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Results: 1 - 15 of 640
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm going to call to order this meeting of Tuesday, June 17, 2008, of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. Our chair has been delayed a moment. I'm the vice-chair.
We're pleased to have as a witness, from halfway around the world, the Minister of Veterans' Affairs for New Zealand.
Sir, thank you so much for taking some time, with your staff, to help us understand what New Zealand is doing and has done for its veterans, as we attempt to do a better job here in Canada on behalf of our veterans of the great wars, including Korea, and for the new generation of veterans who are arriving on the scene as they leave the military every day.
Mr. Barker, with that, I would ask you to speak for whatever period of time you think is appropriate.
I will leave the chair and Mr. Anders will take over.
Thank you, sir.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Again, thank you, Mr. Minister, for taking some time with us. I very much like this notion of reverse onus and where you distinguish those military personnel who have been in operations offshore and you lower the bar.
I'd like to talk a bit, though, about what we have in Canada. We have, as you may know, a large network of veterans legions. Do you have a network of legions or like organizations? They were started up after the First World War and grew again after the Second World War. Do you have a legion network?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Is that a non-profit, volunteer, charitable organization, or is there government funding support? What is the relationship, if any, administratively and financially, between the government and that return service organization?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's helpful to know. There would be a consensus, I'm sure, around this table that your RSA and our Royal Canadian Legions provide a huge volunteer resource. They are in many of our communities, in many rural communities. I think one of the things we'd like to do is find better ways, with their being willing, of course, to work with them and provide resources so they can help us with the next generation of veterans.
There is a concern, in our case, in Canada, that a lot of legions are becoming less viable financially because the old generation of veterans are passing on and the process of passing a torch out in the veterans community from the last generation to the next one requires support.
Do you know now what it is you hope to be doing with them? You talk about funding them to do something. Is there a specific program set up that you plan to work on with the RSA?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
On the agreement that the RSA--or in our case the legion--infrastructure in the social economy is worth supporting and complementing for the next generation, I don't know if the presidents of our dominion commands have served beyond the Second World War, but that would be helpful to know.
With that, Minister, thank you very much.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are you going to look at some paintings for us for the unofficial veterans room?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'd like to report something. Are we on record now?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Can I say this off the record?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker and Madam Clerk, for being here. I think you're witnessing a full court press.
First of all, for their exceptional arguments in support of naming this room the Veterans Room, I would like to commend my colleagues who have already spoken.
In my opinion, this room is a beautiful room. It's smallish, but it's a beautiful room. After the Salon de la Francophonie, the very ornate one off the Senate foyer, I think this is the prettiest room in the Centre Block.
If I take one word from my three colleagues who've already spoken, you can't really associate faces with most of the committees of the House of Commons, important as they are--finance, transportation, environment. There are constituencies--environmental constituencies, railway constituencies, and so on and so forth--but you really can't associate faces. You certainly can with veterans. We're dealing with faces and people.
As my colleagues have already said, it's not about memorializing, because this is very much a place for the living. It's a functional room. I do not see it as our exclusive preserve; we may be more often here than elsewhere, but we understand that with the limitations of space, we're going to share this room with other committees as the schedules require. That having been said, we could still have a home room, so to speak, with that name, and as Mr. Stoffer has said, it could be decorated appropriately to the theme.
I'm not a founding member of the committee, as are Mr. Valley and some others, but certainly since I've been on this committee we've been dealing more with the human side of our parliamentary business. It's not technical, really. I mean that it's not very technical; it's very much the human piece. I have had the good fortune of sponsoring some days of commemoration and of realizing that the more commemoration we have, the stronger it makes the spirit of commemoration; I think that in the same way, having a place for the living to come and share their stories is very important.
You'll make your decision, and we will certainly accept whatever it is, but we wanted to be sure that no stone was left unturned in our efforts to see this room, which is very much a working room, renamed. There would be hardly any expense involved. I'm sure we could get some very appropriate pieces from the art bank, and we've had offers--for example, Ms. Hinton's offer. We would certainly take the advice of whoever the official decorator is for the House of Commons, should this ever happen, to make sure that the name and decoration are very appropriate to the kinds of people we serve as veterans affairs committee members.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
I don't think any of us wants, although it might appear so, to put you in a bad spot.
Just to clarify, leaving aside for the moment the official naming part of it, if the request came from the committee via the chair to borrow some art pieces to decorate the room, and just that for now, and if the room was—basically unofficially and by us, if nobody else—nicknamed the Veterans Room, but there was nothing official about the naming part, yet in informal practice it became that; and if over time it stuck, well, so be it. If over time it didn't stick, so be it. The only decision on your part, Mr. Speaker, would be to consider whether some appropriate art pieces could be put in here.
That's an attempt to slice the onion a little thinner. I don't mean to get ahead or behind any of my colleagues here, but sensing a bit of where this is going, I'm just wondering about that.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much, Lieutenant-Colonel, for being here today to help us out. By triangulating what you do with another model, you can often get a better idea of your own, so we appreciate the ability to compare with other jurisdictions.
Obviously you've been in Canada for a little while, and you mentioned that you had participated in some of our veterans events. We have the Legions in Canada. Is there a network of social supports similar to our Legions to help veterans, either the older veterans or the newer retirees? Is there a social system like that, which is more or less voluntary and community based?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Does the organization provide peer counselling or social supports? Can you go and have a beer, or is it a setting like a service club?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
But there's not a network of these community buildings owned outside the...?
Okay, thank you very much.
I was intrigued when you mentioned that those who've served in the military, if I understood you correctly, have access to jobs in the public service. Explain a bit, sir, how that works. Is it automatic? Is it discretionary? Is there training involved?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
If a former soldier applies, he or she, I assume, is guaranteed a job.
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