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  • His favourite word is service.

NDP MP for Sackville—Eastern Shore (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 54.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Veterans Affairs January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, 83-year-old disabled veteran, Basil McAllister, of Burton, New Brunswick, fought the Department of Veterans Affairs through the review board for 10 years, along with 2 court decisions, to finally realize his compensation benefits because of the chemical spraying at Gagetown.

In 2005, the Prime Minister, then the opposition leader, said that everyone affected by this spraying would be cared for. Thousands upon thousands of military personnel, their families and civilians are without proper compensation and care for the terrible injuries they suffered from the chemical spraying at Gagetown.

Will the government now do the right thing and ensure that all of them get the proper dignity they so rightfully deserve?

Veterans January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian knows that there is a moral and social obligation to care for those men and women we ask to put themselves in harm's way. However, it is only the Prime Minister and the Conservatives who do not believe that there is a moral and social obligation to care for them, especially now those in Iraq.

My question, very simply, is for the Minister of Veteran's Affairs. Does the government believe that there is a moral, social, legal, and fiduciary responsibility to care for the heroes of our country who the government asked to put in harm's way?

Veterans January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, for the record, he is my 11th minister in 17.5 years, and these problems still continue. However, I do congratulate the hon. member for Durham for his new post as veterans affairs minister. I also thank him for his service to our country.

Having said that, as a veteran and as the Minister of Veterans Affairs, does he now believe—because the Prime Minister and the former minister would not answer this question—that the Government of Canada has a social, moral, legal, and fiduciary responsibility to care for those men and women it asks to put themselves in harm's way?

Veterans Affairs December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while the government sends our brave men and women off to war, it refuses to admit that when they come back with physical or mental challenges there is a moral and social obligation to care for them. It has lawyers in B.C. right now arguing the point, spending thousands of Canadian tax dollars, that there is no moral or social contract for our veterans.

Does the parliamentary secretary believe or does he not believe that there is a legal, fiduciary, moral and social obligation to care for the heroes of our country?

Veterans December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when young men and women from Canada go off to war, they and their families need to know that their government and country will care for them in the event they become physically disabled, mentally challenged, or make the ultimate sacrifice.

Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Veterans Affairs, does the government have a sacred obligation to care for them? He would not answer it.

My question is directly for the Prime Minister of Canada. Does the Prime Minister of Canada believe that the government has a judicial, legal, moral, and social obligation to care for the heroes of our country?

Veterans December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the only reason that I, as a Dutch foreign Canadian, get to stand on Canadian soil is because 5,700 Canadians and our allies are laying beneath Dutch soil.

When we send our heroes off to war, they expect to be cared for, and their families, when they come back injured, either physically or mentally. Yet, the government is spending thousands of dollars on lawyers defending the argument that there is no moral or social contract to care for our veteran community.

My question to the minister is very simple. Yes or no, do you or do you not believe, through you Mr. Speaker, that you have a fiduciary, legal, moral or social obligation to our veterans?

Veterans November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on my desk right now I have a file from a veteran in B.C. who was denied VIP service. I have another one from Ontario who was denied a hearing aid. I had a World War II veteran who was denied a lift so that he could go up and down his stairs.

Why? The department says that it simply cannot finance these types of initiatives, yet we find out that over $1 billion has been sent back.

I would like to ask a question directly to the parliamentary secretary. Has he no shame that these veterans and many others go without, while the government transfers $1 billion back to the finance department for its useless tax schemes?

Veterans November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to publicly thank the Department of Veterans Affairs for tweaking the benefit package of the late Corporal Nathan Cirillo so that his family will receive all of the benefits of a regular force person, as he was a reservist. The problem is that many other reservists who become injured or die in the line of duty will not get the same benefits as those of a regular force person who is injured or dies in the line of service. The major veterans' groups, all veterans' advocacy groups, the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, and the ombudsman have asked repeatedly that reservists who are injured or die in the line of duty get the same benefits as regular force members.

When will the government honour those recommendations and do the right thing for the reservists of our country?

Veterans Affairs November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the minister and the Conservative government that when the member for Outremont becomes the Prime Minister of Canada, we are going to fix these problems once and for all for the veterans of our country.

We have reservists who are treated differently from people in the regular forces and we have many RCMP members who cannot get the help they need, yet the money is there in the budget to help these men and women. The government closed veterans' offices across the country as a cost-cutting measure and returned that money back to the finance department.

The veterans of this country and their families are sick and tired of the delays in the benefits that they require. A benefit delayed is a benefit denied. When will the government allocate those funds to help the heroes of our country?

Veterans Affairs November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, from the time the government took power in 2006 to the end of 2013, $1.1 billion of appropriated money from the budgets of the government has not been spent on the Department of Veterans Affairs. It sent that money back to the finance department for its future tax schemes for the wealthy in this country.

On my desk, I have the files of veterans who have been denied hearing aids and denied access to hospitals. We have an increased rate of suicide. Many veterans are now homeless. Over and over again, veterans across the country are suffering great difficulty.

The money is there in the department to be allocated for these heroes of our country, yet the minister returns that money to the finance department. My question is, why?