A number of MPs have responded to Ceasefire.ca’s latest petition, requesting that Harper treat veterans with the respect they deserve. Here are excerpts of responses we’ve received:
After literally putting their lives on the line for the values and needs of their country, veterans are being told that it is simply too expensive to care about their well-being. The closure of these [Veterans Affairs] offices is just the most recent string in this pattern that includes clawing back pensions for injured soldiers by the amount of disability payment received, total unwillingness to confront issues of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and mental health, and discharging injured veterans before they have served enough time to qualify for a pension.
At the same time, the federal government unveiled or promised funding for at least three new war memorials in 2013. While it is necessary to commemorate those who fought for Canada, would not the best tribute be providing our veterans with the consistent care, service, and respect that they earned while serving our country?
–Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands), Leader of the Green Party
It is shameful that former Canadian Armed Forces personnel and RCMP officers, having served their country, now have to fight their own government for the benefits and services they deserve. The NDP has called on Prime Minster Stephen Harper to apologize and fire Minister Julian Fantino, the Minister in charge of Veterans Affairs, for his disrespectful treatment of veterans.
–Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre), Foreign Affairs Critic
Many of our veterans need to meet in-person with a case worker who helps ensure that they have access to appropriate programs, care and services. The case workers also ensure that the veteran’s family’s needs are addressed. The cuts, which include closing these offices and laying off 781 employees (22% of the Veterans Affairs Canada workforce), will make it harder for our veterans to access the services and benefits to which they are entitled. Many veterans will now have to travel for hours to meet with a case worker.
At a meeting in Ottawa, the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, made a commitment that a Liberal government would re-open the offices and would open more offices, if needed.
–Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt), Liberal Critic, Veterans Affairs
Mike Lake (Edmonton-Mill Woods) has also invited some petition signers to bring forth their concerns over the treatment of veterans to constituent round table meetings within his riding.
Photo credit: Veterans Affairs Canada