QUESTION PERIOD: Standing Up for Veterans Care & Benefits


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

    Mr. Speaker, there is a troubling pattern of the Conservatives ignoring due process when it comes to the care of our veterans. Today the ombudsman's report provides the latest example of unfair treatment of veterans seeking disability benefits.

    Could the minister explain why veterans, and serving members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP are kept in the dark about what information is used when deciding a claim? These men and women are the heroes of our country. When will the Conservatives start treating veterans fairly?

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

    Mr. Speaker, when the member is given the opportunity to stand up for veterans in the House, I invite her to do so.

    We welcome the ombudsman's report. It is a report that we take very seriously because we care for our veterans. They must be provided with the services and programs to which they are entitled and fully deserve. At this very moment, 70% of veterans' first applications are approved by our department. I intend to bring in more measures to streamline our processes to better serve veterans.


FEBRUARY 5th Question Period 

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

    Mr. Speaker, after a long-fought battle with Veterans Affairs, Colonel Neil Russell, a post-Korean War vet, was granted a bed in the veterans' wing of Parkwood Hospital in London, Ontario. Granting that long-term care bed in a veterans' wing sets an important precedent.

    The fact is that the government keeps modern-day vets out of long-term care, even when beds are available. That is a disgrace.

    Will the Conservatives guarantee beds to all veterans, without forcing them to do battle with their own government?

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

    Mr. Speaker, actually, there are more than 9,000 veterans who are currently depending on over 1,700 provincial long-term care facilities.*

    We are there for veterans, especially our Second World War and Korean War veterans. When there were no health systems in this country, we were there for our veterans, and we are still there for them today, in partnership with provinces.


*note: the Minister's response neglects to mention the provincial long-term care facilities are NOT the specific veterans care wings available at places like Parkwood Hospital and are in fact long term care beds which are NOT available to other seniors when assigned to a veteran.