Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for coming. There are so many things to go through, and I understand it's a very complicated thing to wade through all this. Thank you for all your work on this.
Among the things that have been done when we talk about service delivery.... As you know, we reopened nine of the veterans service centres and then opened an additional one. Have you had any feedback on the ability of veterans to receive their services since those have been reopened?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you for coming, Mr. Thibeau.
You were talking about issues of outreach and about our needing to get better services out to people in isolated areas in the north and, for the services that are available to them, getting the information to them. Have you any suggestions for us as to how we can do that?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you all for coming.
I don't know who can best answer this, but as you know, the Veterans Affairs offices have been opened across the country. Has that improved the ability to provide services to veterans? Has there been value added to this?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I very much appreciate the opportunity to come here today.
Thank you very much to the witnesses for coming.
I want to mention that I have an indigenous poppy. Someone asked me what this was, and they didn't know it was a poppy. My wife made it. It took around 10 hours of bead work. I'm very happy that I'm wearing it today. It's not some strange flower or something.
As an indigenous person, I find it very interesting to be here to participate in an immigration debate. We've had the French come, and the British in these waves, and every time we've always looked down upon these people as being somehow not worthy of coming, as being a drain. We said that about the Irish, the Ukrainians, the Italians, the Sikhs, and the Chinese, in all these successive waves that have come to our country. I've heard some interesting facts and figures and I'd love to gain a little bit more understanding of that.
My first question is related to the 2016 immigration levels plan. It shows that the government intends to admit around 80,000 family class immigrants, of which 20,000 are to be parents and grandparents. In your view, are these targets adequate? If not, why? What are the implications of these targets with respect to family reunification, and why are families important to people? Why should we allow families in? Should we be concentrated on only the economic aspect or are there additional aspects that are important when people come to this country?
The question is for all three.
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you, everyone, so much for coming.
Mr. Gannon, you mentioned working at Deer Lodge. I actually live very close to Deer Lodge. It's in my riding. When I was in medical school, it was where we first learned to examine patients. They had volunteer patients who let us practise on them, basically.
I understand there are OSI clinics in places like Deer Lodge. Could you give us some suggestions as to what VAC could do to improve these OSI clinics?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you. It's good to hear that they are on the ball trying to do some more good work on that.
Mr. Mac Culloch, different types of personnel carry out peacekeeping duties. There are military, RCMP, and civilians who work there. Would you say there are large differences in how these three different populations would transition after a peacekeeping tour?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you.
If plans go ahead to increase our peacekeeping duties, we will see more former peacekeepers needing these services. These new up-and-coming peacekeepers notwithstanding, do you foresee an increasing number of former peacekeepers needing these services over time? Is it going to drop off, or are we going to see more peacekeepers from these previous missions wanting care for, say, delayed diagnoses of...?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you.
I can attest to that from personal experience with my father, who from the RCMP. His PTSD manifested decades later.
Ms. Michaud, I read in your brief how the family is such an important part of the life of military members, both when they are serving and when they become veterans. You might have said this in the presentation, but how could Veterans Affairs better integrate families into this process?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Again, this is encouraging, in that it sounds like something that doesn't involve a lot of energy and resources. They sound like very straightforward recommendations.
One of the things that was talked about earlier was that if someone is being medically released, they should have everything set up before they go. Now, are you receiving any push-back from the Department of National Defence? For those who are advocates of universality of service, if someone is injured and cannot serve in many capacities, has there been any push-back to your plan in saying that these people have to be retired from the service because they're no longer universal for service?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
That's great. That is very good to hear.
We've had a lot of meetings where we hear a lot of things that are disheartening. It's nice to be hearing some potential good news here.
In regard to getting things set up, one of the challenges which a lot of members have talked about is that when you're in the Department of National Defence, you have a physician. Once you're in VAC, you're looked after through the provincial health care system for your health care needs and you have to find a doctor.
I'm an emergency physician, and I see patients come to my department for all of their medical care because, after a year of trying, they can't find a family doctor. Would your recommendations have a plan so that perhaps between National Defence and VAC, it could have someone set up with a regular family doctor for their care under VAC before they're released?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Good. Okay.
Part of the medical care is medical records. We've heard a lot of testimony that it takes a long time to get medical records. Would these recommendations assume there would be a robust system that medical records would also be transferred over and in the possession of the receiving medical care practitioner before the member is released?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
All right.
This is good. I guess this is a fortunate difficulty in that the questions are being answered in a straightforward manner. I was assuming the answers were going to take longer, but you're being very straightforward, which is actually helpful.
As part of the transition process, all the veterans have talked about the importance of their families in that. Bringing families into the loop as to what the process is while under the Department of National Defence and setting up, would this be part of this process as well?
View Dan Vandal Profile
Lib. (MB)
What can the federal government do to help you play your role as an immigration worker more effectively?
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you all for coming here, and thank you for your service. It is very much appreciated.
We've talked about the deficiencies in OSI. Are there things that are working well with OSI, and are there things within that system that they might be able to improve to make it better?
I'll start with Mr. Doucette.
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