson, to ask them to accept today's ruling and to not appeal the decision.
"We need every patriotic Canadian who believes in supporting our disabled veterans to contact Minister MacKay and Minister Nicholson," said Michael Blais, President and Founder of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy. "Disabled vets have achieved a great victory with this fair court ruling. Don't let the Government of Canada waste any more tax payers' dollars trying to reverse it."
After decades of systematic claw backs on income replacement to which disabled veterans were entitled, today the more than 4500 affected veterans received a decision confirming what they always believed to be true: the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has stated that the Pension Act disability award - an award for pain and suffering - must not be considered income and the income replacement benefits to which these veterans have been entitled through SISIP must not be reduced by the amount awarded under the Pension Act. This claw back has been placing the most significantly disabled veterans at a financial disadvantage for decades, and now the courts have made it clear that this claw back is wrong and unfair.
As the ruling states:
The practical consequence of the claimed offset is to substantially reduce or to extinguish the LTD coverage promised to members of the Class by the SISIP Policy with particularly harsh effect on the most seriously disabled CF members who have been released from active service. That is an outcome that could not reasonably have been intended and I reject it unreservedly.
Having determined that the Defendant's offset of Pension Act disability benefits from LTD income payable under the SISIP Policy is not contractually justified, it is unnecessary to consider the second issue raised by the parties. A further case-management meeting with counsel will be convened to discuss the implications of this decision for the continuation of the proceeding.
THIS COURT ORDERS that the Defendant's offset of Pension Act disability benefits from the SISIP LTD income payable to the Plaintiff and to the other members of the Class is in breach of Article 24(a)(iv) of the SISIP policy.
Today during Question Period Peter MacKay, the Minister of National Defense, said the government needed to review the decision before deciding whether or not to appeal. "...this decision has just been rendered today... The Department of Justice and the Department of National Defense will review this case. Until such time it would be inappropriate to comment further."
The Canadian Veterans Advocacy encourages all veterans and patriots to voice their support for today's positive decision and e-mail, write, telephone or speak in person to Minister MacKay and Minister Nicholson so these Ministers will know that Canadian citizens do not want this decision to be appealed. Canadians want the Government of Canada to live up to the sacred obligation it has to those who have served, and most importantly, to those who have suffered the mental and physical consequences of their service.
"Sometimes, it takes more than just wearing a red t-shirt on Friday or sticking a yellow ribbon on your car to SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!" entreated Mr. Blais. "Sometimes, saying prayers for those who serve in Harm's Way is just not enough. Canadians must be inspired to do something significant if they are to support those who have sacrificed greatly in Canada's name."
Mr. Blais asks everyone to email the Minister of National Defense, Peter MacKay, and the Minister of Justice, Robert Nicholson, (and himself for info purposes only), and simply ask them to NOT APPEAL the Nova Scotia Supreme Court SISIP ruling and to respect the language of the SISIP contract, the proper interpretation of the Policy and the spirit of the agreement between the insurer (the Chief of Defense Staff/SISIP) and the insured (the CF member/veteran).
To facilitate communications with the Ministers their addresses are as follows:
Minister of National Defense Peter MacKay
509s Center Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson
515-S Center Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Mr. Michael L. Blais, CD
President and Founder
Canadians Veterans Advocacy
6618 Harper Drive
Niagara Falls, ON L2E 7K6
tel: 905-357-3306; 905-359-9247
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