Saturday, June 20, 2009


I find it hard to imagine why the federal government would claw back a disability pension granted to a Canadian injured while serving his country once they are discharged from the military.

Apparently, I'm not the only one. And apparently some of those veterans affected have had enough.
A former soldier who returned his military medals in protest to the Governor General will get a chance to argue for his class-action lawsuit in the country’s highest court.

The Supreme Court of Canada said Thursday it will hear Dennis Manuge’s case.

Manuge, of Porters Lake, and a handful of other veterans recently sent their Canadian Forces Peacekeeping Service Medals and NATO Service Medals to Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, the commander-in-chief, to protest the treatment of wounded soldiers.

He described the decision as "outstanding news for disabled vets."

A military mechanic injured at the Canadian Forces base in Petawawa, Ont., Manuge had $10,000 of his disability pension clawed back by the federal government after he left the military.

Both a military ombudsman and a Senate committee which investigated the case found the claw back to be "profoundly unfair." And although a private-member’s bill tabled to rectify the claim was approved by the House of Commons, apparently that wasn't good enough for the Conservative government, which refused to recognize it.

Now that same government is fighting the class action suit every step of the way, having successfully appealed the certification of the lawsuit. Which point will now be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada.

You have to wonder (or at least I do) why and how a government who repeatedly states how much it appreciates and values the "bravery and dedication of the exceptional men and women of the Canadian Forces" could act this way.

Or perhaps they only truly appreciate the service of those who have "made the ultimate sacrifice". Seeing as how it's cheaper for the government coffers that way.


Anonymous said...

Was Manuge successful?

MMC said...

Court cases are notorious for taking a ridiculously long time to work their through the system - especially when you are stuck on a procedural point at this level (Supreme Court of Canada).

As near as I can tell, although the case was heard, the SCC still hasn't rendered a judgment. When it does, that judgment will only decide whether or not the matter can proceed as a class action. So it will no doubt be a very long time before the case will ever be decided on its merits.

Which no doubt makes the federal government very, very happy.