Question Period: Our Veterans Need Mental Health Supports

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

    Mr. Speaker, let me ask again. In 2009, the Conservatives committed to developing performance measures to assess if the government's mental health strategy was meeting the mental health needs of veterans. The Auditor General showed that the Conservatives never followed up on that commitment. No data was ever collected.

    Mental health care is critical for our veterans. Why did the government abandon this commitment?

Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):  

    Mr. Speaker, it was in fact the Minister of Veterans Affairs and our government who recommended the Auditor General review our mental health program so that we could improve it to provide the very best for our Canadian veterans and their families.

    The Auditor General clearly said that Veterans Affairs had put in place important mental health supports. Access to mental health support under the rehabilitation program is timely.

    At the same time, the Auditor General has made some recommendations in terms of unnecessary delays, and we are working to address those issues.

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

    Mr. Speaker, when our veterans were asked to serve, they did not hesitate. Why will this minister not honour that service?

    Nearly one in six full-time members of the Canadian Forces experienced symptoms of mental health or alcohol-related disorders in the last year. Many of those members will soon be leaving the Canadian Forces and looking for assistance from Veterans Affairs.

   Does the minister have a plan in place for these veterans so that they are not left waiting?