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Justin Trudeau and Sacred Obligation

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Re: Justin Trudeau and Sacred Obligation

Post by VVice on Wed 26 Oct 2016, 17:45


Thanks for your support.

Just trying to do right by the Veterans Community. Particularly those who feel forgotten by Canada.


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Re: Justin Trudeau and Sacred Obligation

Post by pinger on Wed 05 Oct 2016, 16:51

Perry... your post is my kool-aid.

Not sure if you mentioned it but to me, it seems any elected federal party seems to fail us as well as Joe Canadian... No matter the party.

Mmm... and btw, Lincoln stole that line from Dylan...
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Justin Trudeau and Sacred Obligation

Post by Guest on Wed 05 Oct 2016, 13:51

Perry Grey
Chief Editor (VVi)

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln

“in politics, perception was everything -- something this latest generation of Liberals seems to have forgotten.” Keith Beardsley, Conservative adviser

“If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, then don’t go to war” Senator Bernie Sanders

“The "but the last government did it" line is getting over used... enough people were unhappy with how the previous government worked to elect a "new" government, so why does the new government feel it is okay to keep doing what the previous one did?

Just because it was done a certain way in the past doesn't mean people feel it should still be done that way... it is 2016 after all!” Anonymous Canadian

Sunny ways my friend....Sunny ways!!!!!! Voted for Change....Got much of the Same!!!!! It must be inherit habit for the federal governments to attack Veterans and Natives!!!!!! It seems that once a politician steps on the hill their moral compass somehow leaves their body!!!!!!! I must admit that the current Federal government as been very long on talk but very short on walk!!!!!!! Anonymous Canadian

Whether at home or abroad, uniformed citizens are vested with great responsibility through the devolution of trust by their government and their fellow citizens. Their values, as indoctrinated to reflect those of our society, must be their first guidance, and it must be reflected in their application of legal norms. (

One Veteran suggested that we can enjoy a variant of the old drinking game by drinking every time that Kent Hehr says mandate. We can also do the same every time the Prime Minister says sacred obligation...or sunny ways.

If you are interested, then you can see all of the times that the Prime Minister said “sacred obligation”:

His use of sacred obligation extends to aboriginal Canadians as well:
"It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation," 8 December 2015

The Prime Minister used the term in his mandate letter to Kent Hehr:
“our government lives up to our sacred obligation to veterans and their families”

He also wrote:
We have promised Canadians a government that will bring real change...I made a personal commitment to bring new leadership and a new tone to Ottawa...also committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government...
How is doing exactly what the previous government did an indication that the Prime Minister is fulfilling his promises?
It will be argued in the near future by lawyers and constitutional experts that the Prime Minister must honour his promises. This is not limited to the Equitas Class Action, instead everything that the Prime Minister promised to Veterans, Aboriginals and other Canadians.

But why do Canadians have to resort to legal options to ensure that its governments honour their promises? We should not have to fight particularly as the governments have deep pockets thanks to our tax dollars! As several journalists observed this is a form of bullying, which should not be tolerated.

So what is a binding promise? I checked Canadian law for a definition:
“a contract is a legally binding promise...a contract legally entered into represents a legal bond between the parties. Parties are free to contract whenever and for whatever reason they wish. The only limits to absolute contractual freedom are certain restrictions imposed by legislation and by accepted ethics.

To be valid and therefore legally binding, 5 conditions must be met:

* First, there must be the mutual consent of both parties. No one can be held to a promise involuntarily made. When consent is given by error, under physical or moral duress, or as a result of fraudulent practises, the contract may be declared null and void at the request of the aggrieved party. In certain types of contractual relationship, the law demands that the consent of the party be both free and informed. This is the case, for instance, with contracts involving medical treatment.

* The second is contractual capacity - the mental ability to keep the promise one has made. A young child, a person suffering from a serious mental disorder and sometimes even a minor are all considered incapable of contracting.

* The third condition is that the contract should have an object or a purpose; it must concern a specific and agreed-upon good or service.

* The fourth condition is "lawful cause" in civil law or a "valuable consideration" in common law. In this area, important technical differences exist between the 2 legal systems. Briefly, however, according to this fourth condition, the promise made must be serious and each obligation assumed by one of the parties must find a corresponding, but not necessarily equivalent or equal, promise made by the other party. A person may thus legally sell goods at a price that does not represent their actual market value. The contract would still be a valid one.

* The fifth condition, which is not required in all cases, is the compliance in certain circumstances to formalities provided by law such as, for instance, a valid written instrument. In general, this condition holds for contracts that may have serious consequences for the parties, or those for which certain measures of publicity are required.


Parties to a valid contract are always bound by law to carry out their promise. Should they fail to, the other party is free to go to court to force them to comply. At times, the court may order the defaulting party to do exactly what he has promised (specified promise). In that respect, civil law provides more readily for the forced execution of promises than common law, for which specific performance is still an exception to the rule.

Courts may also award financial compensation in the form of damages equal in value to the loss suffered and profits lost as a result of the breach of contract, but this loss and profit must be directly related to the nonfulfillment of promise (article 1611 QCC). Furthermore, courts award only damages equivalent to those benefits that the parties might reasonably have expected to receive at the time the agreement was entered into.

Increasingly, provincial and federal legislatures are acting to protect citizens against certain abusive commercial practices.”

I suggest that the last statement be expanded to include abusive political practices such as those committed by every level of government in Canada!

So what is a contract? It is a written or spoken agreement that is intended to be enforceable by law.

If the sacred obligation is not a legal contract, then why should Veterans honour their “unlimited liability” after all most Canadians do everything to avoid such a predicament as stated in car, health, mortgage, income and life insurance policies, and incorporation and employment contracts with the many non-competes, non-disclosures, and other limited clauses. You name it and lawyers will include limitations.

And delete “universality of service” (liable to perform general military duties and common defence and security duties, not just the duties of their military occupation or occupational specification. This may include, but is not limited to, the requirement to be physically fit, employable and deployable for general operational duties) because this also reflects an unfair employment requirement. Canada makes all kinds of exceptions (not withstanding) - cultural, social, religious, physical and mental. Generally, employers are discouraged by law from refusing to hire people for such exceptions.

Not every Veteran is expected to do the most strenuous of duties which represent the principle of “soldier first” as stated in DAOD 5023-0, Universality of Service. So every Veteran should ignore their termination notice while the Prime Minister ignores his “sacred obligation” and other contractual obligations. After all no Canadian is above the law.

One only has to do an Internet search to find the many times that “sacred obligation” has been (ab)used by the Liberal Party. Here are some examples in the last two years:

Liberal Policy Resolution 33 (2015):

BE IT RESOLVED THAT a future Liberal government will uphold the principles of this social covenant in its defence and veterans policies, and will live up to our country’s sacred obligation to care for veterans and their families throughout their lives by allowing them to maintain a quality of life that is worthy of the sacrifices that they have made for Canada
“Upholding the social covenant and sacred obligation with our veterans is something that hits close to home for me. I spent 35 years of my life working and serving alongside our servicemen and women, and I am intimately aware of the very real and dangerous challenges they face on a daily basis. These brave women and men represent the very best of what it means to be Canadian.” Andrew Leslie (retired general and Liberal MP) 25 August 2015

A Liberal government will honour the sacred obligation we have towards Canada’s veterans and their families. Justin Trudeau 23 August 2015 (Facebook)

We have a sacred obligation to our veterans, but @pmharper chose this Minister who made major cuts and closed service centres. Justin Trudeau (Twitter) 11:17 AM - 5 Jan 2015

“live up to our sacred obligation to veterans and end this court battle” Justin Trudeau to Stephen Harper 2015
“Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite well knows, I put forward a mandate letter for our Minister of Veterans Affairs that asked him to respect the sacred obligation we have as a country toward those who serve.” Justin Trudeau April 20, 2016 (House of Commons)

“Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign and in the years leading up to last fall's campaign, the Liberal Party always stood by veterans. It has always been there for them, fighting for their interests. Because of its political objectives and its approach to managing the public service, the previous government was unable to serve our veterans properly.” Justin Trudeau April 20, 2016 (House of Commons)

Why is Trudeau kicking veterans to the curb?
Tasha Kheiriddin iPoltics, May 19, 2016

No, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shouldn’t have lost his cool in the House of Commons the other day. When a vote didn’t proceed fast enough for his liking, Trudeau morphed into a spoiled toddler who wanted his toy RIGHT NOW, rushing the floor, grabbing one opposition MP and elbowing another. Despite the PM’s apologies, it remains a bully moment that cast a shadow over his party’s ‘sunny ways’.

Unfortunately, it’s also overshadowing the far more serious instance of bullying that the Liberals are inflicting on Canadian veterans. This week, the government chose to revive the Harper government’s efforts to shut down a class action lawsuit launched by six war veterans against the federal government.

The vets claimed the Tories were discriminating against combatants in modern-day conflicts, such as Afghanistan, by offering them lump-sum payments, rather than the life-long pensions paid to veterans of older conflicts, such as the Korean War. The issue cost the Conservatives support among veterans’ groups — a traditional base of support — and became a black eye for a government that loved to play up the importance of Canada’s military.

In June 2015 the two sides called a truce, with the government staying the lawsuit to allow the plaintiffs to determine whether further changes to compensation would satisfy their concerns. That truce has now expired, and when the two sides could not reach an out-of-court settlement, the new Liberal government decided to revive the legal argument the previous government was trying to use to scuttle the lawsuit — that the federal government has no ‘sacred covenant’ with veterans.

Which, of course, makes a mockery of the explicit promise in the Liberals’ campaign platform: “We will demonstrate the respect and appreciation for our veterans that Canadians rightly expect, and ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.”

The Liberal platform further stated that the federal government has “a social covenant with all veterans and their families that we must meet with both respect and gratitude.” That echoes a resolution put forward last year by NDP MP Fin Donnelly, and adopted unanimously by all parties: “That Canadians recognize that the federal government has a moral, social, legal and fiduciary obligation to the women and men who courageously serve our country.”

Recognizing this obligation was crucial, because government lawyers had argued in court that “at no time in Canada’s history has any alleged ‘social contract’ or ‘social covenant’ having the attributes pleaded by the plaintiffs been given effect in any statute, regulation or as a constitutional principle written or unwritten.”

Trudeau himself refuted this argument, both inside the House of Commons and on the campaign trail. “For ten years, Stephen Harper draped himself in the Canadian flag, then betrayed the men and women who fought for it,” he said. “Our servicemen and women, who have put their lives on the line for their country, stand for the very best of what it means to be Canadian. We have a social covenant with all veterans and their families — a sacred obligation we must meet with both respect and gratitude.”

The decision to block the lawsuit again has left veterans’ groups in a state of utter shock. “It’s a betrayal,” veterans lawyer Donald Sorochan told CBC News. “They have turned the Liberal election campaign into a lie. I sat at tables (during the campaign) with some of the people who are now in cabinet. Those ministers have been turned into liars by the Department of Justice.”

Why are the Liberals going back on their word? No one — not the prime minister, not the Justice Department, not Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr — is offering an explanation. When questioned about the decision in the House of Commons, Hehr stated he is committed to treating veterans “with care, compassion and respect,” according to CTV News, adding that “Budget 2016 had delivered on a lot of those items, including financial security for many of our most disabled veterans.”

But that’s not what the Liberals promised. They are, in fact, doing the exact opposite of what they promised — forcing veterans to fight for just compensation in a court battle that could drag on for years.

That’s bullying, plain and simple — and Canadians shouldn’t stand for it. Trudeau should reverse the decision to appeal, even if it means another mea culpa on the floor of the House.

Liberals accused of breaking promise to uphold 'sacred obligation' to veterans
CTV News May 20, 2016

The New Democrats and Conservatives are accusing the Liberals of breaking their election promise to uphold a 'sacred obligation to veterans,' after the justice department moved forward with a court case that would give the government the option of denying lifelong pensions to injured soldiers.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair accused the Liberals during daily question period in the House of Commons of "trying to stop (veterans) from getting the benefits they deserve," despite "campaigning on a black-and-white promise to end the Conservative court case against veterans."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded that "veterans who have served this country extraordinarily well deserve more than people trying to play politics on their backs."

"Veterans across this country know that in Budget 2016 we put forward historic measures that will fix the 10 years of neglect," Trudeau added.

Former veterans affairs minister Erin O’Toole -- whose government came to an agreement with the plaintiffs of the lawsuit last June, putting it on hold until this month -- accused Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould Wednesday of "attacking veterans" and allowing a "truce" to "fall apart."

"The prime minister promised to uphold the sacred obligation our country owes to our veterans," O'Toole said, "yet his justice minister has turned her lawyers on veterans."

Quebec Conservative MP Alupa Clarke also accused the Liberals of breaking promises. "The Minister of Veterans Affairs appears two-faced," he said.

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr responded by saying that he is committed to treating veterans "with care, compassion and respect."

"Budget 2016 had delivered on a lot of those items, including financial security for many of our most disabled veterans," the minister added.

Ottawa should fulfil its ‘sacred’ duty to veterans: Editorial
Toronto Star June 14, 2016

Never has there been a crasser distillation of Ottawa’s skewed sense of its moral duty to those who have fought, and been injured, for this country than an argument put forward by government lawyers in 2012. In an effort to block a class-action lawsuit by six injured Afghan war veterans, the attorneys argued that the federal government has no “sacred obligation” to ex-soldiers, that Parliament is in no way constitutionally constrained in its judgment of how much, or how little, compensation they deserve.

The Conservatives continued in this dubious legal fight for years, costing Ottawa some $700,000 in the process, until political circumstances forced them to change tack. In the lead-up to last year’s federal election, beset by critics, the Harper government finally delivered an overdue boost to Ottawa’s grossly inadequate veterans’ benefits.

It even tabled a bill, which eventually passed, recognizing the government’s “sacred obligation” to Canada’s men and women in uniform. The plaintiffs agreed to stay proceedings until May 2016, at which point they would determine whether sufficient progress had been made to drop the action altogether.

When the Liberals won the election, the case appeared destined for amicable settlement. In opposition, Justin Trudeau had called for the government “to live up to our sacred obligation, end this court battle, and start giving our veterans the help they deserve.” As prime minister, Trudeau reiterated this sentiment in his mandate letter to Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, calling on him to ensure that the “government lives up to our sacred obligation to veterans.”

Strange, then, if not utterly bewildering, that government lawyers will reportedly resume their appeal this week on the grounds that Ottawa has no sacred obligation to veterans. Yes, believe it or not, the Trudeau government wants the court to acknowledge that Ottawa does not have a duty it has argued repeatedly and persuasively that it has.

The truce came undone over a Liberal campaign promise, restated in Hehr’s mandate letter, to “re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured veterans.” The controversial 2006 New Veterans Charter mostly replaced pensions with lump-sum payments. But many have argued this unfairly disadvantages ex-soldiers who live longer, and that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are ill-equipped to manage the large one-time payouts.

Despite the Liberal commitment, there was no mention of veterans’ pensions in the federal budget. As the deadline for deciding the fate of the lawsuit approached, the plaintiffs asked the government to commit to a timeline for implementing its promises. But lawyers representing the injured ex-soldiers say Hehr refused, giving them no choice but to continue with the action.

For his part, Hehr says the Liberals merely inherited this lawsuit. “I find it deeply regrettable that, under the former government, veterans had to take this step to ensure their well-being,” he told the Globe and Mail on Monday. No mention of why his government refuses to lay out a timetable for delivering on its commitments. Or why it appears to have permitted its lawyers to pursue a line of argument in direct contradiction of its long-held, proudly touted position.
The costs of the best possible care for our veterans should be built into any decision that puts soldiers in harm’s way.

That’s the duty Trudeau invoked when he called on the Harper government to “end this court battle, and start giving our veterans the help they deserve.” Whether Ottawa finally fulfils that obligation, or continues its shameful history of dereliction, is now his to decide.

• Canadian Bar Association January 27, 2016

A major promise in the Liberal election platform, and repeated in ministerial mandate letters and the throne speech, was to “repair” the relationship between the federal government and the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

In December, the government laid out a plan to start making good on that promise.

"It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a group of chiefs gathered for an Assembly of First Nations conference in Gatineau.
The first of five priorities for the new government was to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

The other four are to:
•Make significant investments in First Nations education
•Lift the two per cent cap on funding for First Nations programs
•Implement recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
•Repeal all legislation unilaterally imposed on indigenous people by the previous government

The mandate letter to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould instructed her to “conduct a review of the changes in our criminal justice system and sentencing reforms over the past decade ... Outcomes of this process should include increased use of restorative justice processes and other initiatives to reduce the rate of incarceration amongst indigenous Canadians...”

She was also instructed to work with other relevant ministers to “address gaps in services to Aboriginal people and those with mental illness throughout the criminal justice system.”

These points echo several CBA policies, including some resolutions adopted at last summer’s CBA Legal Conference in Calgary which asked the CBA to urge governments to address the over-incarceration of Aboriginal people and to provide culturally appropriate programs for those who are incarcerated; and also to urge the federal government to provide adequate health care for offenders, “with particular emphasis on prison staff receiving training and exercising their duties in a manner that recognizes the needs of offenders with mental health and cognitive difficulties.” As well as those two resolutions, the Aboriginal Law Section co-sponsored, along with the Criminal Justice Section, two more resolutions calling on the government to address the over-use of solitary confinement and to implement systems that will ensure prisoners have “reasonable” contact with counsel, “including comprehensive regulations governing an offender’s right to counsel, access to counsel, communication with counsel and the privileged nature of communications with counsel.”

The CBA has also called for comprehensive measures to address the legacy of Canada’s residential schools.

Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, was told in her mandate letter that her “overarching goal will be to renew the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples. This renewal must be a nation-to-nation relationship, based on recognition, rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.”

Among her instructions, Bennett was told to “undertake… a review of laws, policies and operational practices to ensure that the Crown is fully executing its consultation and accommodation obligations, in accordance with its constitutional and international human rights obligations, including Aboriginal and treaty rights.”

Manitoba Justice Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said the prime minister’s leadership on this issue is vital.

“If that comes from the Prime Minister’s Office alone that would be a significant and huge step,” he told the Ottawa Citizen. “Because that would send a message throughout the political system, as well as throughout the federal bureaucracy, that people need to change the way they think about things.”

Perry Gray is a Regular Force veteran, serving as the Chief Editor of VVi. Perry has been with VVi for 13 years.


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