Many veterans get no help from Ottawa

Retired general takes issue with government claims in Speech from the Throne.

Editor: Having watched and read the Speech from the Throne in Ottawa delivered by the Queen’s representative, I am appalled at the misinformation given to Canadians about Canada’s commitments to veterans.

To have the Queen’s representative state that the government provides a dignified funeral to veterans is a falsehood, in part.

What I think the representative meant to say is that the funeral and burial program, which extends a dignified funeral to veterans of the Second World War and Korean War who are financially challenged at the time of death, continues. The statement in the Speech from the Throne, which is not filled with facts, is misleading to Canadians.

With few exceptions, modern day veterans (those who served after the Korean War) remain ineligible for the federal government program. The source of funds to bury those veterans who are financially challenged at time of death is charity — not the government, and contrary to what the Speech from the Throne states.

Readers should know that charity has enabled 23 veterans to be buried at a cost of $90,000 through donations to the Last Post Fund. These burials were not funded by the federal government.

Why is that so, when the Speech from the Throne says otherwise?

How will you remember, during this annual time of remembrance? Will you recall the false statement in the Speech from the Throne? Or will you recall government’s failure to support veterans?

I will salute all who have served Canada, and with profound shame, I will recall how the government has failed to support many veterans, despite pleas from all veterans’ groups for more than a decade.

I ask your readers to give donations to the Last Post Fund, to fulfill a government and nation’s promise — that we support veterans.

In order to make a donation, they can call toll-free at 1 (800) 465-7113.

Lieut.-Gen. L.W.F. Cuppens (Ret’d),

Nauwigewauk, New Brunswick