NDP: LAPSED FUNDING IS ROBBING CANADA’S VETERANS
November 5th, 2018 - 12:30pm
OTTAWA – On Monday, the NDP announced they are using their Opposition Day Motion to force the Liberal government to spend all allocated funding to immediately improve services for Canada's veterans. The NDP says veterans are not getting the respect or services they deserve from the Liberal government following $372 million in unspent funding.
''Veterans shouldn't be put on hold for hours or redirected half a dozen times before they speak to the right person. And they shouldn't have to wait 6 months before receiving the benefits they rightly deserve,'' said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. ''It's wrong to make our veterans wait for these services and it’s even worse that they’re being short-changed by hundreds of millions of dollars.''
Stephen Harper's Conservative government made massive cuts in veterans' services and benefits. The Liberal government has failed to restore these cuts and have failed to spend the budgeted funding for veterans since taking office: $80.9 million in 2016, $143 million in 2017 and $148.6 million in 2018. Under the Liberals, that lapsed funding isn’t carried over to the next budget year but rather it simply goes unspent.
“This lapsed funding is robbing our veterans and it must end now,” added NDP Veterans Critic Gord Johns. “New Democrats will pressure the Liberal government to respect their obligation to our country's veterans and to make sure the money budgeted for vets is actually spent on vets.”
Johns also pointed out that the Liberals’ own reporting shows they are failing to meet half of the 24 service standards they set for veterans. The NDP’s motion would force the government to reinvest all of the unspent amounts into ensuring those service standards are met.
"I urge all parties to vote in support of the NDP's motion to return unspent budgeted funds to Veterans Affairs, and specifically service delivery to address longstanding complaints within the veterans community,” added Michael L Blais CD, President-Founder Canadian Veterans Advocacy. "Focussing this money specifically on service delivery can only have a positive effect in alleviating the profound disappointment of the multitude of veterans waiting to be treated in a fair and timely manner."