Veterans Deserve Better Than Lip Service

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP): Mr. Speaker, instead of passing the buck, let us see if we can get a real answer to this question.

Caring for our veterans is a responsibility that we all share. However, apparently some Conservative MPs do not agree. Senator Roméo Dallaire said he has heard some of them complaining about money spent on veterans. These comments would be shocking were it not for the fact that the Conservatives have an abysmal record when it comes to veterans' issues.

Why do the Conservatives think that lip service is the only service that our veterans deserve?

Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, there has been no other government in the history of our great nation that has done more for Canada's veterans than this government under the leadership of our Prime Minister. We have invested almost $5 billion in additional funding since coming to office in 2006.*

*(Note, the budget for Veterans’ Affairs—60% of which is direct benefits to veterans—has been cut by $236 million since the 2011 Harper Conservative majority. Funding for monuments, War of 1812 celebrations, etc, does not provide help for Canadian Forces members or veterans)*

I would like to ask the members of the opposition parties why it is that they have voted against every single initiative that we have brought forward. It is about time that they should stop playing politics with our veterans and get on board.

Mme Élaine Michaud (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, NPD): Monsieur le Président, hier, le mari de la regrettée caporal Leona MacEachern a lancé un sérieux avertissement aux conservateurs qui voudraient tourner le dos aux anciens combattants. Il a révélé que sa conjointe n'avait reçu l'aide d'aucun spécialiste pour composer avec son trouble de stress post-traumatique et qu'elle avait dû se battre avec le ministère des Anciens Combattants pour obtenir de l'aide. C'est une histoire tragique qui n'est malheureusement pas un cas isolé.

Quand le ministre va-t-il cesser de s'en prendre aux anciens combattants et commencer à leur offrir les services dont ils ont besoin?

Mr. James Bezan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, first, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the MacEachern family and our government takes this issue of member suicide very seriously…