Rachel Blaney, NDP Critic for Veterans Affairs, is again disappointed in Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) treatment of past Canadian Forces members. “I haven’t held this portfolio for very long, and I’m already seeing a very concerning pattern with regards to how our veterans are treated by their government.”

In the most recent development, VAC revised a form that mental health providers fill and submit on behalf of veterans in order for them to access the supports and treatment options that VAC is required to provide. In developing the new, shorter form, VAC neglected to consult their own mental health committee. Murray Brewster, who ran the exclusive story on CBC, said “Some mental health professionals who treat soldiers and police officers with PTSD worry the newly streamlined form will lead to delays in treatment and disability awards.”.

“The last thing that veterans need is a longer delay for these important treatments. In fact, I hear all too often from veterans who have been left waiting” said Rachel in reaction to this story.

This news follows last week’s announcement that VAC had failed to meet 2/3 of its own service standards. Rachel brought this up during question period in the House of Commons on April 2:

  • Speaker, Veterans Affairs Canada has yet again failed to meet its service standards in two-thirds of its programs. Some results were as low as 23%. That is not acceptable. Most programs had even worse results than in the previous year. The problem continues.

The Liberals have had plenty of time to fix things for veterans and have failed to do so. It is an insult to every Canadian who has served this country. What will the government do to serve the people who served us so well?

Even though Rachel only recently became the NDP Critic for Veterans Affairs, she has been working with veterans in her riding of North Island – Powell River since she was elected in 2015. On becoming official critic, she brings with her a sense of the magnitude of the issues that veterans across Canada deal with every day. “I and my staff have been in contact with multiple veterans and veterans’ groups over the last few weeks. There is such a sense of frustration throughout the community that the problems they’re facing are not being taken seriously. Consecutive governments continue to let veterans down.”

Frustrating as it may be, the role of critic is also a fulfilling one. “Any changes that I can bring forward on behalf of veterans make a significant difference in their lives. That is why I got into politics, and why I will continue to bring their voices to the forefront in the House of Commons.”.

 

Jessie Gervais

Adjoint Législatif | Legislative Assistant, Bureau de Rachel Blaney | Office of Rachel Blaney Députée de | MP for North Island-Powell River