November 13, 2002
NOT EXACTLY A RECRUITING PLOY, EH?:Tortured ex-PoW denied war pension (Troy Reeb, 11/12/02, Global News)
Lt.-Col. Trotter flew 44 missions over Europe as a pathfinder for Lancaster bombers -- one of the most dangerous jobs of the Second World War.
His plane was shot down on Aug. 12, 1944. After being tortured at an interrogation centre, he spent 268 days in captivity, which included a forced march across Germany in the middle of winter.
Lt.-Col. Trotter went on to serve as commander of the RCAF's training school, trying to shut out his haunting memories of the war.
To compensate former PoWs for their suffering, the Trudeau government established a special pension supplement in 1976. In a show of support, the legislation passed both houses and won royal assent in just one day.
The original legislation had clear provisions providing for retroactive payments. But in 1986, the Mulroney Tories shifted the supplement into the Canada Pension Plan.
The CPP Act places strict limits on retroactivity, but it was believed that all eligible former PoWs were already receiving their pensions.
In fact, Lt.-Col. Trotter and at least two others still had yet to apply. By the time he did finally hear about the supplement and applied for it in 1990, it was too late.
Veterans Affairs says it is a "sad fact" that the current law cannot allow Lt.-Col. Trotter to collect what he's owed.
Maybe it is best if the Canadians just fold up their armed forces altogether. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 13, 2002 2:42 PM