Thank you, Chair.
Minister, I'm just going to read a portion of your mandate letter. I'm sure you're aware of it. It says that your mandate is to:
Improve transparency and communications so that Veterans and their families have clarity about and predictability of available benefits and services.
Minister, in December on the floor of the House of Commons I asked you a specific question on behalf of a veteran whose spouse had come home from her mental health appointment having been told by the doctor that in the new year those benefits would no longer be available to her. Your response to me was that there's been no change to policy and that they would continue to get benefits if it helped the veteran. Believe me; veterans are helped by their family members getting the care they need because they see their lives falling apart because of their health issues.
What concerns me, sir, is that you indicated there was no change of policy, but the veterans ombudsman went on to reveal that new restrictions were imposed not through a change in policy but more subtly through a reinterpretation of the existing rules of that bureaucracy.
Sir, I find this very disturbing, as do veterans. You know that there are more and more coming forward and concerned because of the semantics that were used to deal with this issue.
I would like to know who flagged this policy for review.