Interventions in Committee
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Bernard Butler
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Bernard Butler
2017-05-01 17:12
It's a bit of challenging question, obviously, but I do welcome it.
When you look at comparisons to other countries, quite frankly, I think it's quite fair to look at service delivery models as well as the suite of benefits. However, again, context will very much influence what you discover as you go through that exercise. The other consideration for you—and the ombudsman alluded to that earlier—is the fundamental issue of the purpose, the outcome. What are we trying to achieve through veterans programming?
From our perspective, I would suggest that we are very much concerned with a number of issues. One is easing transition. One is the wellness and re-establishment concepts that were introduced in the new Veterans Charter, and validated by this committee and other studies since as being foundational. The other is essentially that support for finding a new purpose, finding successful transition both for the veteran and the family members.
I think that from a committee point of view you probably want to have a sense of against what framework you will make your determination. Simple dollar-for-dollar comparisons are never helpful. What is our programming really out to achieve? I would argue that it's out to achieve support for veterans and their families to achieve a sense of wellness and successful re-establishment and transition to civilian life.
There's one more example I'll give to you to consider. In budget 2017, the education benefit was one that I think I heard about in this very room. We met with stakeholders on the day of the budget. Some of them described that educational benefit as being transformational and being a landmark benefit. When you get into dollar-to-dollar comparisons of benefits, the challenge is how you put a monetary value on a paid university education for a veteran who's transitioning out and wants to do something different with his or her life. Now they have the opportunity to take a four-year program if they so choose. How do you put a monetary value on that?
That goes, basically, to this concept of what you believe we're trying to achieve collectively as a government, the people of Canada, for Canada's veterans. Again, from our perspective, from my perspective, I would argue it's achieving a sense of well-being for those veterans and for their families. Financial security is part of that, but there's a whole range of other dimensions associated with the transition.
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