Our government’s treatment of Veterans is deplorable

When we ask the women and men of our armed forces to serve abroad, we do so with an understanding that they’ll be taken care when they return home. By eliminating service access points for our veterans and reducing compensation for those disabled as a result of their service, the Conservative government is shirking its contract with our men and women in uniform.

These moves ignore an evolving set of needs. As the increase in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, and associated suicides, attests to, the needs of former soldiers require attention. A Library of Parliament report released in December noted that upwards of 6,000 new veterans will be released from the Canadian Forces over the coming years who will suffer from mental health issues. At least 2,750 of these veterans will suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

To close offices and expect those who served abroad to wait in line with me as I renew my health card shows an ignorance of the issues they face, and perhaps more important, shows an absolute failure to think about how to innovate the services we provide to this part of the population. Moreover, we can’t attempt to address the issues veterans are facing if we don’t sit down with them before decisions are made and make them a partner in any reforms.

If Canadians wish to feel proud when we see our troops helping make peace abroad, we need to be willing to uphold our end of the bargain and make sure they are taken care of at home.