Last Post Fund gets boost from latest federal budget

By Kevin Woodhouse

The Last Post Fund was created so that Canadian veterans of foreign wars would be entitled to a proper burial if they were not in a financial position to have one. In last week’s federal budget, the Conservative government has increased the program’s budget by $65 million over the next two years as well as now covering up to $7,376 for the cost of a burial over the previously allotted sum of $3,600, the first increase to the fund in 12 years.

Two years ago, the Last Post Fund used more than $40,000 from donations in order to help pay for 12 modern day veterans who did not make the fund’s criteria since the current funding program is only eligible for veterans of World War ll and Korea.

For LPF National President Colonel Dan O’Connor, the budget news “is very welcome news from the government as the increase per funeral was overdue.”

But Col. O’Connor would like to see two more changes that would greatly ameliorate the program.

“If a veteran makes more than $12,000 a year, they are ineligible for funding and until 1995 that number was $25,000. Since then, that number has never been increased nor indexed and there is no mention if the $65 million will include changing the value back to its original from 1995,” Col. O’Connor told The Suburban.

“The government also needs to include modern veterans such as those who served in Bosnia, Iraq or Afghanistan since right now, the vast majority of veterans, about 600,000, are not available for the Last Post Fund,” said Col. O’Connor.

According to Col. O’Connor, every year 400 veterans pass away who are not eligible for the fund and “it is our mandate that all vets should be buried with dignity and honour as Canadian citizens want their veterans to be looked after properly.

“If a veteran was ready to go overseas to protect the rights and freedoms that all Canadians enjoy today, the least we could do is ensure they get a proper burial,” Col. O’Connor said.

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