LETTER: Actions speak louder than words when it comes to caring for veterans

Veteran minister defends governments efforts to support Canadian vets.

Dear Editor,

Actions speak louder than words for veterans.

Over the past few weeks, Conservative Members of Parliament have said quite a bit about respecting and supporting Canada’s veterans.

It’s a wonderful gesture but it’s disingenuous and hypocritical to most Canadians.

Actions speak louder than words. And the words from MP Phil McColeman [Langley City’s MP didn’t support veterans, Tory MP says, March 9 online letters, Langley Advance] show that he forgets it was his government that failed to support and respect Canada’s veterans when they were in power.

The previous government closed nine veterans affairs service offices across the country.

They also fired more than 1,200 staff whose sole purpose was to support veterans.

Mr. McColeman can offer all the empty platitudes he would like but history is not on his side.

So when we formed government in 2015, we did more than talk, we acted: We re-opened the nine veterans affairs offices, opened a new one in Surrey, and set up a mobile office for Northern Canada.

We hired more than 460 new staff – with plans to hire more – which helps get services and supports back to veterans.

And we’ve done much more. Our government has invested $10 billion of new money directly into services and supports for veterans and their families.

Most recently, we announced pension for life.

Pension For life offers financial support for ill and injured veterans of up to $2,650 a month, tax-free and for life.

It also means that injured veterans can receive 90 per cent of their pre-release salary on top of that if they’re unable to work.

As well, we’ve introduced the education and training benefit, which provides veterans up to $80,000 in support for post-secondary education. And if university or college is not their choice, funding is available for career and personal development courses.

We’ve also enhanced our career transition services.

These services will help veterans find meaningful work following their military career with career counselling, job search assistance, interview skills, resume writing, and much more.

But a veteran wouldn’t be who they are without the support of their family.

That’s why we’ve expanded access to military family resource centres to medically released veterans and their families. These centres provide a range of support including parenting workshops, child care, personal growth and development programming, as well as employment and educational assistance.

We’ve also introduced a caregiver recognition benefit that provides $1,000 a month, tax-free, to caregivers of ill and injured veterans to better recognize their vital role.

And to any veteran who may find themselves in urgent and unique situations, we’ve introduced the veteran emergency fund. This new fund provides financial assistance to veterans and their families quickly and efficiently in their time of need.

Saying something is easy.

Anyone can do that.

But the Conservatives found it too hard to actually show support and respect when they had the chance.

We will continue to do more for veterans.

Our actions speak louder than their words.

Seamus O’Regan,

Minister of Veterans Affairs

RELATED: LETTER: MP proud of Liberals aid for veterans

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