Good evening. I'm Richard Blackwolf, the national president of Canadian Aboriginal Veterans and Serving Members Association. I'm honoured to have with me tonight, Mr. Joseph Burke, the Canadian Aboriginal Veterans national representative from Ottawa, who has an extensive medical background from his service in the military.
Mr. Chairman and honourable members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to appear before the committee and give you our thoughts and opinions on the clauses contained in division 17, part 3 of Bill C-59.
It is our understanding that Canada is one of the countries that do not maintain a large standing armed forces. The often quoted prime minister, Sir Robert Borden, in his speech to the Canadian corps on the eve of the attack on Vimy Ridge is a reflection of the covenant between the Government of Canada and the citizen volunteers of Canada who go to fight in Europe.
The new Veterans Charter is a covenant between the people of Canada and the Government of Canada to the current volunteers serving in the Canadian Armed Forces and to future citizens answering a call to arms when the country needs to fight aggression. Therefore, it is all of our duties to make the best possible charter for the care of our veterans.
Our submission today is the result of a clause-by-clause analysis of division 17, part 3 of Bill C-59, with reference to the committee's previous three questions posed last year in May.
The purpose of the act is centred on the obligation to provide services, assistance, and compensation to Canadian Forces serving members and veterans, who have been injured or die for their service and have benefits extended to their spouse, common-law spouse, children, and orphans.
Mr. Burke will address the other portion of our presentation at this time.