OTTAWA, ON – Brian Masse, Member of Parliament for Windsor West, along with all other Members of the NDP Caucus proudly voted for the NDP’s Veterans First Motion last night in the House of Commons.

Introduced by the party’s Veterans Affairs critic, Peter Stoffer, MP (Sackville-Eastern Shore), the motion called for improved benefits for veterans, Canadian Forces Personnel and their families. The motion called for five ways to help veterans and their families including:

1. Amend Section 31 (1) of the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act so that second spouses of CF members and veterans have access to pension rights upon the death of the Canadian Forces member or veteran;

2. Extend the VIP (Veterans Independence Program) to all widows of all veterans, regardless of the time of death of the veteran and regardless of whether the veteran was in receipt of VIP services prior to his/her death;

3. Increase the Survivor’s Pension Amount upon death of Canadian Forces retiree to 66% from the current amount of 50%;

4. Eliminate the unfair reduction of SISIP (Service Income Security Insurance Plan) long term disability benefits from medically released members of the Canadian Forces; and

5. Eliminate the deduction from annuity for retired and disabled CF members.

Stoffer claimed, “Canada’s Veterans were willing to lay down their lives for our country. They sacrificed everything. The least we can do is show them the respect that they deserve. Canadians wear poppies to show support our Veterans and to remember.”

Following the vote Masse made it clear that, “Supporting our troops is more than just a slogan. Now it’s time for the Canadian government to step up to the plate and ensure that these Veterans, and their families, are given what they deserve when they return home.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Conservatives voted against the motion. "The Prime Minister should respect the democratic vote in the House of Commons, our veterans gave us the gift of democracy, the Conservatives need to respect the voice of those veterans and Canadians in the chamber." stated Mr. Masse.