Mr. Speaker, a question I have been pursuing for a great deal of time concerns the inability of women who marry military people and the inability of Canadians over 60 to get access to their late husband's pension.
In my case, I was first alerted to this issue by Patricia Kidd from my riding of Victoria. I have also had letters from across the country on this issue. She and her late husband Pete were married 33 years ago. They were married for 31 years before he died. They raised two sons. However, Ottawa will not give Patricia a penny of the pension money that other veterans' widows get because of an archaic rule dating back to 1901 that was inserted into the pension legislation before the First World War to prevent young women from marrying aging veterans.
That clause is not unique to the armed forces. It is in other pension plans, such as those pertaining to judges, Mounties and other federal workers. The clause has been the source of enormous injustice, which the government has acknowledged. It acknowledged it by making clear in the 2015 mandate letter of the minister of Veterans Affairs that eliminating the so-called “marriage after 60” clawback clause was a priority.
That was in the 2015 mandate letter. I have spoken with the then minister of veterans affairs, the member for Calgary Centre, and wrote to him on September 13, 2016. He said help was on the way. Then I spoke to and wrote to the minister of veterans affairs, the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, to the same effect. I wrote to him September 25, 2017, and again in February 2018. Then I asked a question in question period, and that minister said he had heard about this, that it was very important to many veterans and their families, and said “I can assure the member and the House that we are indeed working diligently on this file”.
That is not diligent. I cannot seem to get an answer from the government. It was a commitment made to me and to Canadians in the mandate letter that there would be a change. Patricia Kidd and so many like her are waiting for justice.
I ask the government when we are going to see this Liberal promise kept.