From today's Toronto Star, reproduced under the Fair Dealings Provisions of the Copyright Act, RSC.
My italics added
My italics added
No death benefit for single soldier
Jun 04, 2007 04:30 AM
OTTAWA–Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson has shot down the demand of parents of an unmarried soldier killed in Afghanistan to get the $250,000 death benefit available only to married soldiers.
Lincoln and Laurie Dinning have accused the federal government of discrimination because their son, Cpl. Matthew Dinning, did not qualify for the benefit, part of the New Veterans Charter that won all-party support in 2005.
But Thompson said the death benefit in the new charter is meant to support immediate family members left behind.
"The death benefit is intended for the widows and widowers and dependent children of veterans. It was never intended to be life insurance," Thompson said in an interview.
Their son was serving as a military police officer when he was killed with three other soldiers by a roadside bomb on April 22, 2006.
The Dinnings went to Parliament Hill last week to complain that a year after his death, they were still out of pocket for some funeral expenses. But they also complained about what they said was an inequity in the payouts for single soldiers killed on duty.
Lincoln Dinning quoted from a letter he wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper on April 25 this year, complaining that his son had been discriminated against because he did not qualify for the $250,000 death benefit and is thus "worth $0 in your government's eyes."
While the Dinnings did get financial support for their son's funeral costs, Thompson said the death benefit is "all about supporting a youth veteran and his children and spouse."