The Harper Conservatives are ignoring the needs of Canada’s veterans with its proposed legislation to change the way injured veterans receive disability benefits, says Judy Foote, Member of Parliament for Random-Burin-St. George’s.
“The Liberal Opposition has been advocating for improved resources for our veterans. The legislation introduced by the Harper Conservatives this week gives veterans an option to receive disability benefits in a lump sum, in annual instalments or a combination. It does nothing to respond to the fact that the payment amount is inadequate, particularly for disabled veterans who have physical and mental pain and suffering as a result of their military service,” said Foote.
“It is shameful the way this Conservative government treats our veterans. I know in the riding of Random-Burin-St. George’s, where over 800 men and women are serving in all branches of the Canadian Forces, there is extensive support for improving and increasing services to veterans, not simply deciding they can receive disability benefits in multiple cheques instead of one. That is hardly a solution to a serious problem,” said Foote. “We must take every opportunity to ensure service, respect and dignity for the men and women who have fought to defend Canadian values at home and abroad.”
“Many of those returning from the war are ending up homeless and struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. The Conservatives have no idea how many veterans are homeless in Canada and no interest in finding out. While the United Kingdom and the United States have undertaken to identify the number of homeless veterans so they can help them, the Conservatives are refusing to compile the data so they can avoid responsibility for solving the problem,” said Foote. “Former Veterans Ombudsman Pat Stogran indicates that there are at least several hundred and he believes thousands of homeless Canadian veterans. It is unacceptable that veterans should be homeless in Canada.”
“In Parliament today, the Minister of Veterans Affairs suggested that measures are in place in Montreal and Toronto to assist homeless veterans. That doesn’t do much good for veterans who are homeless in Newfoundland and Labrador or any other part of our massive country,” said Foote. “To make matters worse, those who are homeless have no means of accessing the disability award set out in the New Veterans Charter.”
Judy M. Foote