Conservatives Playing Games with Veterans Last Post Fund

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  

    Mr. Speaker, last night I went to the veterans affairs committee and we heard from the last post fund, the people who support and try to maintain funding for veterans in difficult financial circumstances. They were very clear that the current government may indeed have put more money into the fund, but nobody can access it. The Conservatives have ensured that the lower limit for accessibility at $12,500 makes it virtually impossible for families of veterans to have access to that money.

     How on earth can the Conservatives brag about something in terms of the money they have provided, when no one can get to it?

Mr. Erin O'Toole (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC):  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her work on that committee, and I hope she is listening, because the question gives me an excellent opportunity to show members why this fund is actually structured in a way that targets those in need.

    As a veteran, I do not expect decades later to have my funeral covered. It is only for impoverished veterans. Let me say what the member neglected to say about that $12,500 cut-off.

    That amount of net assets for deceased veterans does not include their house and it does not include their car. We are talking about people who only have that amount of assets at the end of their life. The car and the house could mean that veterans have more, and so we are not just talking about homeless veterans or people like that. This is a set amount that is very reasonable to make sure that those who fall into the cracks and need support get it.

    I would invite the member and the NDP to stop playing games and tell the full story on how that number is calculated.

Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.):  

    Mr. Speaker, on playing games with respect to the last post fund, the member and I served together on the veterans affairs committee when the last budget was brought down, and the member would know that in the last budget the government budgeted $65 million for the last post fund knowing full well that there was absolutely no possible way that money would be spent. Therefore, that money would lapse and go against the deficit.