OTTAWA – Richard Cannings, MP (South Okanagan – West Kootenay is pleased to share that NDP Veterans Affairs Critic Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe), along with NDP MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni), introduced two bills that will amend discriminatory legislation impacting veterans and their families. 


The first bill addresses the paternalistic legislation that prevents veterans, RCMP members, judges and public sector employees who choose to marry after the age of 60 from providing pension benefits to their spouses when they pass away.


“It is imperative that the current legislation be updated to reflect today’s society and relieve the burden placed on spouses who have lost a loved one.  No one should be left behind and this Bill will ensure that spouses who marry after the age of 60 will qualify for the benefits they rightly deserve”, stated Cannings. 


Rick Inglis, Co-Chair of the Surviving Spouses Pension Fairness Coalition stated his support for this legislation, “Our coalition is extremely pleased that the NDP is joining the fight to change unfair legislation that has, in various forms, been hurting Canadians for 115 years. These archaic laws have no place in a modern society.”


The second bill aims to end the unfair reduction of service pensions for retired and disabled Canadian Forces and RCMP veterans.


“I have heard from veterans across my riding expressing their frustration and anger about reductions to their pension benefits,” said Cannings.  “To systematically reduce the service/disability pension of our men and women who have given so much for our continued freedom, is unconscionable.  It is my hope that all members of the House of Commons will support this important piece of legislation and show our veterans and their families that we honour their sacrifice and support them in their time of need,” he concluded.