IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ Minister of Veterans Affairs must apologize to Mrs. Migneault and her family

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, après les stratégies qui consistaient à arriver en retard dans une rencontre et ensuite insulter les anciens combattants, le ministre a adopté une nouvelle stratégie hier: se sauver en courant, alors que la conjointe d'un ancien combattant lui demandait de l'aide.

    Tout ce que les anciens combattants et leurs proches demandent, c'est de l'écoute et du respect. C'est ce que le ministre était incapable de faire hier. C'est dégueulasse.

    Quand est-ce que le ministre va présenter ses excuses à Jennifer Migneault?

    Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, in respect of the veteran's privacy, we cannot speak about any assistance, support or contact that might have been provided to him or his family. That said, veterans with PTSD are eligible for a full suite of benefits and programs, including rehabilitation and financial support. As I reported several weeks ago, Veterans Affairs has been in touch with this individual and his family at the minister's direction.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, no apology is shameful. There is no other way to put it. What Canadians have seen from this minister and the government is a record of failure, mismanagement and running full speed away from accountability.

    Last January, the minister was caught belittling veterans. He spends millions of dollars on propaganda while closing offices that provide important personal services to veterans. Then yesterday, he completely ignored the spouse of a wounded soldier, actually running away in the other direction.

    When will this minister stop running away and agree to meet with veterans and their families?

    Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I can assure my hon. colleague and all members in this House, as they know full well, that the minister is deeply concerned and cares about Canada's veterans. As a matter of fact, Canadians know full well that this government has a strong record when it comes to defending our veterans when it comes to caring and providing the benefits and services. That is exactly the reason we have invested almost $5 billion in new additional funding since coming to office. We will continue to stand up for Canada's veterans, even though the New Democrats and the Liberals will vote against every single initiative.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, let us be clear that the NDP will proudly vote against any Conservative budget that cuts veterans' services.

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