Letter: One of Langley’s MPs defends Liberal record on veterans

Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag outlines federal government support to counter criticism.

Dear Editor,

In recent days, two public-office holders in the Langleys have posted incorrect information concerning the Trudeau Liberal’s support for veterans. Let me set the record straight.

Our government is committed to honouring the sacrifice made by millions of Canadians who have answered the call to serve our country. Our government has made historic investments to ensure that veterans and their families have the support they need to ease into their transition in post-military life.

These historic investments amount to $10 billion in Canada’s veterans. These investments not only restore the massive cuts inflicted on veterans by 10 years of Conservative government, but include significant improvements to those who have served. Here’s a sample of the services we have restored and introduced for veterans:

* Introduced a pension-for-life plan that is a combination of benefits that provide recognition, income support and stability to veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members who experience a service-related illness or injury.

* Reopened nine Veterans Affairs offices closed by the former government, opened a new office in Surrey, BC, and expanded outreach to Veterans in the North.

* Added over 400 new frontline staff to serve veterans and their families at Veterans Affairs offices.

* Working towards almost doubling the number of support and care staff to ensure that every veteran gets frontline personal support.

* Put more money in the pockets of over 65,000 Veterans by increasing the Disability Award to a maximum of $360,000.

* Increased the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 per cent of pre-release salary to support veterans during their recovery.

* Compensating veterans better, particularly those who are seriously ill and injured, with an expanded Career Impact Allowance (formerly the Permanent Impairment Allowance).

* Providing free mental health first aid training to the veteran community.

* Developed a new suicide prevention strategy between the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada to prevent suicide among our military members and veterans.

* Providing up to $80,000 in post-secondary education through the new education and training benefit.

* Assisting veterans transition to a post-military career through redesigned Career Transition Services.

* Recognizing the important work of informal caregivers in the veteran’s recovery with a $1,000 monthly, tax-free benefit paid directly to the caregiver.

* Expanding the Veteran Family Programs in all 32 Military Family Resource Centres for country-wide support to veterans and their families.

* Caring for veterans when they have an urgent need that is not covered under any current programs through the Veteran Emergency Fund.

* Helping veterans secure temporary shelter and affordable housing by partnering with organizations like VETS Canada.

* Increased support to families by increasing the estate exemption for funeral and burial costs through for those who have served and unfortunately passed away by doubling the Last Post Fund.

* Eliminating the one-year time limit and pressure on veterans’ spouses and survivors to apply to the Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Assistance Program so that they can take the time they need to grieve before returning to work.

* Proudly hosted the 2017 Invictus Games, the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured, and ill active duty and veteran service members.

I trust this provides a more truthful representation of the commitment that the Trudeau government has to the federal government’s commitment to veterans.

John Aldag, Member of Parliament, Cloverdale-Langley City

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