IN THE HOUSE ~ Questions ~ why did the Conservative gov't pull away over $1 billion from our nation's veterans?

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, plusieurs regroupements d'anciens combattants, incluant la Légion canadienne, veulent savoir pourquoi les conservateurs ont retenu autant du financement destiné à aider les anciens combattants. Plus d'un milliard de dollars a été enlevé des anciens combattants et versé au Fonds consolidé. C'est dégueulasse. C'était de l'argent promis aux anciens combattants. Est-ce que les conservateurs ont une explication pour nos ex-militaires qui attendent toujours d'obtenir les services dont ils ont besoin?

    Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the assertion made in that question is absolutely false. All governments always ensure that statutory funding is fully funded to ensure that there is no shortfall. This is a completely normal practice.

    Veterans Affairs' expenditures have increased from $2.7 billion when the Liberals were in government to $2.5 billion last year.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Conservatives suggested that lapsed funding would simply just be carried forward. I have right here a page from this year's Public Accounts, and of the $167 million lapsed last year, zero, zilch, not a penny of that money will be carried forward. The Conservatives misled veterans. How despicable

    The Canadian Legion and Canada's veterans deserve honest answers. Will Conservatives explain why they slashed services and closed offices, and why they pulled away over $1 billion from our nation's veterans?

    Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, the assertion made in that question is absolutely false. All governments always ensure that statutory funding is fully funded to ensure that there is no shortfall. This is a completely normal practice.

    As approved in the last year of the Liberal government, Veterans Affairs lapsed $111 million, which is $111 million in one year of a much smaller budget.

    It is a simple fact that Veterans Affairs' expenditures have increased under our government.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Here are the facts, Mr. Speaker.

    The fact is, the Conservatives are slashing services for veterans. The fact is, there are fewer mental health professionals helping Canadian Forces members and veterans. The fact is, Conservatives shut down eight regional offices: “Find some help onlineâ€�, they say to our nation's vets. The fact is, they denied disability benefits to half of our country's disabled veterans. However, they did increase one thing: $11 million on media monitoring for Conservatives while our veterans live in poverty.

    When will the Conservatives apologize to those who served our country, and when will they restore the services they cut to our nation's veterans?

    Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, our government has a strong record when it comes to standing up for Canada's veterans.

    Our government has spent over $30 billion since taking office in 2006. That is $5 billion more in additional new dollars. We will continue to stand up for Canada's veterans.

 

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