Mr. Speaker, veterans who signed up to serve our country before Canada entered the Afghanistan mission signed up with the understanding that should they become injured during their service, they would be able to rely on a lifetime pension to ensure that they and their families would be taken care of by their country. However, the Liberal government of the day changed the rules and these men and women were sent into combat with no such protections. Some of those veterans took the government to court, calling on the sacred obligation we owe to veterans, to underscore the promises made by many governments to our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces. This includes a financial obligation of a lifetime pension.
The previous Conservative government callously decided to fight those veterans in court, denying their rights and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to refute the idea that we owe our veterans a sacred obligation for putting their lives on the line in defence of our country and the missions we ask them to undertake.
In 2015, the House of Commons unanimously passed an NDP motion that recognized Canada's covenant of moral, social, legal, and financial obligations to all veterans. Every member of the House agreed that we did, indeed, owe this sacred obligation to our veterans. Many of those members still serve in this place. Yet here we stand today in the same place as we were in 2012, with the current Liberal government back in court fighting those we pledged to protect, our veterans and their families, and veterans are begging the government to recognize the sacred obligation they are owed.
To add insult to injury, the Liberals have even hired the same lawyer, Paul Vickery, who was contracted by the Conservatives to fight this case. It is the same lawyer, the same situation, the same lawsuit that Liberals denounced in the House not so long ago, and I am wondering why. The Liberals made their commitment to veterans very clear just a year ago in their platform, which states:
Veterans and their families have earned our respect and gratitude. It is time our government lived up to its sacred obligation to them. Our plan will give back to those who have given so much in service to all Canadians, and will ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.
My simple question is this. Why is the government, despite campaigning a year ago with the promise to respect veterans, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting wounded veterans in court instead of spending that money to ensure that those veterans receive the benefits and services they require, the benefits and services to which they are entitled?