NDP Grills Minister on Veterans Benefits

Mr. Sylvain Chicoine (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, not only are they trying to hide their irresponsible budget from Canadians, but they also want to hide how they treat our veterans. The Auditor General has been clear: veterans are having to deal with unacceptable wait times, complicated, poorly defined processes and inadequate benefits. What is even more shocking, however, is that in a rich country like Canada, this government does not even provide veterans in need with a decent funeral service.

Does the minister realize that $3,600 is clearly not enough to pay for a funeral, which actually costs more than twice that amount?

Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the funeral and burial program provides up to $10,000 to help cover the funeral costs incurred by veterans' families. This program has helped over 10,000 veterans in recent years, since 2006. We are always committed to improving the services we offer to veterans.

Unfortunately, we cannot count on the opposition. One thing is certain: we will not make cuts like the Liberals did.


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

When will the Conservatives stop playing these games and help veterans get the services and the pensions they deserve?

Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we are providing our veterans with a hassle-free service. Veterans have asked us to cut red tape. Why is the opposition preventing our veterans from getting their service faster so they can navigate through the Internet through the veterans navigator benefit and get access to their e-book. Why is the opposition preventing our veterans from getting faster service?

Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, my 90-year-old mother who was born in Holland, now living in Richmond, B.C., is very upset that many of her heroes who liberated her, my father and her fellow Dutchmen in the Netherlands may not get a proper funeral and burial service when they pass on. Trust me, Mr. Speaker, you do not want to upset my mom.

Why is the Minister of Veterans Affairs upsetting my mother and why is it that so many veterans in the country cannot get a proper funeral and burial service after the services they gave to us? They liberated Europe. They gave their very best to our country. Will the government now ensure that all veterans in our country get a proper funeral and burial?