Canada's NDP

NDP

September 28th, 2020

Liberal cuts are hurting Veterans: PBO

Rachel Blaney, the NDP Critic for Veterans made the following statement:

“The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report released today confirms what veterans have been saying for years — veterans are not getting the support they need from this government.

“The report clearly shows that, even if the temporary band-aid increases in resources for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) the Liberals have announced were extended, veterans would still be waiting until 2023 for the backlog in applications to be cleared.

“This is completely unacceptable. Veterans have already been waiting too long for the benefits and services they deserve.

“The Harper Conservatives and then Minister of Veterans Affairs Erin O’Toole caused the current crisis when they made deep cuts to funding and services and, in the last five years, the Liberals have continued to short-change veterans and make the situation worse.

“Earlier this year, veterans learned that the Liberals denied them money they were owed and left $105 million unspent at VAC in 2018-2019. This refusal to spend was effectively a cut. While the Liberals claimed the money wouldn’t have fixed the shamefully long wait times veterans and their families were forced to endure, today’s report confirms that’s not the case. It’s now clear, that had the Liberals not cut $105 million from the budget, there would have been enough to have fixed the wait times and helped thousands of veterans.

“Time and time again, the Liberals have let our vets down. After cutting what they promised to invest, the government is still not making the necessary investments to support veterans. They didn’t even think to mention them in last week’s Throne Speech.

“These people stepped up to serve our country. The government needs to stand up for them.

“This PBO report clearly lays out how the government could eliminate the backlog within a year if they finally made veterans a real priority.

“The minister needs to take the steps laid out in this report to finally get Canadian veterans and their families the support they need.”