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Canada To Pay Merchant Marines

February 2, 2000

OTTAWA (AP) _ Civilian sailors who kept the allies supplied with food and ammunition during World War II are getting compensated for their war-time service.

Veteran Affairs Minister George Baker said Tuesday that $34 million would be available for one-time payments of up to $16,400 to the merchant marine seamen who were declared full-fledged war veterans last year.

``This marks a historic occasion for these veterans and for our country,″ Baker said.

``It’s been a long time coming,″ said Aurele Furlatte, head of the 1,800-member Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans Association. ``I only feel so sorry that a lot of the people who started this are not here today.″

Canada’s merchant mariners, most of them ineligible for military service because of age, supplied Europe during World War II. More than 1,000 died during the war.

The exact number of survivors is unknown, with estimates of those eligible for benefits ranging up to 7,400.

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