Canadian Veterans Advocacy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New announcement: QP: Nov 4th / Peter Stoffer and Minister Fantino + RCMP Bill (VIP)

Update from Peter Stoffer MP, Official Opposition Critic for Veterans Affairs

Question in the House on the New Veterans Charter, November 4th

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS
Mr. Speaker, last year, the Minister of Veterans Affairs asked the veterans affairs committee to do a comprehensive study on the new veterans charter, which is exactly what it did. The committee unanimously adopted 14 recommendations, recommendations that in some cases are two to three years old already. Six months after the report was tabled in the House, the Minister of Veterans Affairs' response was that we need more study.
I would like to remind the government and the Minister of Veterans Affairs that veterans can no longer wait. A benefit delayed is a benefit denied. When will the government move on the recommendations of the unanimous report?

Julian Fantino Minister of Veterans Affairs
Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the member and indeed all members for their approach during the past few weeks. It is times such as this when politicians actually become parliamentarians. I salute the member and indeed all members for their hard work.
To his question, I responded to the committee's report with a phased response. We are working on that.
However, this week, we focus on remembrance, something I am sure that the hon. member and all of us here enthusiastically support.

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS
Mr. Speaker, I thank him for the comments, but I do remind the minister that every day for those who serve our country is Remembrance Day.
One of the most important things is to ensure that our disabled veterans and their families, and those of the RCMP, have the benefits that they require in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy that is within the department delays many veterans' benefits. Again, a benefit delayed is a benefit denied.
The Legion recommended most of these recommendations. The ombudsman recommended these recommendations years ago. When is the government, once again, going to move on these recommendations so that all of us can help the people who serve our country so valiantly?

Julian Fantino Minister of Veterans Affairs
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that we have been moving all along over the last number of years to increase benefits for veterans and their families. Our government believes that veterans should have robust medical treatment and rehabilitation opportunities. Veterans who are seriously injured should be receiving significant financial benefits each month, in addition to retraining opportunities. All these things are at play, and have been. Our government supports these principles.
This week I call on all members to hold off on their politics and focus their energy on remembrance.

Peter introduced new bill proposing VIP for disabled RCMP
On October 27, Peter introduced a new bill in the House of Commons to establish a Veterans Independence program for disabled RCMP members. A copy of the bill is attached (C-633)
Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS - moved for leave to introduce Bill C-633, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act (veterans independence program). Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House today to introduce legislation to allow members of our RCMP who are retired, and their spouses, into the veterans independence program. Those in the military who are frail or who have an injury because of service can apply for the VIP, which allows them to stay in their homes longer by providing housekeeping and grounds keeping services. Unfortunately, for years we have tried to also allow this for disabled and infirmed RCMP veterans and their spouses, but have been unsuccessful. That is the purpose of this legislation. We believe that our RCMP veterans are equal to the heroes of our military and deserve equal access to a program of this nature. The VIP program is a very good program for our military. We would like to see it extended to RCMP veterans and their families. (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

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