IN THE NEWS ~ UNSPENT FUNDS BY VETERANS AFFAIRS

Published | Publié: 2014-11-21

Received | Reçu: 2014-11-25 8:48 AM

CBC TV: Power and Politics

CBC TV: Power and Politics

 

HANNAH THIBEDEAU, CBC

Participants: PARM GILL, MARC GARNEAU, PETER JULIAN, PAT STOGRAN

HANNAH THIBEDEAU (NEWSCASTER):

WELCOME TO THE SHOW. EVAN IS AWAY TONIGHT. I'M HANNAH THIBEDEAU. MORE FALLOUT ON PARLIAMENT HILL AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY TODAY AFTER REVELATIONS 1.1 BILLION DOLLARS HAS BEEN UNSPENT IN THE VETERANS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT SINCE THE TORIES TOOK OFFICE BACK IN 2006. INSTEAD OF BEING REINVESTED IN OTHER NEEDS FOR VETERANS, THE MONEY WAS TRANSFERRED INTO GENERAL GOVERNMENT COFFERS. SO IS THE GOVERNMENT CUTTING CRITICAL SERVICES FOR VETS TO KILL THE DEFICIT OR IS THE OPPOSITION PLAYING POLITICS WITH WHAT IS JUST A STANDARD ACCOUNTING PRACTICE?

JOINING ME NOW IS THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTER OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, PARM GILL, PETER JULIAN, THE N.D.P. HOUSE LEADER AND MARC GARNEAU THE LIBERAL FOREIGN AFFAIRS CRITIC. THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME TODAY, GENTLEMEN. VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC. Mr. GILL, I WANT TO START WITH YOU. WE UNDERSTAND THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAVING BOOKED MONEY FOR VETERANS' PROGRAMS LAPSE DUE TO UNDERUSE ESSENTIALLY. SO WE TOOK A LOOK AT THE VETERANS AFFAIRS PLANNING AND PRIORITIES SUMMARY FOR HUMAN RESOURCES FOR 2012 TO 2015. FOR 2012-2013, THE DEPARTMENT HAD 3.5 BILLION DOLLARS BOOKED TO SPEND. FOR 2013-14, THAT DROPS TO 3.3 BILLION. IS IT THAT REPRESENT A CUT OF 200 MILLION?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. I WILL EXPLAIN YOU HOW. OBVIOUSLY ALL GOVERNMENTS HAVE RESPONSIBILITY, A, TO ENSURE THE STATUTORY FUNDING IS FULLY FUNDED. I WILL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. HYPOTHETICALLY -- WE HAVE TO USE OUR BEST ESTIMATE THE DEPARTMENT. LET'S ASSUME THAT WE'RE EXPECTING A HUNDRED THOUSAND VETERANS TO COME THROUGH THE DOOR AND APPLY FOR THE BENEFITS AND SERVICES AND HYPOTHETICALLY ONLY 70000 OR 80,000 ACTUALLY WALK THROUGH THE DOOR AND THE OTHER 20,000 THAT WAS SORT OF ESTIMATED THAT WOULD BE THERE, IF THEY DON'T SHOW UP, THE MONEY GOES BACK TO THE TREASURY BOARD. IT IS ACTUALLY ILLEGAL HYPOTHETICALLY LET'S SAY IF 100,001 WALK THROUGH THE DOOR AND FOR ONE EXTRA WE DIDN'T HAVE THE FUNDING AVAILABLE, THAT'S THE REASON WHY THE DEPARTMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT USES ITS ESTIMATES. WE ALWAYS PROJECT FOR SORT OF THE BEST CASE SCENARIO AND THIS IS NOTHING NEW. EVEN IF YOU GO BACK TO 2005 UNDER THE LIBERALS, EVEN THOUGH BACK THEN THE BUDGET WAS 2.7 BILLION DOLLARS, THEY ENDED UP RETURNING $111 MILLION BACK TO THE TREASURY BOARD FOR THE SAME REASON. I'M GOING TO COME BACK TO THAT. FIRST OFF, WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT'S LESS PEOPLE COMING THROUGH, IS THAT WHY THEY BUDGETED LESS MONEY?

NO.

IF YOU THINK OF IT IN THOSE YEARS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE MONEY. THE AFGHAN WAR WAS WINDING DOWN. THERE WOULD BE MORE PEOPLE WHO NEEDED SERVICES AFTER THAT.

I WILL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. FROM THE SECOND WORLD WAR THERE ARE STILL APPROXIMATELY 80,000 VETERANS OUT THERE THAT VETERANS AFFAIRS IS SERVING. THERE WERE ONLY APPROXIMATELY 39,000 IN THE 12 YEARS THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL THAT WENT TO SERVE IN AFGHANISTAN. YES, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THAT WAS 39,000. WE DON'T KNOW YET IN TERMS OF HOW MANY HAVE ACTUALLY LEFT THE MILITARY. SOME OF THOSE MAY STILL BE IN THE MILITARY. SO THE NUMBER THAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT, THE SECOND WORLD WAR VETERANS ARE STILL FAR MORE COMPARED TO THE AFGHAN WAR. I KNOW WHERE YOU'RE COMING FROM. THOSE NUMBERS AREN'T NECESSARILY FACTORED INTO THIS.

200 MILLION NOT A CUT THEN.

ABSOLUTELY NOT A CUT. OKAY. SO JUST ONE QUICK THING, WERE THOSE PROPOSED CUTS A RESULT OF THE TREASURY BOARD OBJECTIVE THAT YEAR OF FINDING 4 BILLION IN SAVINGS SINCE 2012 TO BRING THE BUDGET BACK INTO ORDER.

WHEN IT COMES TO VETERANS, ABSOLUTELY NOT. WE HAVE GOT TO MAKE SURE, GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY VETERAN THAT QUALIFIES FOR THEIR BENEFITS RECEIVES THOSE BENEFITS. AND THAT'S AN OBLIGATION WE HAVE. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE. SO THE FUNDING IS ALLOCATED BASED ON PROJECTIONS, ESTIMATES, HOW MANY VETERANS WE SEE OR ANTICIPATE WILL WALK THROUGH THE DOOR. SO ALWAYS WE HAVE TO KEEP THE BIT OF THE EXTRA CONTINGENCY IN CASE THERE'S EXTRAS THAT ARE COMING THROUGH. THIS HAS BEEN THE TREND EVERY SINGLE YEAR. THIS IS NOTHING NEW. EVEN IF YOU GO BACK TO 2005 DURING THE LIBERAL YEARS, SAME THING WAS HAPPENED, 111 MILLION WAS RETURNED TO THE TREASURY. IT WAS NOT USED.

GO AHEAD, Mr. JULIAN.

THE CONSERVATIVES TALK ABOUT VETERANS WALKING THROUGH THE DOOR. THERE ARE NO DOORS TO WALK THROUGH. THEY SAID TO VETERANS GO ONLINE AND FIND HELP THAT WAY. AND THEY TALK ABOUT NO VETERANS BEING DENIED THE APPROPRIATE BENEFITS. 50%, ABOUT HALF OF THE VETERANS WHO ARE DISABLED AND APPLY FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS AREN'T GETTING THEM. WHAT WE SEE IS SYSTEMATIC REFUSAL OF VETERAN SUPPORTS. WE'RE SEEING THIS IN VETERANS. REMEMBRANCE DAY GOT AN EARFUL FROM VETERANS, MANY OF WHOM SUPPORTED THE CONSERVATIVES IN THE PAST ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGED HOW THEY'RE BEING TREATED NOW BECAUSE OF THESE CUTS. LOST A THOUSAND STAFF IN VETERANS AFFAIRS. THIS IDEA THAT SOMEHOW NOBODY HAS BEEN IMPACTED BY THE MONEY THEY PULLED AWAY FROM VETERANS IS SIMPLY ABSOLUTELY FALSE.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT? I HAVE HEARD THAT CRITICISM AS WELL FROM VETERANS. WHY ARE THEY GIVING THIS MONEY BACK? THERE ARE PROGRAMS THAT ARE NEEDED.

WITH ALDO RESPECT TO MY COLLEAGUE HERE, HE'S BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH, UNDERSTANDS THE PROCESS AND FOR HIM TO BE SITTING NEXT TO ME AND PLAYING POLITICS WITH THIS ISSUE IS UNFORTUNATE.

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THAT QUESTION? AND I AM GOING TO ANSWER THAT. THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION IS, OF COURSE, THERE IS A SET OF CRITERIA THAT VETERANS HAVE TO MEET TO QUALIFY FOR BENEFITS. AND I CAN ASSURE YOU, EVERY VETERAN THAT QUALIFIES FOR THOSE BENEFITS WILL RECEIVE THOSE BENEFITS. IT'S GOT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH GOVERNMENT CUTS. VETERANS AFFAIRS WAS ACTUALLY LEAST AFFECTED BY OUR DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN.

I WANT TO BRING IN Mr. GARNEAU HERE. YOU BROUGHT UP A VERY VALID POINT, THE FACT THAT THERE WAS $111 MILLION LAPSE IN 2005 UNDER THE LIBERALS. DOES THIS BECOME A QUESTION OF HAVING TO CHANGE THAT PROCESS SO THAT MONEY CAN BE -- THAT DIRECTED REVENUE COULD BE DOLLARS IN THE PAST 8 YEARS. THAT'S EVERY YEAR. THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY THAT IS NOT USED. TO KEEP THOSE 9 SERVICE CENTRES OPEN THAT THE VETERANS HAVE BEEN BEGGING FOR WOULD COST A FEW MILLION A YEAR. NOW, WHEN OVER 1.1 BILLION DOLLARS IS REASSIGNED TO THE TREASURY AND 9 SERVICE CENTRES ARE CLOSED WHEN OUR VETERANS ARE BEGGING FOR THEM TO BE LEFT OPEN BECAUSE THEY WANT TO TALK TO A PERSON AS OPPOSED TO TALK TO A TELEPHONE, THIS GOVERNMENT IS VERY, VERY CLEARLY TOTALLY DEAF TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF OUR VETERANS.

IS THIS THE WAY TO EXPLAIN IT THEN? YOU HAVE THIS MONEY. IT'S ALLOCATED FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE. TO REALLOCATE IT TO SOMETHING ELSE, IS THAT WHY YOU PUT IT BACK IN GENERAL REVENUES BECAUSE YOU CAN'T REALLOCATE THAT MONEY TO SOMETHING ELSE FOR PTSD OR FOR KEEPING THOSE VETERANS CENTRES OPEN?

OF COURSE. EACH YEAR, THE DEPARTMENT SETS A BUDGET FOR DIFFERENT PROGRAMS THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR CANADA'S VETERANS. IF THAT MONEY IS NOT USED ACCORDING TO ALL OF THOSE PROGRAMS THAT WERE MADE AVAILABLE THAT YEAR, THAT MONEY GOES WAC TO THE TREASURY BOARD. WHAT I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND WITH RESPECT TO BOTH MY COLLEAGUES HERE, THEY REFER TO THE 9 DISTRICT OFFICES THAT WERE CLOSED, THEY UNDERSTAND, THEY KNOW WHAT THE FACTS ARE. THE FACTS ARE THAT VERY FEW, ON AVERAGE IN SOME INCIDENTS, TWO TO THREE VETERANS WALKING IN THROUGH THAT DOOR. WHAT WE DID TO BE RESPONSIBLE TO CANADIAN TAXPAYERS IS ALSO TO SERVE CANADA'S VETERANS, WE MADE SURE THAT VETERANS HAD ACCESS TO 600 SERVICE CANADA POINTS OF SERVICE. THE DISTRICT OFFICE --

THE VETERANS PUSHED BACK AND THEY PROTESTED IT. IT'S SIMPLY WRONG. WHAT YOU HAVE SAID IS FACTUALLY WRONG. VETERANS SAID KEEP THOSE OPEN AND YOU REFUSED.

GIVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY, PLEASE. LET ME FINISH, IF YOU DON'T MIND. THEY DID WANT TO KEEP THOSE CENTRES OPEN. WE HEARD FROM VETERANS.

THAT'S BECAUSE OF A LOT OF MISINFORMATION. LET ME FINISH MY POINT. THE 9 DISTRICT OFFICES THAT ENDED UP CLOSING, MAJORITY OF THEM WERE EITHER IN THE SAME BUILDING OR WITHIN A KILOMETRE OF SERVICE CANADA. B, WHAT WE MADE SURE AS A GOVERNMENT WAS WE MADE SURE THAT A FULLY TRAINED VETERANS AFFAIRS CANADA EMPLOYEE WAS STATIONED IN EACH ONE OF THOSE SERVICE CANADA LOCATIONS. SO IF A VETERAN WALKS INTO THAT SERVICE CANADA LOCATION, THEY ARE RECEIVING THE SAME SERVICE. THEY ARE DEALING WITH AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS FULLY TRAINED AND THEY ARE DEALING WITH THAT FAMILIAR FACE.

AS YOU CAN SEE, Mr. GILL IS STILL DEAF TO OUR VETERANS. HE IS BELIEVING HIS OWN RHETORIC, HIS OWN MESSAGING. AND THE FACT IS IT WOULD HAVE COST A FEW MILLION. THEY COULD HAVE THROUGH SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES REASSIGNED THAT MONEY TO KEEP THOSE SERVICE CENTRES OPEN. NO, THEY DID NOT DO IT. THIS IS THE PROBLEM HERE. THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND. THEY TALK A GOOD TALK ABOUT OUR VETERANS. THEY DON'T FOLLOW THROUGH.

JUST WANT TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND. THIS IS TO HELP ME UNDERSTAND HERE. IS THIS POTENTIALLY THE DEPARTMENT NOT ALLOCATING THE MONEY PROPERLY? IS THAT A POTENTIAL?

NO. ABSOLUTELY. THAT'S NOT A POTENTIAL. LIKE I SAID, OF COURSE WE AND THE DEPARTMENT TRY TO COME UP WITH THE BEST CASE SCENARIO. WE ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE. WE ALWAYS HAVE TO PROJECT AND KEEP CERTAIN AMOUNTS OF CONTINGENCY. SO THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS.

CONTINGENCY THAT GOES BACK INTO GENERAL REVENUES?

YES, ABSOLUTELY. THAT GOES BACK INTO GENERAL.

$750 MILLION WORTH OF VERY PARTISAN PUBLICITY TO GET THEMSELVES REELECTED.

OR TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY WHICH SEEMS TO BE THE CONSERVATIVE'S PRIORITY RIGHT NOW. THEY CUT A THOUSAND EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR DEPARTMENT. SO THE IDEA THAT SOMEHOW EMPLOYEES ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP VETERANS IS SIMPLY ABSURD. AND HALF OF THE DISABLED VETERANS WHO DESPERATELY NEED THE BENEFITS THAT ARE NORMALLY SUPPLIED TO DISABLED VETERANS CAN'T GET THEM BECAUSE OF THIS GOVERNMENT'S APPROACH. PEOPLE DENIED, VETERANS WHO LAID THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR THE COUNTRY ARE TREATED DESPICABLY.

Mr. GILL, JUST THERE ARE SOME VETERANS OUT THERE WHO WANT TO HAVE OTHER PROGRAMS DIRECTED TOWARDS THEM. IS THERE A WAY THAT THIS GOVERNMENT INSTEAD OF PUTTING THAT MONEY BACK IN GENERAL REVENUES, COULD YOU INTRODUCE LEGISLATION THAT A PERCENTAGE COULD STAY AND BE REALLOCATED SOMEWHERE ELSE WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT?

LISTEN, AS A GOVERNMENT, WE'RE ALWAYS LISTENING, ALWAYS RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF CANADA'S VETERANS. THIS IS PART OF THE REASON WHY THE MINISTER AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE CONSTANTLY -- I JUST LAST FRIDAY MET WITH 12 DIFFERENT LEGIONS IN OWEN SOUND DISCUSSING THE SAME VERY ISSUES. ABSOLUTELY, ARE THERE AREAS OF OPPORTUNITIES, IMPROVEMENTS, ABSOLUTELY. I GIVE YOU THAT. NOTHING IS PERFECT. AND WE'RE ALWAYS TRYING TO MAKE THE SYSTEM BETTER, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO OUR VETERANS. AND, YOU KNOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT CUTS HERE. LET ME JUST GIVE YOU ANOTHER FACT. SINCE OUR GOVERNMENT TOOK OFFICE, WE HAVE SPENT OVER 30 BILLION DOLLARS AND THAT'S ADDITIONAL 5 BILLION DOLLARS SINCE TAKING OFFICE IN NEW DOLLARS. SO MY COLLEAGUES HERE TALK ABOUT CUTS. ABSOLUTELY NONSENSE. COMPARED TO THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WHEN THEY WERE IN POWER IN 2005, WE HAVE SPENT OVER 5 BILLION DOLLARS IN ADDITIONAL FUNDS.

OKAY. I WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU FOR COMING IN. PARM GILL, PETER JULIAN, MARC GARNEAU. I APPRECIATE YOUR TIME ON SUCH AN IMPORTANT TOPIC. THAT WAS THE POLITICAL VIEW. WHAT DO VETERANS MAKE OF THIS PROCESS? SHOULD MONEY ALLOCATED TO FUND VETERANS' PROGRAMS BE RETURNED TO GENERAL GOVERNMENT COFFERS IF IT'S UNSPENT? ARE VETERANS ABLE TO ACCESS THE PROGRAMS THEY REALLY NEED? JOINING ME NOW WITH HIS VIEW FORMER VETERANS OMBUDSMAN, RETIRED COLONEL, I WANT TO GET YOUR REACTION IN TOTAL TO THAT INTERVIEW. YOU LISTENED TO THE WHOLE INTERVIEW.

IT KIND OF INDICATES WHAT I WAS SAYING WHEN I LEFT THE OFFICE OF THE VETERANS' OMBUDSMAN. I IDENTIFIED BACK IN THE DAY, STAFF IDENTIFIED, THAT THESE PROGRAMS GO UNDERSPENT. THE DEPARTMENT MAKES THOUGH EFFORT TO REACH OUT AND GRAB THE PEOPLE THAT NEED THESE PROGRAMS. WE WITNESSED THAT IN THE CLOSING OF THE DISTRICT OFFICES. YOU KNOW, THEY CAN POUR ALL THE MONEY IN IF THEY WANT, AS LONG AS THEY'RE NOT DPRABING THE VETERANS AND HELPING THEM THROUGH, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO SPEND IT. I CAN DIE A FULFILLED PERSON. WE'RE SEEING THIS PLAY OUT IN REALITY.

WE HEARD FROM MP PARM GILL. HE SAYS VETS ARE GETTING THE SERVICES THEY NEED.

YOU KNOW, EITHER HE BELIEVES HIS RHETORIC OR THE PARTY'S RHETORIC OR OUT OF TOUCH.

WHAT SERVICES AREN'T BEING OFFERED?

WELL, RIGHT ACROSS THE BOARD. START AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL IN TERMS OF THE DOUBLE AND TRIPLE AMPUTEES NOT AFFORDED ACCESSIBLE HOMES AND ACCESSIBLE MODIFICATION TO THEIR HOMES. THERE IS THE HOMELESS PEOPLE. OUR APPROACH TO DEALING WITH THE HOMELESS VETERANS HAS BEEN AKIN TO THROWING CHAINS TO A PERSON ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND THINKING THAT'S GOING TO CLEAN UP THE PROBLEM. IT'S A DESPERATE SITUATION. VETERANS DON'T KNOW HOW TO REACH OUT FOR HELP THAT ARE ACTUALLY KILLING THEMSELVES. I SUBMIT IT'S THE LACK OF THE PERSONAL CONTACT. IT'S TIN ABILITY OF THE BUREAUCRACY TO REACH OUT AND REALLY AFFECT CHANGE IN THE VETERAN COMMUNITY.

YOU'RE HERE SPEAKING, WITH HE HEAR FROM OTHER VETERANS AS WELL. WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO HEAR WHAT YOU'RE SAYING? OH, I DON'T KNOW. YOU KNOW, THE LAST TIME I APPEARED BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERAN AFFAIRS. THE NOW DISGRACED SENATOR PAMELA WALLIN SHOOK HER HEAD AND COULDN'T BELIEVE MY ALLEGATIONS THAT THE BUREAUCRACY WOULD BE SO DECEITFUL AND HAVE THE INTENT TO CHEAT VETERANS. THIS IS THE WAY I FEEL. THIS IS AN EASY PROBLEM TO FIX. IT WOULD BE VERY AFFORDABLE, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WE SEE GOING BACK TO THE CENTRE AT THE END OF EVERY YEAR.

EASY PROBLEM TO FIX, HOW WOULD YOU FIX IT?

EMPOWERING THE CASE MANAGERS. THE VERY PEOPLE JULIAN FANTINO ACCUSED OF TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE VETERANS, PEA SACK EMPLOYEES THAT ACCOMPANIED Mr. CLARK TO OTTAWA ON HIS MEETING WITH MINISTER FANTINO. THOSE CASE MANAGERS --

IT'S A PART OF THEM UPSET ABOUT THE FACT THEY WERE CLOSING THESE OFFICES.

YES, YES.

IT'S THOSE CASE MANAGERS WHO KNOW THE VETERANS AND KNOW WHAT THEY CAN AND CAN'T DO AND WHO ARE FRUSTRATED BECAUSE INDEED TRAUMATIZED BECAUSE THEY CAN'T HELP VETERANS THE WAY THEY WANT TO. AND, YOU KNOW, AS MUCH AS I WAS INTEGRATED INTO THE VETERANS' COMMUNITY AS THE OMBUDSMAN, I MET MANY MANY EMPLOYEES WHO ARE DISGUSTED WITH THEIR INABILITY TO SERVE THE VETERANS THEY FEEL DESERVE IT.

HOW WOULD YOU EMPOWER IT?

IT WOULD HAVE TO START WITH THE TALK. AS MUCH HOPE AS PEOPLE ARE HOLDING OUT FOR THE NEW DEPUTY MINISTER, THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING. IF I WAS DEPUTY MINISTER, IT WOULD CHANGE. I CAN'T COMMENT ON WALT. I KNOW THINGS WERE ALLOWED TO VIS-A-VIS THE VETERANS' PORTFOLIO WERE ALLOWED TO SLIDE WHEN HE WAS THE CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF. HE HAD ANOTHER PUBLIC SERVANT JOB. AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, THE PROOF WILL BE IN THE PUDDING IN THIS CASE. YOU DON'T HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN THE BUREAUCRACY OR THE POLITICIANS.

OH, HANNAH, HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? I SPENT TWO YEARS OF MY LIFE SERVING IN WAR ZONES OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE MOST TRAUMATIZING EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD IS HOW THE VETERANS OMBUDSMAN WITNESSING HOW THESE PEOPLE ARE BEING SYSTEMATICALLY CHEATED JUST AS THE OPPOSITION SAID IN YOUR LAST PANEL DISCUSSION, BEING SYSTEMATICALLY CHEATED OUT OF BENEFITS THEY HAVE EARNED WITH THEIR BLOOD AND SACRIFICE. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN SEE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING IN A POSITIVE MANNER? FOR VETERANS?

YOU KNOW, I WOULD HAVE TO SAY GLOBALLY NO. WHATEVER IS HAPPENING ON THE POSITIVE SIDE IS INCONSEQUENTIAL TO THE MAGNITUDE OF THE DEVASTATION IN THE VETERANS COMMUNITY RIGHT NOW. WE SHOULDN'T BE NICKEL DIMING WITH THESE KIND OF DEBATES. THERE SHOULD BE A FULL ROYAL COMMISSION, A FULL PUBLIC INQUIRY. AND I THINK CANADIANS WHEN THEY SEE HOW MALL FEESANT AND MALEV VENT THEY HAVE BEEN, CANADIANS WILL BE DISGUSTED WITH THEIR GOVERNMENT TO THE POINT THEY WANT A HOUSE CLEARING RIGHT FROM THE GROUND UP. PAT STOGRAN THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME TODAY. I APPRECIATE YOUR TIME. MORE ON THIS STORY LATER IN THE SHOW. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT GOVERNMENT SPENDING KIND OF A REALITY CHECK FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICERS. COMING UP ON "POWER & POLITICS," THROW, ONTARIO AND QUEBEC AGREE TO A COMMON STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH A PROPOSED TRANS-CANADA EAST PIPELINE. TRANS-CANADA WANTS TO SEND ALBERTA OIL TO REFINERIES IN EASTERN CANADA. WHAT THE PROVINCES ARE ASKING FOR. FIRST, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. HERE'S OUR BALLOT BOX QUESTION. DO YOU SUPPORT SENDING ALBERTA OIL EAST THROUGH ONTARIO AND QUEBEC? LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. GO TO THE BALLOT BOX SECTION OF OUR FACEBOOK PAGE OR CBCNEWS.CA OR TWEET ME DIRECTLY OR SCAN THE QR CODE AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR SCREEN. IT WILL TAKE YOU INSTANTLY TO OUR BALLOT BOX. IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS ON ANYTHING YOU HEAR IN OUR SHOW ABOUT THE VETERANS' ISSUE, ABOUT WHAT RETIRED COLONEL PAT STOGRAN HAD TO SAY. ON YOUR SCREEN, ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN GET IN TOUCH WITH US. WE WILL BE POSTING REACTION IN OUR COMMENT BOX THROUGHOUT THE SHOW. MORE ON OUR BALLOT BOX QUESTION COMING UP. BACK IN ONTARIO, TEAMING UP FOR A JOINT EFFORT ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT, WHAT ARE THESE TWO POWERHOUSE MINISTERS HOPING TO ACHIEVE? RIGHT NOW, A CONFERENCE OF GLOBAL MILITARY DEFENCE LEADERS IS UNDER WAY IN NOVA SCOTIA. SECURITY IS TIGHT. WHAT'S ALL THE TALK BEHIND THE SCENES?

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