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Results: 136 - 150 of 461
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
At the round table, you have some 70 organizations from across the country—some big, some small, some national in scope or ambition, and others extremely local. I was only there for an hour and a half before we had votes, but I would say that we are not there to talk; we're there to listen. Actually, I think the most exciting part of it is when they talk to one another. We're already seeing that dynamic around the various tables in the room.
Let me run through some of this for you. We have committed $4 million to the veterans emergency fund. As I think I mentioned to this committee before, one of the, I don't know, oddly humbling experiences was in my first brief with the deputy on my first day. The department, despite its vast budget, as members of this committee are well aware, doesn't have the flexibility to actually help an individual when we find out that somebody is homeless. I think members of the committee can take comfort in the fact that every single dollar seems to be earmarked. That's good from a taxpayer's point of view, and I'm happy to see that, but then we don't have flexibility.
We were relying on wills bequeathing funds. People will money for homeless veterans, but often under various conditions and often geographically specific. People want to help people in downtown Winnipeg, or people want to help people in Victoria. One of the deputy's jobs was just to figure out which trust fund or will bequeathment he could find to help a veteran get off the street, which was ridiculous. Now we have that flexibility. Certainly in a 24-7 news cycle, as soon as there's a news report that a veteran has been identified as homeless, everybody around this committee, and any Canadian, would say that we want to get him off the streets right now. Well, at least now we have the ability to act immediately. If they self-identify, we can worry later about where they served or whatever and just get them off of the streets immediately, which I think is really important.
To get back to the homelessness summit, generally speaking, as our colleague Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary, spoke to as well, this is getting people out of their silos so that we can really talk effectively about how we deal with this issue in order to eliminate it.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
I spoke specifically to the $22 million for communications to veterans, their families, and caregivers to make sure they're aware of the services that are available to them. I'm also keenly aware of the fact that this department, in terms of the benefits and services it provides, is going through an immense transition at the moment.
As I have said to veterans in various town halls, one of my key goals, and it's a personal goal of mine, is that much of what we do, whether it be pension for life, access to MFRCs, or easing transition and closing the seam, is alleviating anxiety. Anxiety can be a trigger for all sorts of things. There's anxiety with wait times and all these sorts of things. The irony is that with all these changes in new benefits and services, we're actually increasing anxiety. I'm hoping that's a temporary effect. It's just a lot of change to happen at once.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
There are two things. I want to bring up a very important point based on your earlier question. An important secondary aspect of the education benefit has been digital outreach, so we've been able to plow through this a lot sooner.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
When you say we're not exactly sure, or we can't tell you exactly how we're going to carry that backlog and make sure it's sustainable, we're still actually waiting to see how big the uptake is on electronic delivery. So far, it has been tremendous. That's an important variable that we haven't had to deal with before.
Going back to PTSD, because I want to get to the question—
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
I think we have to get beyond the idea of residential care, but I can—
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Yes.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Inevitably we will get to PTSD again, I'm sure, but in regard to residential care, we can talk about that later.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
We are indeed. There is representation from across the country, as I said, of some 70 organizations. The important thing, which will come out as everybody is talking to one another, is again the solutions that each one has found unique to their circumstances. I'm anxious to get back there and to spend as much time as I can there today.
We can talk about indigenous veterans, and there are particularities with indigenous care that are common across the country, but there are also specifics whether it be the north and what parts of the north, whether it be Winnipeg versus Saskatoon versus Halifax. That's why drawing upon local expertise is especially important. There are commonalities that people will reach and things that governments will learn from one another, and then there are some things that are extremely specific.
We don't have all the answers on that but what we can do is help support those who do.
That's why the family well-being fund is very important. I'm not keen on the name. I never have been because it's a bit innocuous, but really it is an innovation fund so that when you have great ideas, whether in a particular city or town or whatever, indigenous or otherwise, and they seem to be working, we can put money toward them to see whether or not they could work on a larger scale, to see if they are something that could perhaps work across the country or in similar communities. That gives us a tremendous advantage.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
I think the first thing we've done is attempt to change the culture of our front-line staff, which is something I think we talked about. I went to Charlottetown on day two, I think, and spoke to them. I think I might have mentioned this to the committee the last time I appeared here, but it's important to reiterate that we want them to be proactive. Don't hide the benefit of service because we're looking after the bottom line. Obviously, we want to keep an eye on that, but it's really important that we put the benefits and services in place to make sure people can avail themselves of them, right?
We're letting our front-line staff know to ask the questions they need to ask to make sure the veteran or caregiver or family member is availing themselves of everything we're working hard to fund for them. Hopefully, that culture change.... Actually, it's not hopefully: that culture change is taking effect, because word has gotten out.
There are days that, as minister of this department, I can tell you that Facebook and Twitter are the bane of my existence, but it can be very effective on the flip side in getting the word out; and the word has gotten out that (a) these new benefits and services are available, and (b) we will work hard to make sure you get them.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
I'll speak briefly to it, and then I'll have the deputy speak to it. I have spoken with the chief of the defence staff, and I think it's fair to say that he understands the importance. Universality of service is something that's kind of accorded to the military, and a former chief of defence staff would probably be better to speak to that than I.
However, seeing if we can attempt some flexibility here is something I think General Vance is looking at, because, ultimately, what that can provide us is putting the best people in the best places.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
If we have somebody who's unable to physically serve or has a particular mental capacity in which they can do some things but not others, is there room within the Canadian Armed Forces for them to do some things but not others? Is that possible? That is something we're deep-diving into, and he's open to it. Would that be fair to say?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Walter is whispering in my ear and this is something that we've heard particularly acutely in Belleville and in the Kingston area, although I think it applies to anywhere across the country. It just happens that they seem to be particularly vocal there. Access to regular physicians is part of a larger issue, and not just in remote and rural areas. Friends of mine who have lived in Toronto for 10-plus years don't have a regular family doctor and continue to rely on walk-in clinics. It's increasingly difficult to find a GP in this country. What I won't abide by and what we're attempting to rectify is having our veterans discriminated against by doctors because they don't want to have to fill out 40 pages of paperwork.
If veterans are having an even more difficult time than most Canadians finding a regular family physician, then we have a problem. We're attempting to see how we can streamline that and make things easier. It gets into the broader transition piece as well. If somebody had a regular family doctor or a regular doctor while they were in the military, how can we make that transition a little easier once they leave? Right now it's not only getting a different doctor, it's finding a different doctor. Then it's the file transfer. It's a lot to pile on. Where can we ease that? I think that's top of the list.
Results: 136 - 150 of 461 | Page: 10 of 31

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