When questioned by Paul Steckle - L (Huron-Bruce,ON), who also demanded that O'Connor apologize to the Dinning family (who have now gone public with their complaints against DND after feeling that their integrity has been impugned), O'Connor responded with this:
Hon. Gordon O'Connor (Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr Speaker, I think if you check the record, I didn't say that they all got full compensation. I said I directed that they get all full compensation. If there are any anomalies, Mr Speaker, the chief of defence staff is going to ensure that all families are contacted to make sure everyone gets proper compensation.
From Monday's hansard, this is what O'Connor said:
Hon. Dan McTeague (Pickering—Scarborough East, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is fairly clear that Canadians do not care about bureaucratic submissions to the Treasury Board, as we learned yesterday, asking for more funds. Canadians want funeral cost aid in full right now.
Will the Prime Minister give a personal guarantee—which we have not heard—here and now, that effective immediately, the Government of Canada will pay the full costs of the funerals for our soldiers who have paid the ultimate price? Yes or no?
Hon. Gordon O'Connor (Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I will give a better guarantee than that. We have been doing it since I have been in office. Any family that has had to bury one of its loved ones is entitled to full recompense for the funeral.
The man is a serial liar.
Via the Dinning's press conference:
Lincoln Dinning has written three times to the Defence department to be reimbursed for the expenses related to the death of his son, Matthew, who was killed in Afghanistan a year ago.
Mr. Dinning has also written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask why the families of married soldiers receive a $250,000 death benefit and the families of unmarried soldiers get nothing.
He has yet to receive a reply.
Of the more than $25,000 that Mr. Dinning and his wife, Laurie, have had to pay to bury Matthew and to deal with the psychological trauma of losing their son, they have received a little more than $6,000.
Last August, Mr. Dinning wrote to his family liaison officer at the Department of Defence to say he had been reimbursed for about $5,600 of a $12,151 funeral bill. He asked for an additional $3,000 to cover the costs of the arena that was required to hold the 2,300 people in the family's home town of Wingham, Ont., who wanted to attend the ceremony.
He did not claim an additional $4,000 that the family paid for a reception for those people because he felt that that was the family's personal choice.
He did ask, however, for $1,200 for grief counselling for his wife that was not covered under his own medical plan and for $525 to cover the cost of a hotel room in Ottawa so that he and his wife could attend a memorial when Matthew's name was added to the honour role.
Another letter was written in February asking for additional grief counselling costs. Mrs. Dinning told reporters that the department informed her that mothers in her situation should require no more than four sessions of counselling.
Unconscionable. Yet the Conservatives will hang onto O'Connor just as Bush protected Rumsfeld, no matter how much he lies or denigrates this country's reputation. He should be fired. Period.
Related: The DND's funeral compensation policy.