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Results: 1 - 15 of 395
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
Good afternoon, Minister. We are pleased to have you with us today. I think this is the first time that you have appeared before this committee.
As you said, we have met with many veterans and several groups. I was surprised to hear you say that the services for veterans were moving forward, that you were improving the system and that you expected further achievements down the road.
We heard several witnesses: the president of the Royal 22nd Regiment Association, Mr. Renaud; retired Colonel Pat Stogran, a former veterans' ombudsman whose contract you did not renew; Mr. Bruce Henwood, from the Special Needs Advisory Group; Mr. Victor Marshall, chair of the Gerontological Advisory Council; Mr. Sean Bruyea, a former member of the armed forces. Mr. Mark Campbell, a soldier who stepped on a bomb in June 2008, also appeared before another committee. The generally held opinion was that the New Veterans Charter deprives disabled veterans of 40% of their income.
According to several witnesses we heard here when we studied the New Veterans Charter, it seems undeniable that the abolition of the monthly pension in favour of a lump sum payment greatly penalizes a number of veterans.
We in fact saw certain statistics in this regard. A person with a 20% disability used to receive approximately $600 to $800 monthly. Now that person would receive approximately $50,000.
If you were 21 or 22 years old, Mr. Blackburn, and you were given a choice between receiving $600 to $800 per month for life and receiving a sum of $50,000, which would you choose?
How can you tell us that you are improving the situation for veterans when you are depriving these people of a large part of their potential income by abolishing this monthly lifetime benefit? You know very well that in Quebec, as well as in other provinces in Canada, petitions were circulated asking that the lump sum payment be abolished in favour of a return to a monthly lifetime pension.
There are young people who have accidents when they are 20 or 25 years old. If, as Bill C-55 provides, this lump sum payment of $50,000 is divided into two or three payments, that only amounts to $10,000 or $15,000. It is not sufficient, it won't allow disabled persons to meet their needs for the rest of their life.
What happens in those cases?
Some mothers came here to tell us that it was often the family that then had to take on the costs related to a soldier's serious injury.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
It should be pointed out that $276,000 is the maximum amount.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
That is the amount that is generally quoted, but for a 20% or 25% disability, people are given sums that are more in the order of $50,000 to $66,000.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Minister, I would like to quickly add that all the organizations that have studied the bill are still saying that they want to revert to the monthly pension.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
I enjoy talking to Mr. Stoffer and I don't want to go against his motion. I think we have to have regular meetings with witnesses. It is true that six meetings have been cancelled since last January. So we have to figure out a way to meet with the witnesses. The team must make sure that we are more consistent with our meetings. If there are no witnesses and although I really like Mr. Stoffer, I don't like him enough to come and chat with him here in committee. We can talk somewhere else. If there is no purpose to the meeting, it is useless. First and foremost, we need to have witnesses. There is work to be done and we must do it. We have to have meetings with witnesses and there is a whole process that goes with that.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
Good afternoon, Mr. Westwood. Are you able to hear the simultaneous interpretation?
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
I am glad we have the chance to discuss your PTSD transition program. You talked about services becoming more decentralized so that veterans can have access to self-help groups. People who go through similar situations can share these traumatic events and help each other. This helps them with their therapy and the healing process.
But I have been noticing a common problem in Quebec. I guess it also applies to the rest of Canada. Veterans who live in remote rural areas have a hard time getting to PTSD support services in cities, because the distances are often quite considerable.
I am going to talk about Quebec, but I am sure the situation is similar in the rest of Canada. Could we develop local services in the various areas of Quebec, in CLSCs? Could we train professionals to provide these services to veterans? What do you think about that? I think the system is highly centralized and it is not accessible to the entire target population.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
I do think the idea should be developed. This is about the link between the public sector and veterans. I think there are things we can work on.
I would also like to hear what you have to say on the issue of screening. We see that many veterans develop PTSD after a military mission, two, three, four or ten years after the traumatic event. Sometimes, they realize relatively late that they have been living with PTSD.
Through your research, have you developed tools to help you be more successful in screening people who could later develop PTSD? There does not seem to be any follow-up as such. It seems that people leave the army, go home, and, only later, it is usually their families that notice a change in behaviour.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
In my opinion, when we are working with people struggling with PTSD, it is important to build on information from the families. There seems to be a lack of information from families living with soldiers who are likely to develop PTSD.
Don't you think we should put more emphasis on information from the spouses and families of those soldiers? I think they are in a better position to identify the symptoms.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you for being here.
What I found interesting in your comments was the entire issue of the diagnosis of individuals experiencing post-traumatic stress. I always wonder about screening, and this is the first time someone has talked about it here, in committee. I think it's the most important aspect.
You said that 25% of people who are victims of stress can, according to Henri Laborit's theory—I remember because I studied in this area back then—be more likely to develop post-traumatic stress, and that 75% of them are not. I do have a question to ask about that.
The level of stress can also be different. I can be exposed to stress…
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
Based on what you said, we are on the verge of being able to screen soldiers before they take part in a mission.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
We know that men seek help less than women. It is a phenomenon peculiar to men.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
They do it much later in the process. This affects the prevention aspect less than the curative aspect. The obstacles are more difficult to overcome. This is why we find a lot of men in prisons and detox centres.
View Guy André Profile
BQ (QC)
It must be still more pronounced in soldiers, given that it can even affect their promotion, their professional situation.
What is being done in terms of screening is interesting, but there is another phenomenon. I think that we should better equip the families that these soldiers return to. A lot of witnesses have told us about their spouse who returned from a difficult military mission and who then gradually developed post-traumatic stress. One spouse told us that no one explained to her what post-traumatic stress was, that she noticed changes in her spouse's behaviour and that she had to adjust. All the same, we are in a position to better inform these people. It is a lack of follow-up.
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