Andrew Scheer has recently made promises to improve veterans’ benefits and services. But can we believe him? When he was part of Stephen Harper’s team in power, the Conservative government closed nine Veterans Affairs offices, cut 900 Veterans Affairs jobs, and clawed back benefits, leaving many veterans out in the cold.
The Conservative government betrayed Canada’s veterans.
- In January 2014, the federal government shut down nine District Veterans Affairs offices in Corner Brook, Charlottetown, Sydney, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Brandon, Saskatoon, Kelowna and Prince George.
- Veterans Affairs lost more than 900 full-time-equivalent jobs out of 4,000 between 2012 and 2015 (that’s nearly a quarter of the workforce). Veterans Affairs offices were so short-staffed that there was a backlog of six to eight months in providing requested services to veterans.
- In 2014, according to a report by Auditor General Michael Ferguson, one in five Canadian veterans suffering from a mental illness and injury was being forced to wait more than eight months before their requests for help were answered.
- The government was found by the courts of illegally clawing back benefits from disabled veterans in 2012. The Harper government’s lawyers fought the veterans in court for years.
PSAC fought alongside veterans’ groups to get the nine offices re-opened, which only happened after the Conservatives lost the election. We also campaigned to restore funding to Veterans Affairs and against the privatization of veterans’ services.
- Veterans speak about their experiences under the last Conservative government: Watch the videos of Robert Cutbush and Robyn Young
We need a government who will support Canada’s veterans and the people who provide services to them. We don’t want to go back.