A ‘householder’ newsletter from Conservative MP Russ Hiebert last week outlining his government’s support for military veterans is being vehemently protested by South Surrey-based Equitas Disabled Soldiers Funding Society and political foes in the riding.
Jim Scott, president of the society – which is paying for an application for a class-action suit before the BC Supreme Court on behalf of financially distressed disabled veterans – said Hiebert’s communication is “very, very disingenuous.”
Scott, a former president of Hiebert’s riding association, said it cites benefits that would go only to the most severely disabled veterans “as if they apply across the board” – while making no mention of studies that show veterans’ benefits will drop substantially at age 65.
In a release, Liberal riding president Penny Essex termed the newsletter a “calculated misuse of facts.”
But Hiebert denies there was anything misleading in his newsletter.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I stand by the content… It is completely accurate. It was a short communications piece, but I provided the link (to the Veterans Affairs website) if anybody wanted to find out more details.”
Equitas also took exception to the newsletter using a 2009 quote from NDP Veteran Affairs critic Peter Stouffer that compared Canada’s overall treatment of veterans favourably with that in other countries.
Stouffer told Peace Arch News Monday that the quote, while accurate, was taken out of context and that he “absolutely” supports Equitas’ position that disproportionately low settlements under the New Veterans Charter must be corrected.
Hiebert said he doesn’t think subsequent statements by Stouffer affect the validity of the quote.
“It doesn’t really matter – he’s already said our care provided to veterans is right at the top,” he said.