Members Statements: Irene on the closure of Parkwood Veterans Hospital Beds

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

Mr. Speaker, the government's plan to close 72 beds reserved for veterans at Parkwood Hospital in London, Ontario, is both shortsighted and disgraceful.

While we know there are fewer second world war and Korean war veterans needing hospital care, there is a growing need for the same quality care for members of the Canadian Forces and RCMP veterans who served Canada in Afghanistan and as peacekeepers in Bosnia, Cyprus and, indeed, around the world.

The number of modern-day veterans requiring care is steadily increasing. So is the need for beds. It is soulless to ban veterans who have served in peacekeeping and other missions since the Korean war from the specialized care that the Department of Veterans Affairs is obliged to provide.

I call on the federal government to change the regulations that exclude modern-day veterans and ensure access to these Parkwood beds. These brave men and women served our country well and deserve the assistance and care they need. We owe them at least that much.