Canadian Veterans Advocacy

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Harold Leduc response to Minister's Fantino National Post Article

From: Harold Leduc []
Sent: October-08-13 11:14 AM
To: Minister-Ministre Minister-Ministre; Jacques Fauteux; Prime Minister/Premier Ministre
Subject: Re: Article - National Post

Dear Minister,

Thank you for the interesting email. In future I would appreciate you addressing your comments to me personally if you are going to use my email address. I've copied your Chief of Staff Jacques Fauteux, a Naval veteran to provide veterans another avenue to reach you.

The fact of the matter is that the tangible misinformation is coming from your, the Prime Minister's and the Veterans Ombudsman's office. I know these offices have received numerous complaint by wronged veterans but have done little about them. To set the record straight, Canada treats it's veterans well, it's the Conservative Government that doesn't.

I was at the table when Government robbed disabled veterans of Pension Act life long disability benefits to pay for the programs of the New Veterans Charter (NVC) and heard your Government's promises in opposition to fix the problems...we're still waiting. Your review falls short of the scope and objectivity required.

You're not accurately representing the $4.7 billion figure. Isn't that figure VAC's total operating budget including employee wages?

You know that your Ombudsman misrepresented the purpose of the Pension Act in his recent report to downplay it's significance, just like you are doing. You know that he did not provide Canadians with all the relevant facts by purposefully omitting the most generous option currently available of collecting Pension Act benefits for disability and NVC benefits to have other needs met.

You're not addressing your insensitive comments on the Bill Good show that has angered veterans to the point that they are calling for your removal.

You're not addressing this Government's use information gained from inappropriate privacy breaches to re-injure veterans disabilities.

Veterans are extremely angry with the disrespect they get from from Veterans Review and Appeal Board. You've not addressed why you're keeping the Chair in place after he was caught misspending public funds and misleading the Parliamentary Committee on the Board's denial culture. You're also not addressing the bad behaviour of the Board members who disrespect veterans at hearings, ignore the law and Federal Court guidance to deny rightful benefits and place evidence on veterans files without telling anyone, not to mention the Board breaching veterans privacy.

I could go on but will stop there to say that this Government has to stop misleading Canadians on how they are mistreating veterans and mocking our service and sacrific. Canadians will know that veterans are being taken seriously when you are removed from office as Minister and the appeal of the NVC lawsuit is withdrawn. This Government has proven time and again that veterans will only find justice and fairness in the courts.

Please contact me at (250) 896-3738 if I could provide further information.


Harold Leduc

On 2013-10-08, at 4:58 AM, Minister-Ministre Minister-Ministre wrote:

Dear Veteran / Cher(ère) vétéran,

(For your information / Pour information)

There exists a tangle of misinformation regarding how Canada treats its men and women who have served in uniform - as well as regarding the legislation known as the New Veterans Charter. Improvements made by our government, and validated by the latest Veterans Ombudsman report, indicate that while important gaps do need to be filled, a majority of Canada's veterans receive the support and care that they need.

Almost eight years ago, a unanimous Parliament endorsed wholesale change to veterans' support and services. Since implementing the New Veterans Charter in 2006, our government has invested almost $4.7-billion in new funding to enhance veterans benefits, programs and services. Today, seriously injured veterans receive significant financial support up front, and each month, in addition to having access to world-class treatment from some of the most experienced medical professionals in Canada.

As the Ombudsman notes in his recently released actuarial analysis, "the Enhanced [New Veterans] Charter is focused on wellness and rehabilitation, while the Pension Act focuses on compensation." Our approach is not to simply throw money at a problem or a person. We are focused on providing the best support and care for veterans and their families.

Canadians can and should be proud of the commitment they have shown through their parliamentarians to support Canadian veterans who are injured in the line of duty. According to the Veterans Ombudsman's report, the modern framework now in place to assist our former men and women in uniform "in lieu of a monthly pension cheque, [provides] a suite of benefits and services that encourages wellness and rehabilitation and is consistent with the principles of modern disability management."

The Ombudsman is also prudent enough to provide a caveat: "Frequently, comparisons are made only between the Pensions Act monthly disability pension and the New Veterans Charter lump sum disability award without taking into context the overall suite of monetary and non-monetary benefits provided under the New Veterans Charter. Such 'cherry picking' does not provide an objective view of how all the benefits come together to provide a particular effect."

Our government also introduced significant legislative improvements to the New Veterans Charter in 2011 that were praised in the Ombudsman's report as having "had a positive effect." We incorporated over 160 recommendations that were determined after wide consultation. In particular, we implemented enhancements to the New Veterans Charter that make it easier to qualify for the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) and the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance, along with a series of other changes that boost the transition of a veteran to civilian life.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the changes made by our government allow for a veteran to have increased choice. They can either receive a one-time lump-sum payment; an annual installment over the number of years of a veteran's choosing; or a combination of these two payment options.

Our government continues to take positive action on behalf of veterans. Last week, I announced that the government of Canada will support a comprehensive review of the New Veterans Charter, including all enhancements, with a special focus placed on the most seriously injured, support for families and the delivery of programs by Veterans Affairs Canada. I call on parliamentarians to focus on how we can better assist veterans. This parliamentary review, guided by representatives elected by the people of Canada, will provide an appropriate forum where all voices can be heard, including and especially those of veterans, their family members, other interested individuals and subject-matter experts. That is where we can work together to enact appropriate change for veterans and their families.
In truth, the very reason for the Ombudsman's work is to support just such a review, and not supersede it as a few critics have falsely claimed.

Our government is committed to the veteran who has sacrificed so much for their country. We will continue to work through Veterans Affairs Canada, with relevant stakeholders, community and families to ensure that we ably meet needs while also being mindful of our responsibility to the Canadian taxpayer.

Our veterans, and Canadians, deserve no less.

Sincerely / Cordialement,

Julian Fantino PC, MP / CP, député
Minister of Veterans Affairs / Ministre des Anciens Combattants

The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

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