Prime Minister defends spending on vets, fails to address burials for the poorest

The Canadian Press

MANILA, Philippines - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is defending his government's handling of veterans programs, while offering no indication it will offer more funding to bury the poorest among them.

Harper was asked how he felt about the difficulties faced by the federally supported Last Post Fund while on a visit to the Philippines.

The Canadian Press reported earlier in the week that 67 per cent of applications to the fund have been declined since 2006 because of the narrow eligibility guidelines.

Veterans groups, funeral home directors and the Last Post Fund itself have said it's time to expand the program to more recent veterans and increase the amount of $3,600 per funeral set 12 years ago.

But Harper would only say his government is continually reviewing the suitability of its programs, and made no mention of the Last Post Fund specifically.

Veterans Affairs Canada reviewed the fund two years ago, but no action has been taken since then.