To the editor:
The Conservative government shows callous disregard in it treatment of Canada’s veterans.
Its neglect of vets is even more disgraceful when one considers that – according to research by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) – the (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper Conservatives are spending an estimated $263 million this year alone on its “information services staff,” or as the CTF says, “spin doctors.”
Meanwhile, this government continues to fight veterans, who seek fair compensation under the New Veterans Charter, in court and argues it has no social contract or fiduciary responsibility to veterans.
When the government announced it would designate $200 million for mental health services for veterans, it implied the money would be spent over five years. Now we know that, in fact, it’s over 50 years.
At an average annual expenditure of $4 million, that amounts to small change beside the hundreds of millions spent on its messaging machine this year alone.
Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs managers made hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses for cutting costs as the department shed hundreds of jobs and closed offices responsible for disability benefits and pensions.
Veterans deserve timely access to services whereas some now wait up to eight months just to be seen.
The federal NDP has pledged to reopen the nine closed Veterans Affairs Offices.
Our vets deserve timely and reasonable access to services. Families should be given the information and tools they need to help identify mental health issues and support those in need.
This is yet another example of Conservative arrogance and disrespect of the needs of our veterans and their families – it is dishonourable and has become habitual.
NDP federal candidate