Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That's interesting.
Does Veterans Affairs pay your lawyers' salaries?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In general, do your lawyers stay with the organization for a long time or is there significant staff turnover?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
Of course, the new veterans' charter came into effect in 2006. Would you like to share any observations on the impact of the charter on the type of cases you handle? I would like to hear your observations please.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
Has the number of lawyers in your office increased since 2006?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Has your office seen an increase in requests for your services since 2006?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That's interesting.
In closing, I would like to point out that the name of your organization, the Bureau of Pensions Advocates, does not necessarily reflect current realities. In fact, the new system does not deal with pensions alone.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Hello. Thank you for being here with us this evening.
Yesterday evening, when we were in Toronto—yes, that's right; we have moved around so much that I nearly forgot where we were last night—, the veterans we met mentioned some of the department's practices that they consider disgusting.
Are you aware of the department's good and not so good practices in its daily dealings with veterans?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Zimmerman, you talked about issues, and you put three of them forward, but you also talked a few times about injustice and unfairness. Could you expand more on this? Do you have a specific example of the unfairness of actions or of a delivery model that, according to you, is unfair and relates to some injustice?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You both talked about the option of restoring the disability pension. I would like to hear your views on that. Would you like it to be similar to the 1919 pension model or are you thinking of a different model?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Good evening, everyone.
Thank you very much for being with us tonight. It's an honour to have you here.
My name is Alupa Clarke, and I'm the MP for Beauport—Limoilou. It's a riding in the beautiful Quebec City, the oldest city in Canada. I'm also the official opposition critic for Veterans Affairs. I come from a military family. My father was military, my brother went to Afghanistan, and I just released last November.
My goal, and our goal, is really to be able to see what has happened since 2006 with the new Veterans Charter, how the system improved or did not improve the situation for veterans, and to make sure that we make a report that will put forward new changes to the NVC so that veterans have the delivery of service they should have. I also think it's very important that we take a look at the internal workings of the department to make sure there's a culture that's open to veterans.
These are some of the subjects I would like to hear about tonight, if you have anything to say about them. Thank you very much for being here. I very much look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Thank you.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Callaghan, you said you received a bunch of papers each year.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That was my next question, whether your paper work was from SISIP or the ministry—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay. From the beginning until last year, before Bill C-59, were you receiving money from SISIP?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Then since last summer, you started to receive earnings loss benefit from the new bill. Is that right?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Callaghan, obviously you're well educated, with a Ph.D. in anthropology—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
My wife is an anthropologist. I just wanted to ask, is it hard to fill out the papers as a Ph.D. candidate?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Are those all part of the bunch you received this morning, for example?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You said also that you find there's a lack of information coming from VAC to you, but they ask you for a whole load of information.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You said the diagnosis of the PTSD you are suffering from was not accepted by the ministry?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Just before turning to Madam Northey, I have a last question for you. I would first like to let you know that it would be good if you could send us the list of each of those papers that you have to fill out. I would like to know what exactly those forms are.
My other question for you is in regard to your saying you have concerns about the OSI clinic. You said you didn't really want to talk about it because you don't want to put it in jeopardy, but it will not be in jeopardy; it will stay there. I would like to hear those concerns you have about the way it is run.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Could you please write those concerns to the committee and send that through the clerk? Thank you very much.
Madam Northey, I'd like to hear what you have to say concerning the effectiveness of VAC. I think it might be true that they're not plan-centric, outcome driven.
I would just make note of this brainstorming here, so you know. There is the law that has services and benefits. On the other side, you have the veterans who are recipients of these delivery services or benefits, and you have VAC in the middle.
I'm mean I'm just going out there to try to find solutions. When I meet with VAC employees, they're all good people. I might say bad things right now, but it has nothing to do with the people working there.
Sometimes it seems that the ministry is more of an organization there to deal with the restraint budget and to allocate, in the most restrictive manner, the allowances and benefits and the service delivery. It seems it is that instead of being an organization which has to make sure that the people who most need it will receive the benefits and services and that they reach out to the most possible number of veterans.
In a way, its logic is more serving the state than it is serving the beneficiaries, who are the veterans. I think that's what you're saying.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Northey, the last five minutes were really interesting because, for a few weeks on this committee, we talked about the fact that before it took one year, and now it takes 16 weeks. You said that weeks are important in the waiting time for the approval or disapproval of benefits. You said it's important to calculate the outcomes and the expectations of results, but it's not necessarily what should be looked at first. That's very interesting, because it's like we're stepping out of the paradigm right now.
You said that the most important thing is to see if the expectations of the veterans—in this case it's veterans—are satisfied. But again I feel that's not the goal of the ministry, and maybe it should be looking at what's going on right now. I don't think they're trying to satisfy the expectations of veterans, but trying to satisfy the way the state wants to deal with veterans.
That was just an aside.
About the Legion, sir, I was at the 46th congress of the Legion in Newfoundland this weekend. I was talking to a lot of commanders in the province and everything. They are also getting sick and tired of civilians in the Legion. They say good things about that, of course, but they feel that civilians have turned the Legion into a social club to fill in times when they're bored, more than an organization for getting together and talking about problems that are realized and things of that sort.
I simply want to tell you that some officials in the Legion feel the same way as you do about the Legion.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
The only problem is that the common force of veterans is weakened as a result of the fact there are so many groups going their own way, but that's the reality.
You talk about denial by design. I would like you to maybe talk about that a little bit.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
So if the system is designed to find any possible way to deny the benefits, that means there is an unofficial rule, implicitly. Is that what you're suggesting?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Also, you talk about the disgusting practice like there being no stamp. I agree with you. I would be very, very mad if I had to add a stamp to send my information to the government, even more in the case of a veteran. Could you share with us other practices that you find disgusting?
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