One-Cent Pension for 22-Year-Old Canadian Veteran of Afghanistan War Who Committed Suicide
By Vittorio Hernandez | March 6, 2014 10:16 AM EST
Australian military commanders at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot lay wreaths at the memorial during the ceremony for the fallen (L–R): Lieutenant Colonel Mick Bye, Commanding Officer (CO) 2nd Cavalry Regiment Task Force; Colonel Wade Stothart, Commander Combined Team – Uruzgan; Lieutenant Colonel 'M', CO Special Operations Task Group; and Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan, CO Heron Detachment. (Credit: Australian Defence Image Library)
It was a double stab on the back for the family of deceased Canadian soldier Corporal Justin Stark, an Afghanistan War veteran who committed suicide in October 2011 at the age of 22.
His seven-month bout in the Middle East was "rewarded" by the federal government with a one-cent pension which his family received a cheque a few days ago.
Mr Stark's mother was shocked when she read the contents of the letter and by the amount of the release pay.
Keven Ellis, a family friend of Mr Stark, who killed himself inside the John W. Foote VC Armouries in Hamilton, called the miniscule payment an insult. Mr Stark's colleagues, The Argyl and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada held a parade in Hamilton, Ontario, for Justin one day before Remembrance Day.
Upon learning of the gaffe, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson apologised to the family of Mr Stark, saying the cheque was absolutely ridiculous as he blamed the boo-boo to an insensitive bureaucratic screw up.
The soldier's grieving mother went through hours of tribunal hearings for the military to determine if her son's death was work-related, said Hamilton Easy-Stoney Creek MP Wayne Marston.
The defence minister assured that he would take steps to ensure the mistake would never be repeated again.
A similar embarrassing incident involved Corporal Leona MacEachern who died on Christmas Day 2013 after she deliberately drove her car into an oncoming transport truck near Calgary. She suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her 20-year stint with the Forces.
But in January 2014, Veteran Affairs Canada sent her widower a letter even requesting for repayment of $581.67 from a portion of the corporal's monthly disability cheque.
An embarrassed Veterans Affair Minister Julian Fantino later said the decision to collect the money was reversed, and he issued a personal apology to the female soldier's family.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Heads to Malta For New Movie After A Whirlwind French Wedding [PHOTOS]
- Prince Harry & Camilla Thurlow Getting Serious, St. Tropez Holiday Before The Prince’s 30th Birthday [PHOTOS]
- Chris Martin Getting Serious With Jennifer Lawrence, Actress Joining Coldplay Tour [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MTV Video Music Awards: Full List Of Winners, Miley Cyrus ‘Wrecking Ball’ Bags Video Of The Year [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Canada Housing Affordability Improves: Toronto, Vancouver Properties Most Pricey
- New Zealand PM John Key Dismisses 'Dirty Politics' Issue in TV Debate, Outshines David Cunliffe
- US And Australia Share Visa And Immigration Information
- Malaysia And Australia Agree To Split MH 370 Search Costs
- West Looks Divided in Tackling Russian Invasion In Ukraine
- Sept 19 iPhone 6 Release Date Firms Up as iWatch Rollout Delayed to Jan 2015 – Reports
- Apple iPhone 6 Actual Release Date after September 9 Confirmed 128GB Variant with New Resolution
- Apple iOS 8 vs Android 5.0 L: OS Wars Puts Android to Lower while Apple to Higher
- Google Chrome 64-bit for Windows 8 and Window 7 with Mac Beta Available
- North Korea Banker Who Manages Money of Kim Jong-un Defects to Russia With $5 Million
- Nexus 6 on Release Date Confirmed with Phablet-Size Display as FCC Filing Hints of 5.9-Inch Screen
- Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 New Paranoid Android 4.5 Beta 2 Update Guide