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Veterans benefits bill may die with Harper government

Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 in Health, Retirement | 0 comments

The Canadian Press

Date: Thursday Mar. 24, 2011 6:46 AM ET

OTTAWA = — Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn implored senators Wednesday night to let an improved package of benefits for former soldiers pass into law before the federal government goes down to defeat.

The legislation, which provides more cash and support to the most seriously wounded veterans, was passed last week by the House of Commons and is now before the Senate, where it faces the prospect of dying with other legislation if Parliament is dissolved as expected on Friday.

Blackburn said it will take at least one year before another bill could be passed by a new House of Commons and many veterans can’t wait that long.

“We do not have any more time for any more games,” Blackburn said. “We are at the last minute. If they get unanimous consent they can do a lot of things quickly.”

Earlier in the week, the Liberal senators refused to give the bill speedy passage, something that startled Blackburn because it passed the Commons with the support of all parties.

The Senate defence committee conducted a clause-by-clause review of the legislation Wednesday.

The bill expands eligibility for monthly allowances and introduces an additional $1,000 monthly supplement to help the most seriously wounded, who are unable to return to work. It is supported by a number of veterans groups, but there are still critics. READ MORE

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