Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, just for the record, the Leader of the Opposition has dealt with this. Mr. Cooper has apologized for his comments. This is nothing more than a stunt, and I call the question.
Thank you.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Minister, during the last election the Prime Minister said that no veteran shall have to fight the government in court for the benefits that he or she deserves. However, during the period between 2016 and 2018, $38 million was spent on lawsuits. We have veterans who filed a class action lawsuit at Ste. Anne's Hospital because of a diminishment of service and a diminishment of staff that weren't supposed to be there when VAC transferred to the Quebec government the services that were to be provided at Ste. Anne's. I visited Ste. Anne's in June, and I saw it first-hand. I heard first-hand from those veterans in that facility.
We also have Mr. Bruyea. He questioned the government. He actually asked for a cost-benefit analysis on the pension-for-life scheme, and he was told that a cost-benefit analysis wasn't going to be done because it represented a less than one million dollars expenditure. The suggestion is that the pension-for-life scheme is a shell game being played by the government, that there's no additional cost and no additional benefit to our veterans. Mr. Bruyea got that information from your own finance department officials and you chose to attack him publicly. Why?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Let me ask you this question, Minister, because you've had a lot of time. I asked the question and you've had ample time.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Why are veterans still being asked to go to court to fight their government? Why? After the Prime Minister made that promise, why is that happening?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I want to focus on service dogs for a second.
Minister, there was an efficacy study that was done by Université Laval. In almost every circumstance—I would suggest that in every circumstance—it was shown that service dogs improved the lives of veterans and their families. That study has been on your desk, from what I understand, yet on April 18, just eight months ago, your spokesman, Alex Wellstead, was quoted by CBC as saying, “We're working to put in place standards, rapidly, so that veterans have access to properly trained psychiatric service dogs”.
It's been over three years since you took office, eight months since the process collapsed and this renewed commitment was made. This study shows there is efficacy with respect to service dogs and the effect that it has on veterans. When will those standards be introduced?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Minister, quickly, because I only have about 10 seconds, why has that tax credit not been initiated by the Department of Finance and the finance minister at this point?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to take 30 seconds, and then I'm going to pass it over to Mr. Kitchen.
Minister, will you do me a favour and send a message to the Prime Minister? Will you do that for me? Tell him next time he tweets about $50 million to Trevor Noah to think about the impact that has on veterans in this country who are fighting with their government for service dogs, who are living day by day with PTSD, their lives literally in the balance, and tell him to think about that next time he sends an irresponsible tweet like that. Maybe that money can be better spent on veterans and service dogs.
Mr. Kitchen.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Michel or Bernard, which one of you, either of you, was involved in the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue transfer?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
What was your understanding when the transfer agreement was made between the federal government through Veterans Affairs and the provincial government with respect to the level of service to our veterans?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Right, so on October 2, the day after the Quebec election, Mr. McColeman wrote a letter to Premier François Legault because of complaints of veterans within the Ste. Anne's Hospital.
I actually visited it. As I said to the minister, I visited the hospital back in June. As fate would have it, I spent about an hour there. I talked in particular to Mr. Solkin and others as well about the level of care and how it has diminished over the years with fewer employees.
As fate would have it, as I left the hospital to take an Uber ride back to my hotel, the driver of the Uber was a long-term employee. He had spent 35 years at Ste. Anne's. We started talking about the reason for my visit, and he told me that the level of care has diminished to a point where the safety and security of our veterans are at stake.
What are you doing about that?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
It's not just food. There is dental care for which the service levels have diminished. There is property care where the service levels have diminished. There is physical care where the service has diminished. For doctor visits, the services have diminished, at least they had in June, so if you're telling me that they've improved since June to this point, then that's good news. But the reports we're getting are that the service levels are still significantly lower than what the expectation was when that transfer agreement was made.
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