Veterans Affairs Minister ignors Auditor General recommendations, misleads Parliament on funding for Veterans

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the Auditor General blew the whistle on the Conservatives’ pitiful record when it comes to helping injured veterans. Adding insult to injury, we now learn the money they promised to veterans in a face-saving measure will actually be spread over not five years but over 50 years. Conservatives misled the House, they misled the public and they misled veterans. Why will the Conservatives not own up to their mistakes, and be honest with Canada’s veterans?

Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the investment announced by our government will not only help today’s veterans, but will also help veterans of the future.

When our government took office, there were only four operational stress clinics. We have already added 13 specialized military care facilities and our latest investment will add eight additional operational stress injury clinics. Across the country, we will continue to respond to today’s veterans’ needs as we move forward.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, that answer is simply not accurate. While the minister is failing to stand up and answer questions, his office confirmed yesterday that $159 million of the money announced will be spread over 50 years.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs ignored the Auditor General’s recommendations from 2009, closed veterans’ offices and targeted veterans who criticized him. After all that, did the minister really think that misleading the public over this funding announcement would help him out?

Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am not sure why the opposition is criticizing the investment that we are making to help Canada’s veterans in mental health care cases. We take veterans’ mental health care very seriously. That is exactly why we are introducing more clinics across the country, more health care professionals across the country and more places for veterans to get help. We are expanding the access to treatment right across this country, and we will continue to do that.