Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veterans Who Battled Tories to Hold Protest against Liberals over Treatment

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veterans Who Battled Tories to Hold Protest against Liberals over Treatment

Article excerpt

Veterans to protest against federal Liberals

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HALIFAX - It appears the Liberal government has stirred the anger of a veterans' group who just months ago battled the Harper government over Veterans Affairs' handling of applications for care and benefits.

The advocacy group Banished Veterans is organizing a public protest Thursday in Halifax over a decision earlier this week to deny a decorated 94-year-old war veteran entry into the federally funded Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Hospital.

Organizer Doug Roberts says his group -- which has about 400 members -- fought hard against the federal civil service that he says used technicalities to deny benefits to veterans, and it won't stand by to see a similar approach flourish under the new government.

"Most of the veterans voted for change ... but they're doing business the same way they did last year," said Roberts.

Ottawa initially rejected entry to Camp Hill for Petter Blindheim, a veteran of the Norwegian Royal Navy and merchant marine, because it said the Norwegian forces based in Britain didn't qualify as official allies.

Blindheim's family says the Department of Veterans Affairs backed away from that position, but then on Monday rejected the application on the basis that Blindheim could receive adequate care at provincial long term care facilities.

However, a spokesman for the Nova Scotia Health Authority said the current median wait time for a nursing home bed in the Halifax area is 285 days, and the family says Blindheim should have access to the better funded care at the federally subsidized Camp Hill facility.

The veterans with the advocacy group plan to protest in front of the Veterans Affairs building on Thursday morning over the decision, along with the treatment of several other Second World War veterans.

Meanwhile, a Norwegian military historian said the Canadian rejection of Blindheim's application for care at Camp Hill has raised questions in the country he fought for. …

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