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NDP MP for Sackville—Eastern Shore (Nova Scotia)

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

Statements in the House

National Defence February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to balance a budget when they take away money from disabled veterans and armed forces personnel.

The Minister of National Defence knows very well. He knows the name of Corporal—

Sergeant-at-Arms February 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in a person's lifetime one can come across a person who is an absolutely remarkable gentleman. I am speaking of none other than the great Kevin Vickers, our Sergeant-at-Arms here in the House of Commons.

Kevin Vickers has served 29 years as an RCMP officer. He is now the ninth Sergeant-at-Arms selected to the House of Commons and is now in his eighth year of service.

We want to thank his wife, Ann, and his children, Andrew and Laura, very much for sharing Mr. Vickers with us all.

Whether working with the Sikh community, the Acadian community, the aboriginal community, or the U.S. DEA in a variety of facets over his long and distinguished career, Mr. Vickers truly is one of those great gentlemen in all of Canada.

On behalf of Parliament, I want to say to our Sergeant-at-Arms, our number nine guy here, what a fabulous person and a truly tremendous gentlemen he is. We are all proud to have him serve as our Sergeant-at-Arms. May God bless.

Veterans February 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, let us see. A year ago, the member for Calgary West fell asleep during a veterans committee and then accused the veterans presenting of being friends of Vladimir Putin.

Then, we have a minister who displayed rudeness to veterans who came to the Hill.

The other day, we had the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke say, “the stigma that has to be overcome is a stigma within themselves”, when referring to our men and women in the military who are prematurely released before their tenth year.

We know that over 200 military personnel were removed from the military because of their post-traumatic stress disorder.

Does the Minister of National Defence agree with the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, or is the stigma within the Conservatives themselves?

Veterans January 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, if PSAC is standing up for veterans, then God love the union movement.

My question is very clear. Mr. Roy Lamore, a World War II veteran from Thunder Bay, said that people dealing with DVA on the phone, the 1-866-522-2122 number, should be prepared to bring their lunch. Is this what the Minister of Veterans Affairs means by enhanced services?

It is not too late for the minister to do the right thing. Will he now stand in his place and reverse the decision to cut the further eight bases across Canada?

Business of Supply January 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for mentioning the 25,000 RCMP retired veterans. We have approximately 700,000 military veterans, RCMP veterans, and independent spouses. The DVA has a client base of just over 200,000, so two-thirds of that base is not even being served now. Many military and RCMP veterans simply do not know the benefits they are possibly able to get.

As my colleague from Cape Breton—Canso said, what type of service does the member think these people who are applying for the first time at a Service Canada office should expect in the near future?

Business of Supply January 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. I am sorry to interrupt the debate. I want to clarify something that I said earlier in my speech. I made an error. Actually, Kim and Blair Davis are from Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, not Eastern Passage. I was thinking of someone else. Also, his service was in Bosnia, not Afghanistan. I want to clarify that for the record.

Business of Supply January 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the information that the minister now has a dedicated team to finalize these outstanding boards of inquiry. This is something that should have been done an awful long time ago. Therefore, my question to him, with great respect, is why it has taken this long. Some of these inquiries have been outstanding for over five years. I cannot speak for the member, but I think he would agree with me that is way too long.

I am wondering why it has taken so long for this action to happen, although I appreciate the action taken. When will see concrete results for the families of those who have suffered?

Business of Supply January 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. minister and the previous minister for their kind words of sympathy for the families who have suffered tragic losses as a result of suicide. I want to thank them as well for recognizing what our men and women in uniform do on a regular basis, not just at home but around the world.

I would make one recommendation to the defence minister, which he could do right now, that would change the lives of hundreds of military personnel who serve under his watch. The minute they come forward and admit they have a mental or physical problem, the clock starts ticking on their removal from the military. Many men and women in the service will not come forward, knowing full well that it means the loss of their jobs in the military. A recommendation is to either eliminate the 10-year rule for benefits, or allow the men and women who come forward to stay in the military until they have another proper full-time job, or allow them to get all the proper services and benefits and pensionable amounts they could have for the rest of their natural lives. If the minister did that, he would improve the lives of many who serve under his watch.

Business of Supply January 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the minister said two things that I would like to challenge.

He said that those who have a problem should come forward. That is exactly what he should be saying, so that when men and women who serve their country have a severe problem, they can come forward.

The problem is that when they are serving in the military, the minute they do come forward, the clock starts ticking on their removal from the military. We have had over 200 people last year and again this year who are being removed from the military before their tenth year, which means they will lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars of future benefits. If these men and women are not deployable, they are not employable.

The minister said that veterans will still continue to get the services they require when they need them. Kim and Blair Davis of Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, are not getting that service. To the minister, they would like to say they have received an email, and want the minister call them and then provide the service they have been asking for.

Business of Supply January 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the quick answer is to listen to the reports of the ombudsmen of the military and the DVA. Both ombudsmen's reports are very clear: the government must do more to improve the mental health of these individuals.

The reality is that we know there is a string of mental health professionals waiting to be hired. The government says the money is there, yet they have not been hired yet.

How can that be? What bureaucratic chink is stopping these people from being hired? Only the Minister of National Defence can answer that question.