When someone puts on a uniform to serve Canada, there is a moral contract with the country that lasts for life. Our service members and veterans are workers – and in the NDP, we stand up for workers.
That’s why Charlie is proposing a suite of changes to support veterans, service members, and their families.
What Charlie will do
Respecting the social contract with veterans
Both Liberal and Conservative governments have fought veterans in courts, claiming that no social or moral contract exists with them. Charlie would ensure that veterans receive continuity of any necessary medical care upon leaving the Canadian Armed Forces, lower the frequently absurd evidentiary burdens placed on veterans to prove injury or disability, and fight for veterans’ pensions. Finally, Charlie will push for a full public enquiry to craft a definitive Veterans’ Social Contract determining the rights of veterans and the responsibilities of the government towards them.
Combatting a culture of sexual assault and harassment
In 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces began Operation Honour in response to an independent external review that concluded that “there is an underlying sexualized culture in the CAF that is hostile to women and LGTBQ members, and conducive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault. Cultural change is therefore key.” So far, a broad and encouraging set of measures around accountability, independent oversight, education and integration have been undertaken. Charlie would empower the Forces in whatever way necessary to make Operation Honour a success and the Canadian Armed Forces a place where women and LGBTQ+ people can serve without fear of harassment or assault from fellow soldiers. Further, he would begin a review of discharge codes and discharge records to obtain a measure of justice for victims of sexual harassment or assault who were driven or pressured out of service.
Supporting families of service members
Spouses, partners, children and other family members of service members need better support. Charlie would cut down on the number of moves service members and their families have to make, provide access to housing management services for when service members are deployed, and ensure better access to childcare by fighting for universal affordable childcare across the country.
More flexible service options for service members
Many injured service members would like to continue serving, but are prohibited from doing so by fitness requirements under the principle of universality of service. Charlie would relax this principle so that service members wanting to remain with the Canadian Armed Forces or veterans wanting to return are able to do so in appropriate capacities, including training, trades and other non-combat professions.