Walt, it's great to see you again. Thank you to you and your team for being here today. It's much appreciated.
As you know, Walt, I represent Halifax. Not only are we home to the east coast navy, 5th Canadian Division, the Mighty Maroon Machine, but across the harbour is 12 Wing Shearwater. I think we have in the Halifax area among the highest, if not the highest, concentration of veterans living anywhere in the country. This is a very important issue to me and veterans not just in Halifax but across the country.
First of all, I want to say thank you for your clarification with your water line analogy around the budget surplus at the end of the year. There have been some cynical efforts to frame that as a failure. Of course, any one of us would run our household accounts in the same way. To hear that those surplus monies, thin though they are, are turned back into the budget the following year is a good clarification.
I want to go after another cynical line of attack, which is that the backlogs are a sign of a failure. I believe that any successful organization or service is in demand. If there were no one lined up at the door, I would be more worried that perhaps VAC wasn't providing the services that are needed. I want to test that attempt to frame the backlog as a failure.
You've given us some metrics already around budget, hiring and all that, but you see where I'm going with this. I wonder if you could paint a picture, drawing on whatever programs or services you provide, whether they are the family resource centres, programs to transition to post-service life, or any of the suite, to help explain the popularity of the programs now. That could help explain why you're so much more busy and why you're so much more successful and that accounts for the increased demand.