The minister says he wants to help veterans, and that is a good thing. Therefore, he must get rid of the department's sometimes abusive bureaucracy once and for all, as it is characterized by a structure that too often dismisses veterans' requests and needs.
We must acknowledge one irrefutable fact: our veterans suffered in battle and they often return with problems that give rise to terrible mental health issues or physical conditions. These men and women in uniform not only made personal sacrifices. Above all, they dedicated their lives to serving Canada by defending our political principles, which from time to time vacillate even here in the House.
That is why those who are forced to leave the Canadian Armed Forces for medical reasons more often than not feel bitter and betrayed and as though they have lost their country's support for their commitment and ultimately for themselves.
The current veterans' movement includes a multitude of groups and claims often involving an increase in financial benefits.
I truly believe that these financial claims are motivated by injuries that go much deeper and require systemic help that goes far beyond any specific amount of money.
Veterans want respect from their own department, Veterans Affairs Canada. This department, which is the main source of assistance for our veterans in need, has to make major changes to its administrative approach and its established culture. The government needs to take real action on this, not just make announcements with no real meaning.
I believe that the Minister of Veterans Affairs needs to launch a comprehensive review of his department's administrative culture, including a review of staff conduct and of the regulations and structures that determine employees' everyday practices as well as the type and nature of services offered to veterans.
The minister needs to change the status quo. That is the real task he needs to undertake.