ABOVE: Canadian Forces veterans slam Julian Fantino and the Conservative government for breaking the “sacred obligation” to care for injured and wounded soldiers
OTTAWA – A veterans group says there’s a major disconnect between what the Harper government is saying in court about its obligation to ex-soldiers and reassurances from Veterans Minister Julian Fantino.
Canadian Veterans Advocacy says a decades-old commitment to care for those who served, particularly wounded soldiers, has been abandoned by the Conservatives as they prepare to commemorate the sacrifices of war in Afghanistan.
Federal lawyers fighting a class-action lawsuit by Afghan veterans argue the government has no special legal obligation to soldiers, and that decisions about their entitlements are matter of policy and subject to revision.
Fantino has publicly stated that the government believes it does have a responsibility to service members, who are legally bound to give up their lives for the country.
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Mike Blais, president of the advocacy group, says that while the Conservatives say they have an obligation, their actions go in the opposition direction.
He says until Fantino or other ministers instruct federal lawyers to change their defence – or settle the lawsuit – the government’s stand is a sham.