Veterans' pension lawsuit OK'd by top court

Truth Vibrations

New member

Medically discharged corporal Dennis Manuge, centre, of Musquodoboit N.S., and Ron Cundell, left, of Kettleby, Ont., listen as then veterans ombudsman and retired colonel Patrick Stogran speaks at a news conference in Ottawa on Aug. 17.

The Supreme Court of Canada has paved the way for a class-action lawsuit over military veterans' pensions.

Military mechanic Dennis Manuge of Musquodoboit, N.S., launched the lawsuit — representing about 6,500 injured veterans — and it was certified by the Federal Court.

But it was later rejected by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court has reinstated the original decision.

Manuge, a former corporal, was injured in 2002 at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, northwest of Ottawa. He broke his back when he fell off a big vehicle he was repairing.

He had $10,000 of his disability pension clawed back by the federal government after he left the military.

An investigation by the military ombudsman found the clawback "profoundly unfair."

New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer said the case never should have wound its way all the way to the Supreme Court. He urged the government to sit down with the veterans and settle the matter.

"The choice is very clear," said Stoffer, his party's veterans affairs critic. "You can spend millions and millions of dollars fighting this in the courts, or you can spend those millions dealing with the disabled veterans in a fair and reasonable manner."

The Defence Department said it would take some time to analyze the decision.

"As such, it is premature to provide further comment at the moment," said spokeswoman Jennifer Eckersley.