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June 20th, 2022

Liberals allowing discrimination against veterans’ spouses

OTTAWA – Today, NDP veterans affairs and senior critic Rachel Blaney was joined by NDP House Leader Peter Julian and RCMP veterans to discuss eliminating the century-old ‘marriage after 60’ clause, also known as the ‘gold-digger clause,’ which makes spouses who married veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP after the age of 60 ineligible to receive survivor pensions.

“The marriage after 60 clause is harmful to seniors and veterans – it denies those who find love later in life the support they deserve. This is discriminatory and disproportionately impacts women,” said Blaney. “The Liberals promised to eliminate the clause in 2015 – yet they’ve done nothing. It is very clear that this government isn’t interested in making sure that the spouses of veterans who fought for Canada have the same security as other couples.”

Despite the countless calls from veterans’ organizations, including the National Council of Veterans Associations, the RCMP Veterans Association, and the Armed Forces Pensioners, have criticized the government and called on them to end this discriminatory and sexist rule – the government hasn’t listened. To make matters worse, in 2019 the Liberals promised to offer $150 million as a Veterans Survivors Fund as a measure to fix their own failures with the gold-digger clause but, to date, not a single penny has been spent on this fund.

“The Liberals are punishing veterans for finding love later in their lives. Canadians are living well into their eighties – clearly, with the marriage over 60 clause, this government expects veterans to spend the last twenty years of their lives alone. This is shocking and outdated,” said Julian. “New Democrats will keep pushing the Liberals to fix their failures and give veterans and their spouses the same rights that all Canadians have.”

Last year, MP Blaney proposed a private member's bill that would remove this clause, allowing the spouses of veterans to receive the same supports as every other couple.