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Article Date01-09-2009
Record TYPENews
Article TitleSDB Claw-back
Article ContentOttawa Citizen
Dave Brown
October 9, 2005
Canada's gold diggers, those gorgeous younger women who would take advantage of aged military veterans, should unite in a class action defamation suit aimed at the Canadian government. The challenging question in the suit would be: How stupid do you think we are?

Reg Warkentin of Kingston is one of those veterans who happily announces that at age 62 in 1994, he married one of those younger women (now close to 60) and it's the best thing that ever happened to him. But to suggest Hilde Warkentin, his wife of 11 years, had money on her mind, is an insult.
Something happened in 1992 that made him worthless to her. He turned 60. At that precise moment when the second hand of a clock said he aged from 59 to 60, Canadian law deemed him too stupid to handle his own affairs. To protect him from gold diggers, his military pension was locked down.
""Do they really think a woman would go after a man to tap into his pension benefits when those benefits, on average, are worth $330.58 a month? Hardly gold digger wages!""
He acknowledges that in today's numbers that figure would be higher. Pensions that kicked in decades ago were much lower and have increased little, and skew the numbers.
What the retired major is talking about has its roots in the 1901 Militia Pensions Act. There was fear an opportunistic young woman could set up a deathbed marriage to a Boer War vet, and thus net for herself half the old soldier's pension for the rest of her life.
The thinking in that old act exists today in Section 31 of the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act. When a veteran turns 60, he is protected from the gold digger, and the woman who marries him after that birthday, is doing it for love. She can't collect a penny.
The money that Mr. Warkentin piped into the fund during his military career, to protect his spouse, stays there. It will be absorbed into the $40 billion reserve in the CFSA fund. He has been unable to find current statistics about those brides of the over-60, but says insiders have told him ""at least 1,000"" is a fair guess. ""These are almost all women, and they've been left high and dry.""
Was there really a gold digger rush on Boer War veterans? Gordon O'Connor, with a military background and now MP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills, doesn't think so.
""I think it was one of those urban legends that got out of control.""
He says he recently attended a committee meeting with Veterans Affairs Canada and the gold digger issue was on the table. ""They take the view there's nothing they can do; that they are following the law.""
Mr. O'Connor also makes the point MPs' pensions don't have the same catch. They're considered smart enough to know a gold digger when they see one, can marry after age 60, and should they die, the spouse would receive 60 per cent of the pension. They also continue to get medical and dental benefits, another perk denied the widows of those who married vets who were between best-before and expiry dates.
British Columbia MP Werner Schmidt also sees the gold digger rule as ridiculous, and has a private member's bill (C-362) on the table, but chances of it getting to a vote are slim.
Meanwhile, Mr. Warkentin soldiers on. For the past 10 years, he has written all ministers of national defence and from most received a lukewarm response, saying the matter would be studied.
The reply from David Pratt during his time at Defence, still rankles. He keeps a copy handy. ""You are getting more than enough."" He's still waiting for a reply from the current minister, Bill Graham.
Reg Warkentin entered the military as a private soldier and worked his way up the ranks to major. He says he is finding growing support for his cause and has retired general officers onside. A website is being built.
""I made some mistakes when I was younger. I assumed Gail would live to collect the benefits I was paying for. Because she died when she did, a penalty was applied. When you're young you don't think of these possibilities.""
There are other penalties applied to military service. One pointed out by Mr. Warkentin is that employment insurance benefits are different when applied to veterans. While serving, it's mandatory that they pay into the employment fund. But unlike civilians, they can't apply for benefits when they part company with the military. They must find a job and build up the necessary points under the plan, as if they never contributed before.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2005 The Class Action suite and court rulings can be seen on the legal website that is handling the case at
Eval SOURCE RELIABILITYC -fairly reliable
Eval INFO CREDIBILITY3 -poss true
SourceOttawa Citizen
Source URLThe Class Action suite and court rulings can be seen on the legal website that is handling the case at Class Action suite and court rulings can be seen on the legal website that is handling
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