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Results: 1 - 15 of 1010
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
I want to thank our witnesses for being here this evening. I know some of you were there last evening. We've had some very good testimony from our witnesses. As I mentioned in my opening remarks yesterday, what we have in front of us as a committee, and what we will ultimately have in front of us in the House when the bill goes back to the House, are very concrete measures that are aimed at benefiting veterans. When they pass into law, veterans will benefit from these measures.
Your testimony is much appreciated. It is acknowledged that this is not the end of the work. In other words, this is not the end of the line. This is a beginning, in a sense, but the measures are very concrete in nature.
What I've heard most witnesses say is that they support the measures as they are presented. They might have suggested changes, but they support what is contained within the legislation moving forward so that veterans will actually benefit.
Perhaps I'll just ask Mr. Blackwolf. Would it be an accurate representation of your position that what is in front of us would be of benefit to veterans and should move forward?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Chair.
Maybe I'll just start by commenting. Mr. Chicoine said that the ombudsman had said these were half-hearted steps. I want to clear the record; that's not what he said at all. I have his remarks in front of me. He said:
The proposed legislation represents significant progress on several issues of longstanding concern to veterans and their families. Because it is narrowing the gap on needed changes, it is important that it pass quickly and be implemented without delay.
That's what he actually said.
If I heard each of your testimonies correctly—and I appreciate everything you had to say to the committee—when you look at the legislation itself and the key measures contained within it, what I heard each of your organizations say is that you too support the measures within the legislation, that you too recommend that it pass as quickly as possible so that veterans can benefit from what is actually contained within the legislation. Is that correct?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Sure, absolutely. The minister's here, but if he were not here I would still say that I think it's fair to say that the minister has said that the Veterans Charter does not stand still. It is a living document. There is always work that needs to be done. There are gaps that need to be filled, but these steps are important steps.
Let me highlight one of those important steps. The critical injury benefit is significant, I feel—$70,000 dollars tax free. And of course it's for a veteran who is injured and suffers that injury from a significant event related to service.
I wanted to ask the legion your thoughts on this critical injury benefit. I don't believe it's something you had asked for specifically, but there it is. It's in the legislation. I think it's a good sum of money to help a veteran cope with having sustained a serious injury in a single traumatic event, but could I have your comments on that?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
I'll just comment on your point because it came up in one of the presentations as well that all the details aren't there. I would say it is part of the legislative process, in a sense. There is just sort of a rhythm to how things are implemented.
The first key steps are securing the funding, passing the legislation, and then of course the regulations follow. Before regulations are implemented, there is consultation; they are gazetted, and there's feedback. Actually the regulatory process allows flexibility because I think you might have valid concerns.
If everything were locked down in legislation and the only way you could make a change was to put it right back through the legislative process, you might say that's a bit rigid, can't we have a bit more flexibility to accommodate such and such a circumstance, or such and such a changing situation? I think that's why the regulatory process is there. It doesn't have to go through the full legislative process again. The regulatory process is meant to be very responsive.
So, yes, there will be some details that will follow, but I would say that I feel these initiatives are put forward in good faith, are meant to benefit our veterans, and there's a consultative process that will take place before the regulations are finally promulgated in their published form.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Debbie Lowther, did your organization have a chance to look at the critical injury benefit? Did you have any comment you wanted to make on that particular benefit?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
I think it's targeting seriously injured veterans.
Am I done, Chair? Thank you so much, Chair.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, and thank you to our witnesses.
I have not heard a single MP around this table or a single MP in the House of Commons limit future initiatives. I have just not heard anyone give any indication whatsoever that once this legislation is passed, that's it.
I've heard the exact opposite. I've heard it's a living document, and that these are great first steps. Some political football is being played, and just to give you an example, the opposition is asking what has taken so long. We even heard that tonight. The government, through the minister, picks some key initiatives, six, seven, eight of them, announces them, puts them into legislation. Some of them have already been delivered, for example, the better access to the PIA, the respect for reserves. So the minister takes some key initiatives and moves forward faster.
Why aren't you doing more? What's taking so long?
I want to remind everybody on this committee that there's very real legislation sitting in front of committee right now that's going to be back in the House with very real benefits and initiatives for veterans, and there are veterans who will benefit from them. I think we have to keep that first and foremost in our minds, especially if we're trying to put the veteran at the centre of everything, because we can play a little game and say if only it were different, then I would vote for it.
Yes, but what about the veteran who is eligible for one of these new benefits? When this passes into law, are you saying tough luck for him because it wasn't quite the way you wanted it. That's part of the political consideration that has to be, I think, swept aside, so we focus on what is in front of committee and what is in front of Parliament. That leads me to my question.
Mr. Blais, I'll open with you. I'd like to know what your advice is to MPs on this committee about this legislation, these measures that I consider to be very real benefits for very real veterans: to vote for them, to support this, to pass this quickly?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, if I may, there is nothing I said in my statement that was political. I'm talking about very real legislation that is in front of the House, and the legislation is actually in black and white, and it has to be voted on. So MPs are going to have to—
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
It's not a point of order, Frank. Don't waste our time like this.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm just wondering if I can get a clarification on your answer. What would your recommendation be to the committee on how to deal with this legislation here and in the House?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
That's good.
Thank you.
I'd like to build in Mr. Derryk Fleming's response as well.
Are you still with us, Mr. Fleming?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Good. I appreciate your hanging in there. It's hard when you're not actually physically present in the room.
I would like to ask you the same question. When you look at the legislation that's in front of the committee and Parliament, what would your recommendation be with respect to how that legislation is handled when it comes time to vote?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Great. Thank you very much.
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