In Debate: Veterans Shouldn't Have to Prove Missing Limbs Year After Year

Ms. Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard, NDP):  

    Mr. Speaker, Master Corporal Paul Franklin lost both of his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan.

    Every year, he is required to produce a medical certificate to prove to the department that he has lost his legs. Twice, his wheelchair has been taken away. That is surreal. Master Corporal Franklin is still fighting, not in Afghanistan, but here, for proper treatment of his case and those of other veterans.

    When will the minister finally intervene?

Mr. Pierre Lemieux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):  

    Mr. Speaker, when the minister was first appointed, he worked very closely with the department, and he directed them to reduce forms and processes and obstacles to our veterans who would be applying for benefits. He wants less red tape for our veterans.

    I also want to point out to the House that the minister reached out personally to the person who was identified in this question.

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

    Mr. Speaker, veterans are still waiting, and they should not be forced every year to prove the obvious, that they are still missing limbs.

    It should not take national attention for the government to realize that this burden of proof is wrong. Whether it is spending $700,000 to fight veterans in court or denying that they have a sacred obligation to veterans, the Conservatives still do not get it.

    Will the government stop its policy of requiring veterans to perennially prove that they have lost their limbs?

Mr. Pierre Lemieux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):  

    Mr. Speaker, I just responded to that question

    Let me just point out a few other things. By reducing red tape and backroom bureaucratic expenses at Veterans Affairs Canada, veterans are benefiting.

    I would point out, for example, that 90% of the budget at Veterans Affairs Canada actually goes to delivering services to veterans and their families, as opposed to paying for all of these backroom administrative costs. I would also point out that it is our government that is opening nine new offices to deliver new mental health services to veterans across the country.