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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics March 22, 2012
  Mar 22, 2012

Question #1
Canadian men and women went to Afghanistan over the past decade with upwards of 200 dying and 2,000 being injured there. Would you characterize Canadian military personal participation in Afghanistan as involvement in a “War” or a “Conflict”?
War    91 %
Conflict    5 %
Undecided/Can’t Answer    4 %
Question #2
In your opinion should Canadian men and women who fought in Afghanistan be compensated across the board on an - equivalent basis - - equal to- other Canadian Veterans-- who fought in World War I, II, the Korean War and Bosnia?
Yes    94.5 %
No    2 %
Undecided    3.5 %
Question #3
In your opinion should the Conservative government of Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper provide “More”, “Less” or the “Same” monies to federal government public service employees in the upcoming budget? (Not rotated)
More    28.5 %
Less    34 %
The Same    37.5 %
Question #4
Which of the following federal political parties in Ottawa do you most support? (Adjusted from raw numbers to better reflect gender representation) (Party responses rotated)
Federal New Democrats    36.6 %
Federal Liberals    26.5 %
Federal Conservatives    28.7 %
Federal Greens    8.1 %
Undecided    17 %
Commentary
Question 1 reveals that British Columbians are of the opinion that Canadian men and women were involved in a “War” more than a “Conflict” in Afghanistan. A “War” is a conflict carried on by force of arms – a state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states or parties – a “Conflict” is a serious disagreement or argument – a state of open, often prolonged fighting, a battle. The difference between the two words is significant - by definition -- indeed by public perception in this ROBBINS New Trend poll -- by the fact that a “War” always presumes the use of weapons or intention to inflict injury and death, while a conflict does not necessarily do so.
A clear “Massive Majority”, – of British Columbians are of the opinion that Canadian men and women who fought in War in Afghanistan (should) be compensated across the board on an “equivalent basis” – “equal to” other Canadian Veterans' compensation who fought in World War(s) I, II, the Korean War and Bosnia.
(66%) of British Columbians are of the opinion that federal public service employees should receive “The Same” or “More” from the federal budget. Of those respondents who DO NOT support “The Same” budget for public servants -- (54%) support “Less” money, while (46%) support more money.
Recent polls from ROBBINS, Forum, and Justason reflect the provincial New Democrat support among British Columbians in the neighbourhood of 45% with combined BC ‘Christy Clark’ Liberal and BC Conservative support in the 45-50% region. This ROBBINS NewTrend poll shows the federal New Democrats in the lead as well in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia including Greater Vancouver – going into their leadership convention this weekend.
Support for Canada’s War Veterans in this poll is actually (25%) higher than the total of actual support for federal Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats combined.
These are telling numbers.
(350%) more British Columbians in this ROBBINS NewTrend poll – support increased compensation for Canadian - Afghanistan War Veterans -- then the number who support more money for federal public ‘servants’. There are upwards of one half million federal public ‘servants’ in Canada, there are far - far fewer Canadian soldiers who have returned from War in Afghanistan, many of them injured – some of them in caskets.
The risk Canadian soldiers take fighting in Afghanistan far exceeds the effort of some public ‘servants’ including recent news of one public ‘servant’ working in Ottawa earning $100,000 per year who was found to have spent 70% of his day playing games on his computer because he had “nothing to do”. This difference should be well reflected in an honest reappraisal of the collective decision of both Liberal and Conservative Governments in Canada – with support from public service advocates – the New Democrats – all of whom have denied Canada’s War Vets from Afghanistan their just dues for giving to their country – many of whom did so with their lives.
Very clearly there is something wrong with this picture……………
New Veterans Charter: Background
In March of 2006, the New Veterans Charter (NVC) came into effect. The move was made at the same time as the first major Canadian combat Operation since the Korean War began in Afghanistan, Operation Medusa. The NVC had been introduced by Paul Martin’s Liberals, and supported by all the opposition parties.
The NVC replaced the Pension Act, a piece of post-WW1 legislation that awarded monthly pensions tax-free, indexed, and for life, for soldiers wounded or injured in the line of duty. The NVC did away with the lifetime pension, and instead replaced it with a one time “Lump sum” based on 100% disability being a certain amount, currently $293k, approx.
According to the Government, this was supposed to allow soldiers to buy a home, start a business, etc, instead of forcing them to accumulate the capital necessary over years under the Pension Act. The actual reason is a savings of 40%i or more over the lifetime of wounded soldiers, likely far more given the young age of the Veterans of the Afghanistan War.
Soldiers who lose both legs receive 100% disability. This means $293k if it happens today. Compared with the approximately $4000/month that pre-2006 soldiers receive, that’s an egregious change in the value our Government puts on those disabled in the service of our country.
The structure of settlements is final, and although the “lump sums” are not taxed, the Government programs that provide the day to day income necessary for Canadian Veterans who cannot work, such as the Earnings Loss Benefit program, are. The Pension Act accounted for spouses and children as well. A marriage increased the pension amount, as did each child the marriage produced until adulthood. If the Veteran passed away, there was a program in place for Widows to guarantee income. Not so under the NVC.
Veterans have been loudly rallying against the NVC, with National days of Protest held in 2010 and 2011. The Liberals and NDP are supportive of returning to the monthly pension program, yet the Conservatives continue to dither.
i Aiken, Alice, and Buitenhuis, Amy, Supporting Canadian Veterans with Disabilities: A Comparison of Financial Benefits, Queens University, 2011 http://www.queensu.ca/dms/publications/claxton/Claxton13.pdf
Very clearly British Columbians are telling the Conservative Government of Canada, the New Democratic Opposition, and the Liberal Party of Canada (and former government) to pour cold water on their faces, shake the cobwebs from their self indulgent and selfish thinking and immediately change the funding arrangements with Canada’s War Veterans coming home from Afghanistan, to an equivalent and equal status to all other brave men and women who fought including those who died or were disabled - for our country.
Most British Columbians are of the opinion that enough money is spent on federal public servants - and measured against the real needs of Canada’s War Veterans – from Afghanistan—their needs are very clearly not near as important and certainly not a priority to the BC respondents in this poll.
A random telephone sample of 683 British Columbians March 21 and 22, 2012. This poll has a Margin of Error (M.O.E.) of 3.75% plus or minus, 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence. This ROBBINS NewTrend poll was sponsored in part by Kevin Berry and Associates – Kevin Berry is a Canadian – Afghanistan War Veteran advocating for the rights to equitable treatment of all Canadian War Veterans. Kevin Berry resides in Port Moody, British Columbia.

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