Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-06 16:21
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Thank you, Mr. Vice-Chair.
Mr. Walbourne and Ms. Hynes, it's very good to see you here.
I would like to start with the joint personnel support unit. This is directly in your branch, as the ombudsman of DND.
Am I wrong or right that there are two end results possible with JPSU? You either rehabilitate through the services or you get out of the army. My understanding is that we keep it as an unknown end, for the most part. It's not clear from the beginning. But should there be a diagnosis right at the beginning that this member will most probably never come back and thus we should engage right away in filling in the forms and getting ready for the release? That way, as soon as the two years end, the benefits would start coming in and the services would start right away.
I might be wrong, but it seems to me like there's an unknown waiting time.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-06 16:23
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Okay. Did you ever hear any comments on the VAC and the DND staff? Do they work closely together? How is the relationship? Do you have anything to say about that in the JPSU?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-06 16:23
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Do you think the JPSU should not be on the base? As Madam Lockhart said, it was a problem for many in the military to go to the base.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-06 16:24
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What's the percentage of army recruits in a year who will eventually be medically released? Do you have any numbers on that?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-06 16:25
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I'm not sure if it's part of your mandate, but do you believe we should invest more in service delivery or in benefits? The $3.7-billion retroactive for disability awards could have been used for service delivery, processing or enhancing that service delivery window. What's your opinion?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-06 16:26
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I've read your brief many times, and you talked to me about it a little, but I still have a hard time understanding why the medical corps has an ethical problem with putting on paper that the injuries are related to the service.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-04 16:59
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Bungay, Mr. Garsch, Mr. Estabrooks and Mr. Doucette, thank you for being here.
We, as committee members, are fully aware of the courage it takes to come here and share with us your personal stories, so thank you very much for taking the energy to do this. For us, you're very precious as witnesses today because I think you all are doing something right now in life that puts you in contact with a lot of veterans each day, every day, so I have some general questions that I would like all of you to answer, one after the other. Maybe we can start each time with Mr. Doucette.
Because you hear veterans every single day of your life and hear their problems and concerns, can you please tell me what, according to you—because here we're studying service delivery, so sometimes we have to ask specific questions on that—is the number-one problem with service delivery, that is to say, from what you've heard?
Monsieur Doucette, please.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-04 17:03
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Mr. Bungay, would you say that the delay-and-deny response is based on reality, or that it's more perception?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-04 17:03
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Would you say it's based on a problematic administrative process, or on some intentional workings?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-04 17:03
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Mr. Garsch, what is the number-one problem with service delivery?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-04 17:08
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Bungay, if I correctly understood, you said there are two problems with the JPSU. First, it's on the base. Second, they are closed-minded; for example, they don't accept your services.
Now the question is for everyone, starting with Monsieur Doucette, please. What's wrong with JPSU, besides those two things?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-04 17:10
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Mr. Estabrooks, what would you add that is wrong with the JPSU?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-10-04 17:11
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Robert, thank you very much.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-29 15:52
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you all for being here with us today.
To the Veterans Transition Network, I visited your installation in Vancouver when I was there last May.
I am very pleased that representatives from the Maison de la Vigile came to meet with the committee. I live near the Maison de la Vigile in Quebec City and I can say that you are doing a great job. Thank you very much.
We may have to interrupt you sometimes because we have a number of questions for you. Do not be taken aback by that.
Inevitably, you work with veterans very often. In fact, you work with them every day and I imagine that many of them express their discontent, rightly or wrongly, with case managers and with the way the Department of Veterans Affairs operates.
What do you think of the administrative process and the organizational practices of Veterans Affairs Canada? What is your relationship with case managers? How do you see the department’s way of operating? Are the administrative processes followed properly? Are there things that need to be replaced?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-29 15:54
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You say that veterans talk to you. I am not blaming the department but, very often, veterans complain to the committee that their relationships with the department are quite horrible. Those are usually complicated cases.
What are the comments you most often hear from veterans about the problems they are experiencing, about the documents they have to complete and, in some cases, about the transition steps they need to take?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-29 15:56
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Are you and your colleagues prepared to help veterans to fill in forms or do paperwork?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-29 15:56
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Along those lines, do you believe that it would be a good idea for the department to fill in forms for veterans or, conversely, do you believe that it is good to leave that task to them, even those with sometimes complex mental health issues?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-29 15:57
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Your document points out that veterans’ family members do not necessarily have easy access to the department’s case managers. This committee has, on several occasions, come across that problem of family members’ lack of access to case managers. Does that complaint come up often?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-29 15:58
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Speaking of La Vigile’s services, at what point do you feel that they really should be available on a broad scale? Clearly, there is a need. Is the department having discussions with you about possibly expanding your services?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-29 16:26
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Can a member of the family call you to say that someone needs your services, for example?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-22 16:37
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank the three witnesses with us here today.
Wearing a uniform in Montreal is not easy, but it is not as difficult in Quebec City.
My first question is for Ms. Spinks.
Your institute deals not only with veterans' families, is that correct?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-22 16:37
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Okay.
In families other than veterans' families, have you seen the same kind of symptoms and crises as in veterans' families?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-22 16:41
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Thank you very much but, unfortunately, due to time constraints, I have to move on to my second question.
When you talk to veterans' families, what are the three recurring problems they face with respect to service delivery?
You may also wish to provide your answers in writing and by email.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-22 16:41
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Thank you.
Ms. Lowther, you said you are constantly dealing with veterans in crisis. What type of crisis do you see most often?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-22 16:52
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We always hear about the delay-and-deny culture inside VAC, and that happens wherever I go to meet veterans, in whatever province. Is this based on a false impression? Is it based on incomprehension on the part of our veterans in terms of how the system is working? Is it because of their PTSD? According to you, is it true that in some cases there is a delay-and-deny culture?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-22 17:20
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Ms. Lowther, when you said that policy proposals are above your pay grade, it's not true. Policy proposal belongs to all Canadians, so if you have some, there's an email and there's a clerk here.
Colonel Mann, I will have to move along very quickly, unfortunately.
Even if the culture of denial at Veterans Affairs is a myth, it seems that the trust has been broken.
Do you think the members of our committee are influenced by the people they meet who are in complex situations, people who are in a state of panic or crisis? Do you think the vast majority of veterans believe in that myth?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-16 11:46
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Hello, Mr. Saez. I am very pleased to have you with us today.
A few months ago, I attended a Veterans' Review and Appeal Board hearing. I was impressed by the passion shown by the lawyer defending the veteran's case. Quite clearly, their heart is in the right place.
Your office was created in 1971. I would like to know how many lawyers you had on staff at that time.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-16 11:47
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That's interesting.
Does Veterans Affairs pay your lawyers' salaries?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-16 11:47
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In general, do your lawyers stay with the organization for a long time or is there significant staff turnover?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-16 11:48
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-16 11:50
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Thank you.
Has the number of lawyers in your office increased since 2006?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-16 11:51
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Has your office seen an increase in requests for your services since 2006?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-16 11:52
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-14 17:38
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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?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-14 17:41
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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?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-14 17:43
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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?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:12
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:51
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Mr. Callaghan, you said you received a bunch of papers each year.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:53
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That was my next question, whether your paper work was from SISIP or the ministry—
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:53
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Okay. From the beginning until last year, before Bill C-59, were you receiving money from SISIP?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:53
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Then since last summer, you started to receive earnings loss benefit from the new bill. Is that right?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:54
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Mr. Callaghan, obviously you're well educated, with a Ph.D. in anthropology—
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:55
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My wife is an anthropologist. I just wanted to ask, is it hard to fill out the papers as a Ph.D. candidate?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:55
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Are those all part of the bunch you received this morning, for example?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:56
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:57
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You said the diagnosis of the PTSD you are suffering from was not accepted by the ministry?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 17:59
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 18:00
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 19:24
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 19:27
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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.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 19:29
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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?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-13 19:30
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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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