Feds ordered to pay veterans $4.6 billion
CTV.ca News Staff
An Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered the federal government to transfer $4.6 billion into a special trust fund for veterans.
In his ruling, Justice John Brockenshire said that disabled veterans and their families are owed the money for "unrealized investment potential" in their pensions.
Filed in 1999, the case accused the government of putting the funds -- of mentally and physically disabled veterans deemed incapable of managing it themselves -- in non-interest-bearing accounts.
Although the ruling was short of the $5.9 billion sought by the veterans, lawyers acting on their behalf have said they're pleased with the outcome.
Asked for his reaction to the ruling, veterans' lawyer Raymond Colautti said the decision was long overdue.
"I hope that Canadians will scream bloody murder over the mismanagement on the part of the canadian government in the way they dealt with this," Colautti told reporters at a news conference in Toronto Friday.
"They effectively took the veterans' money, put it in their sock and hid it under their mattress."
The class action suit sought payment on behalf of approximately 30,000 veterans of various wars and peacekeeping missions dating back to 1919.
Although the case has been before the courts for almost seven years, Crown lawyers have indicated an appeal is likely.
The Supreme Court has already weighed in on the issue, ruling in 2003 that the government's position did not infringe veterans' rights.
That decision also described the government's decision not to pay as "unfortunate," opening a legal door for veterans to keep pursuing the case.sympaticomsn.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20051230/veterans_compensationruling_20051230