Question Period Senator Jane Cordy January 29th, 2014
Hon. Jane Cordy: Thank you very much. Minister Fantino did apologize; however, the veterans have not accepted his apology. They don't believe it was truly meant; they believe he did it just for political reasons. All these veterans want is for the offices across the country scheduled to close at the end of this week to remain open. Senator Nancy Ruth, I agree that they probably won't stay open and that these veterans have been asking for this for a long time.
I was in Cape Breton at a rally to keep the office in Sydney, Nova Scotia, open. At that time, veteran Ron Clarke, who was in Ottawa yesterday, and others asked only that Minister Fantino meet with them. That was before Christmas, in November. The minister had lots of time to meet with them, but instead he arranged a meeting for yesterday and didn't even show up.
Even more offensive was that just before the veterans were scheduled to give a press conference, which was to be held after the meeting with Minister Fantino, the minister walked by to say hello to the veterans. However, when they started to ask the minister questions, he was dismissive and left in a huff. That's unbelievable and unacceptable and shameful. It appears that it was a case of another Conservative looking for a photo-op, but heavens don't let the veterans ask any questions.
These veterans fought in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Korea and World War II. They served as peacekeepers around the world on behalf of all Canadians. Unfortunately, they are being treated with no respect by this minister and by this Conservative government.
Will the government go ahead with the planned closure of nine Veterans Affairs offices across the country that is scheduled for the end of this week?