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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 14:57 [p.28342]
Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Prime Minister, surrounded by Liberal candidates, including the member for Orléans and the Minister of National Defence, who are both veterans themselves, made a solemn promise that under his leadership, veterans would never, ever have to go to court to get their due. He broke that promise.
He also promised to restore the pension for life option in the proper way. That was another broken promise. We are not the ones saying so. It is veterans themselves, the ones who are the most affected by this affair, who are saying that the money is just not there for the pension for life option.
Why?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-29 14:48 [p.28261]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is the head of the government. He has many roles and responsibilities, but his primary duty consists of two fundamental objectives. First of all, he must ensure our great federation is politically united. Second, he must ensure that the government is there for our military personnel, and that includes giving them the honours they deserve.
Did the Prime Minister share the profound disappointment felt by Canadians and by our troops when they learned that the families of fallen Afghanistan war soldiers were excluded from the war memorial event?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-08 14:49 [p.23503]
Mr. Speaker, it is not just a matter of investments. This goes beyond the government's broken promises to veterans. We are talking about red tape and a lack of respect within Veterans Affairs Canada itself for the calls it receives from our brave men and women in uniform. I have heard stories from people who, every year anew, have to provide proof of having lost their arm in Afghanistan.
Does the government think it is right or fair to do that to our dedicated soldiers who often continue to serve here or abroad?
The Prime Minister needs to understand and commit today to reduce the department's red tape and burdensome rules.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-26 14:40 [p.17386]
Mr. Speaker, in the last 10 years, we increased all benefits. That is the story the Liberals do not want to tell.
Today, the Prime Minister has a golden opportunity to show that he still respects veterans. This evening, he can vote in favour of the opposition motion.
A prime minister simply cannot claim that veterans are asking for too much when his own government has been spending money recklessly day after day for three years.
Will the Prime Minister do the right thing this evening and vote in favour of the motion moved by Her Majesty's official opposition?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-15 13:27 [p.17305]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Saint-Laurent certainly knows that the Liberals did not invent the wheel when it comes to the veterans reintegration, rehabilitation services, and vocational assistance program.
I was the veterans affairs critic in 2015-16. The hon. member for Saint-Laurent is a member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. Perhaps she should do her homework. Maybe she did, but is not saying. She talked about the increased benefits under her government, and if that is true then that is great, but we did the same thing. We increased all the benefits. The first time the charter came into effect, in 2006, it was under Mr. Harper's Conservative government. Most benefits were increased.
However, we did not make sweeping promises during an election. We never over-promised anything, not for any sector of society.
Unfortunately, the hon. member did not touch on what we are talking about. I would like her to answer the following: does she think that it was honourable of the Prime Minister to solemnly promise in 2015, hand on his heart, that veterans should never, ever have to go to court to fight for their rights, when this very government has now allowed its Department of Justice to take veterans back to court in the Equitas Society case? Does she think that is acceptable and that the Prime Minister was right to break his promise to veterans? That was a solemn promise.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-15 13:32 [p.17306]
Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise today. I will be sharing my time with the member for Lakeland.
As usual, I would like to say hello to the many constituents of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching. Two months ago, as I was going door to door in Limoilou, I met a man who said that he listened to all of my speeches. He talked to me about how the festivals at Cartier-Brébeuf park cause noise disturbances. I want to say hello to him.
First, I would like to say that I am very passionate and care a lot about any issues that affect Canada's veterans, mainly for family reasons. On the Clarke side of the family, fathers and sons have served in the Canadian Armed Forces since 1890, and I was no exception. My great-grandfather, William Clarke, served in the First World War and the Boer War. My grandfather, Robert Clarke, served in the Second World War. My father, Patrick Clarke, served our country in Berlin during the German occupation in the 1970s. My brother, Anthony Clarke, served in Afghanistan in 2006 during the campaign in which most lives were lost. I served the country in the reserves and never went overseas. It is perhaps one my biggest disappointments that I was not able to serve this beautiful country in times of war.
My colleagues opposite say that we, as Conservatives, should be embarrassed about how we treated veterans. However, I just shared my family's and my history, and I am in no way embarrassed to be a Conservative. I assure my colleagues opposite that I am being sincere. If the Conservatives had acted poorly towards veterans, I would admit it, if I were minimally honourable and capable of analyzing public policy—which I am. This is not at all the case, however, and I will have to talk about everything that we did for veterans. This is not the primary focus of my speech, but I have no choice, because all the Liberal members have been saying since this morning that the Conservatives were horrible to veterans. Our treatment of veterans is not the focus of this opposition day. Today's focus is the following:
That the House call on the Prime Minister to apologize to veterans for his insensitive comments at a recent town hall in Edmonton and show veterans the respect that they deserve by fulfilling his campaign promise to them, when he said on August 24, 2015, that “If I earn the right to serve this country as your Prime Minister, no veteran will be forced to fight their own government for the support and compensation they have earned”.
Not only did the Prime Minister break this solemn promise in an egregious manner when he stated at a town hall in Edmonton that veterans were asking for too much, but he broke three other promises. The Prime Minister promised Canadians that, if they voted for him, he would restore lifetime pensions for veterans. He broke this promise because the lifetime pension established and presented by the Liberals before Christmas does not really restore the old lifetime pension. Most veterans who elect to pull out of the former system, which applies to those who fought before 2006, will not get 100% of the amounts they were receiving.
The Prime Minister also promised that veterans would not have to fight their own government to obtain the support and compensation they deserve. Yesterday, my great colleague from Barrie—Innisfil introduced a bill that proposes a covenant. It is a commitment, an agreement, or a contract. My colleague from Barrie—Innisfil probably wanted to enter into a proper contract with veterans by changing the Department of Veterans Affairs Act and compensation for the Canadian Armed Forces by amending section 4 of the act by adding the following:
...the Minister shall take into account the following principles:
(a) that the person, as well as their dependants or survivors, is to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness;
It is interesting, because the Prime Minister delivered a big speech here yesterday about the relationship that his government and Canada have with our brave indigenous peoples, who have been here for thousands of years. He said we do not need to change the Constitution, because section 35 already says that we recognize the rights of indigenous peoples. The Prime Minister said that instead, we need to change the way we view indigenous peoples and treat them with dignity and respect, and that is how we will give them the recognition they want.
However, that is exactly what my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil wrote in his motion on veterans. His motion called for the concept of treating veterans with dignity and respect to be incorporated into the act, so that bureaucrats and judges would take that concept into consideration when making decisions about veterans' benefits. Sadly, the Prime Minister voted against that motion yesterday. Is that not a shame?
I am disappointed, not only because the Liberals voted against this motion, but also because day after day in question period, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Prime Minister, and his veteran colleagues trot out the same hogwash about how the Conservatives treated veterans disgracefully. Those are lies.
Ours was the first government to implement the new veterans charter. We significantly increased virtually all of the compensation amounts. Every day in question period, rather than actually answering questions and apologizing for what the Prime Minister said, the Liberals spout off this kind of nonsense when what they should be doing is explaining how they intend to respect veterans, some of whom are meeting with a number of my colleagues outside.
Another thing I am disappointed about has to do with Bill C-357, a bill I introduced to create a grandfather clause for veterans wanting to transition to the public service. They could thus avoid having to work another five years to collect full retirement benefits. It is a very simple bill.
I have repeatedly requested a meeting with the Minister of Veterans Affairs. I even told him to forget about my bill and incorporate its amendments into the Treasury Board rules so that the 80 veterans who have to work an extra five years in Canada's public service to retire with dignity can benefit from the grandfather clause. The Minister of Veterans Affairs refused to meet with me. This would cost about $2 million. That is peanuts.
As a final point, in response to my colleagues, I want to point out what we, the Conservatives, have done since 2006. First, we created the position of veterans ombudsman. Second, we announced clinics for veterans affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. Third, we established the Veterans Bill of Rights, which is on my desk in Beauport—Limoilou. On top of that, we announced additional funding to support operational stress injury clinics.
Furthermore, we created the atomic veterans recognition program. We launched an outreach campaign with community partners to identify and support homeless veterans in the Montreal area. In addition, in 2010, we created a community war memorial program, because once again, veterans often need recognition. We also introduced benefits for seriously injured veterans, including the earnings loss benefit, to increase monthly financial support.
All of that was introduced by the Conservative government, and that is not all. We also improved access to the career impact allowance, another measure created by the Conservative government. Is that not incredible? We also created a $1,000 supplement to the career impact allowance for the most seriously injured veterans. That is another Conservative government measure. Lastly, let us not forget the flexible payment options for veterans and Canadian Forces members who are receiving a disability award. That is another Conservative government measure. Is that not incredible, Mr. Speaker?
Despite everything I just said, the bottom line is that the Prime Minister made a solemn promise in 2015, hand on heart and surrounded by top military brass who are now MPs. He said that veterans would never, ever have to fight in court for their rights.
That is what is going on. He broke his promise. There is nothing honourable about that. It is most unfortunate.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-15 13:43 [p.17307]
Mr. Speaker, we did not leave a mess. Concerning the Equitas Society, the hon. member for Durham came to a truce with them with dignity and respect, and said that when the Conservatives came back as the next government, they would continue to discuss together how to deal with this situation, which did not happen.
The reality is that the Prime Minister went further in his campaign and did politics on the backs of veterans, on the back of this court case, as he did politics this week on the back of a court case in Saskatchewan. He is always doing that. He did that with Equitas. This is the basis of the discourse today. With his hand on his heart, he said that veterans will never, ever have to fight the government for their rights. Then he broke his promise. This is what is happening today. This is what we are fighting against.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-15 13:47 [p.17308]
Mr. Speaker, I too have a great deal of respect for my NDP colleague who makes very impassioned speeches.
I have two answers that are short and to the point. The new veterans charter is a new paradigm for the treatment of veterans. It is not perfect. I would say that if it were up to me, I would get rid of the new veterans charter and go back to the old system, which had better pensions. A veteran should not have to prove that he suffered. When he returns home from war let us just give him what he is owed.
This new paradigm was put in place by the Paul Martin government in December 2005. Ours was the first government to work with this new paradigm, whereby veterans carry the burden of proof. They have to prove that they suffered mentally or physically. That is the problem. In the United States, the government has the burden of proof. If the Liberals want to improve the situation, they have to reverse the onus.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-15 14:30 [p.17316]
Mr. Speaker, on December 9, 2014, in a solemn and firm tone of voice, the member for Papineau said that “we have a sacred obligation to our veterans”. At the time, the member for Papineau claimed that as prime minister he would be the ultimate champion of our veterans' honour and rights.
Why then is he today shamefully reneging on his promise made in 2015?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-15 14:31 [p.17316]
Mr. Speaker, here is what veterans have to say. Don Sorochan, lead counsel for Equitas Society, said that the government's position was astonishing and for the Prime Minister to stand up and say that we do not have any special obligation to veterans was completely contrary to everything he has said in Parliament and everything that he said during the election campaign.
What is worse, the Prime Minister and veteran Liberal candidates made a solemn promise in 2015, with their hands on their hearts, that veterans would never, ever have to go to court to defend their rights. Those were nothing more than empty words.
When will the Liberals make good on their promises?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-01-31 14:58 [p.16597]
Mr. Speaker, veterans have made the solemn decision to turn to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In 2015, the Prime Minister promised them, hand on his heart, the return to a real pension for life. He also promised them that they would never ever have to take the government to court to fight for their own rights and their pensions. That is another broken promise. This time it affects our valiant veterans.
Will the Prime Minister honour the solemn promise he made in 2015 to our veterans or will he once again turn his back on our valiant soldiers?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-10-20 12:01 [p.14366]
Mr. Speaker, working for veterans is not just a matter of putting together beautiful public policy, it is a matter of reaching out, giving a hand, and listening. A year ago, there was a veteran on a hunger strike on the Hill. The minister refused to go and meet him. Today, the Desmond family is on the Hill. They need the minister's compassion. Will he go and meet them today, right now, after QP in a few minutes?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-02 14:19 [p.6462]
Mr. Speaker, the Great War ended on November 11, 1918, which we commemorate at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Today, it is a day to honour and remember our veterans and their efforts to defend Canada. As the official opposition critic for veterans affairs, I know how proud veterans are of their service to their country and, in return, I wanted to show them how proud I am to serve them and listen to them.
In November, all Canadians must be of service to and recognize our veterans for what they have done for Canada throughout their lives.
In that regard, I would like to bring to the attention of the House a veteran from Beauport—Limoilou, Raoul Fournier, who is now 92. This proud Second World War veteran is finding it difficult to get the care he needs. That makes me sad.
However, Remembrance Day will remind all of us to be there for our veterans and to ensure that we do not let them down.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-07 11:59 [p.5651]
Mr. Speaker, approximately 150 people participated in the veterans summit this week, yet one-quarter of them had never been in the Canadian Armed Forces and nearly half were not recipients of Veterans Affairs Canada programs or services.
Must I remind the minister that the point of this type of summit is to improve the benefits offered by his department, not to serve the Liberal government's own agenda?
The minister told veterans to be patient because he was still working on identifying the most pressing issues.
Why then does he not consult the veterans who are most affected by his department?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-06 15:03 [p.5603]
Mr. Speaker, what is happening with Mr. Lalancette, one of our veterans? Let me tell you. He has been on a hunger strike for three days and slept outside on Parliament Hill for three nights, but he has not received a visit from either the Prime Minister or his minister.
What the parliamentary secretary said yesterday in the House should worry all members. Some ministers are said to have used a parliamentary committee as a negotiating tool. We all know very well that the committees are mandated to take action beyond the reach of the government.
Why did this government make promises when it knew very well that it did not have the authority to keep them?
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