A 96-year-old veteran has received authorization to launch a class action lawsuit against both the federal and provincial governments for failing to uphold the level of care that was promised when the Ste-Anne’s Hospital was transferred to provincial jurisdiction close to three years ago.
“I look forward to a very successful outcome,” said Second World War veteran Wolf William Solkin. “It will take time of which we don’t have very much left but there are other veterans, there are also the families.”
Solkin is spearheading the case against the Canadian and Quebec governments as well as the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.
Watch below: EXCLUSIVE: Family claims veteran received inadequate care at Ste. Anne’s Hospital
He claims despite a signed transfer agreement between both levels of government, the level of care took a dramatic drop after April, 2016.
“We feel that the promises that were made to us both verbally and in writing have been breached,” Solkin told Global News.
Quebec’s superior court had agreed to give him an accelerated hearing, considering the average age of veterans covered under the claim is 93.
Many potential class members have passed away since the transfer.
“We’re here to fight for him, for his honour,” Kathy Duke said of her father, D-Day veteran Gordon Duke. She was his main caregiver and saw the deterioration in care first hand.
“He was there for almost six years and it was almost to the day they transferred that the services got really bad,” Duke said.
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Younger veterans were also on hand to show support, including one woman who drove from Ottawa.
“Mr. Solkin is a real inspiration,” said retired veteran Jill Greenwood. “It’s an emotional day too because you don’t want to see a 96-year-old War World II veteran fighting for standards of care for veterans.”
“I feel just ashamed that he has to be here today to fight for his rights at 96 years-old,” said veteran Martin Fréchette.
The goal, according to the plaintiff’s legal team, is to essentially restore services to what they were prior to the transfer and to compensate veterans and their families for damages.
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“It’s basically asking that the governments that are involved respect the agreement that they made, which was made for the benefit and goodness of the veterans,” lawyer Larry Kanemy said.
According to the claim, there were 300 veterans living at the Ste-Anne’s Hospital at the time of the transfer. In September, that number had dropped to 156.
Lawyers for the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal promise to provide an updated list within the next 30 days.
“I would like to see the day when our proper level of care is restored along with our dignity as veterans and Canadians,” Solkin said.