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Crucial Fact

  • 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 November 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank him for the comments, but I do remind the minister that every day for those who serve our country is Remembrance Day.

One of the most important things is to ensure that our disabled veterans and their families, and those of the RCMP, have the benefits that they require in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy that is within the department delays many veterans' benefits. Again, a benefit delayed is a benefit denied.

The Legion recommended most of these recommendations. The ombudsman recommended these recommendations years ago. When is the government, once again, going to move on these recommendations so that all of us can help the people who serve our country so valiantly?

Veterans Affairs November 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last year, the Minister of Veterans Affairs asked the veterans affairs committee to do a comprehensive study on the new veterans charter, which is exactly what it did. The committee unanimously adopted 14 recommendations, recommendations that in some cases are two to three years old already. Six months after the report was tabled in the House, the Minister of Veterans Affairs' response was that we need more study.

I would like to remind the government and the Minister of Veterans Affairs that veterans can no longer wait. A benefit delayed is a benefit denied. When will the government move on the recommendations of the unanimous report?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from the great province of Newfoundland and Labrador for his speech, but I just wanted to let him know that the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs just did a unanimous report with recommendations for the government in order to improve the new veterans charter. The Conservatives said we have to study it more, which means more delays. Now they bring forward an omnibus bill that includes everything but the kitchen sink.

I would ask the hon. member if he has read through the entire thing, or realized the word “veteran” is not anywhere in that bill whatsoever. How can the government cram everything into that legislation and completely ignore our veteran community in Canada?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act October 27th, 2014

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-633, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act (veterans independence program).

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House today to introduce legislation to allow members of our RCMP who are retired, and their spouses, into the veterans independence program. Those in the military who are frail or who have an injury because of service can apply for the VIP, which allows them to stay in their homes longer by providing housekeeping and groundskeeping services. Unfortunately, for years we have tried to also allow this for disabled and infirmed RCMP veterans and their spouses, but have been unsuccessful. That is the purpose of this legislation. We believe that our RCMP veterans are equal to the heroes of our military and deserve equal access to a program of this nature. The VIP program is a very good program for our military. We would like to see it extended to RCMP veterans and their families.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Veterans Advocate September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House of Commons to pay tribute to a great Canadian, Steinar Jarle Engeset.

Steinar was born in Norway in 1942. In 1966 he immigrated to Canada with his wife.

He became instrumental in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, for opening up the northern shrimp fishery. He created many jobs in that part of the country.

Steinar will be most known for his advocacy on behalf of Canadian veterans. He was born during the war and has never forgotten that it was the Canadians and our allies who liberated his country and his parents. Thus, Steinar arranged the first Convoy Cup.

The Convoy Cup is made up of the air force, Canadian navy and merchant mariners who sailed essential supplies to Britain at that time for the liberation of a free Europe.

What an honour it was to be with Steinar on his vessel as he did the sailpast of HMCS Sackville, Canada's naval memorial, where he personally took the salute from Canada's honoured merchant navy veterans.

I pay a special tribute from the House of Commons to a great Canadian and a great man in Steinar Engeset.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 10th, 2014

With regard to homeless veterans: (a) what programs from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) are in place to assist homeless veterans; (b) what programs are in place by other government departments, if applicable, to assist homeless veterans; (c) what organizations are working in partnership with VAC to provide support to homeless veterans, broken down by province; (d) what is the annual breakdown of contributions issued to organizations working in partnership with VAC on veterans homelessness from 2009 to 2013 inclusively, broken down by province; (e) how much did VAC spend on veterans homelessness annually from 2009 to 2013 inclusively; (f) what are the details of VAC's evaluation of the effectiveness of their financial contribution and program delivery for the partnership defined in (c); (g) is VAC considering a plan for a national coordinated effort to support homeless veterans and, if so, what are the details; (h) how many homeless veterans have been identified annually by VAC, from 2009 to 2013 inclusively; (i) how many homeless veterans have been identified by organizations working in partnership with VAC annually from 2009 to 2013 inclusively, broken down by province; (j) how many homeless veterans identified in (h) and (i) are now in receipt of departmental benefits or services; (k) what is the breakdown of the type of departmental benefits or services the homeless veterans received from 2009 to 2013; (l) what are the planned expenditures by VAC for homeless veterans for the next five years; and (m) what are the planned expenditures by VAC for organizations working in partnership with VAC to provide support to homeless veterans?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 10th, 2014

With regard to disabled Canadian Forces veterans who are trying to obtain fair compensation with settlements under the New Veterans Charter (NVC): (a) how many Members of Parliament wrote to the Minister of Veterans Affairs with respect to fair compensation for injured veterans under the NVC, for each of the years from 2006 to 2014 inclusive; (b) what is the total amount of money spent by all government departments and agencies, excluding the Department of Justice, from October 2013 to the present, on the Equitas Society class action lawsuit, that is, the defence against disabled Canadian Forces veterans trying to obtain fair compensation with settlements under the NVC; (c) what is the total amount of money spent by the government to hire outside legal counsel from October 2013 to the present on the Equitas Society class action lawsuit; and (d) what is the total amount of money spent by all government departments and agencies on the Equitas Society class action lawsuit from October 2012 to the present, including all costs associated with the work of Department of Justice?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 10th, 2014

With regard to disabled RCMP veterans who are trying to end the reduction of long-term disability benefits by the amount of their Veterans Affairs Canada disability pension: (a) how many Members of Parliament (MP) wrote to the Minister of Veterans Affairs with respect to the issue identified above for each of the years from 2010 to 2014; (b) how many Conservative MPs wrote to the Minister with respect to the above issue for each of the years from 2010 to 2014; (c) what was the total amount of money spent by all government departments and agencies on the disabled RCMP members' class action lawsuit, including outside legal counsel; and (d) what is the estimated cost for settling the RCMP class action lawsuit?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 5th, 2014

With regard to homeless veterans: (a) what programs from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) are in place to assist homeless veterans; (b) what programs are in place by other government departments, if applicable, to assist homeless veterans; (c) what organizations are working in partnership with VAC to provide support to homeless veterans, broken down by province; (d) what is the annual breakdown of contributions issued to organizations working in partnership with VAC on veterans homelessness from 2009 to 2013 inclusively, broken down by province; (e) how much did VAC spend on veterans homelessness annually from 2009 to 2013 inclusively; (f) what are the details of VAC's evaluation of the effectiveness of their financial contribution and program delivery for the partnership defined in (c); (g) is VAC considering a plan for a national coordinated effort to support homeless veterans and, if so, what are the details; (h) how many homeless veterans have been identified annually by VAC, from 2009 to 2013 inclusively; (i) how many homeless veterans have been identified by organizations working in partnership with VAC annually from 2009 to 2013 inclusively, broken down by province; (j) how many homeless veterans identified in (h) and (i) are now in receipt of departmental benefits or services; (k) what is the breakdown of the type of departmental benefits or services the homeless veterans received from 2009 to 2013; (l) what are the planned expenditures by VAC for homeless veterans for the next five years; and (m) what are the planned expenditures by VAC for organizations working in partnership with VAC to provide support to homeless veterans?

Veterans Hiring Act June 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will give the government credit. It has moved the yardstick ever so slightly on the helmets to hardhats, for example, which was an American initiative brought into Canada, and there is some progress working on that.

However, let us not forget what the legislation says. The legislation says, for priority hiring, “If you meet the qualifications of the job. If you have psychological or physical problems, you may not be able to”.

We are hoping that with our recommendations tomorrow and with the government looking at an overall view of this, it will look at these veterans who are medically released from the military and understand that in order to place them in a public service role they may need additional training, they may need additional rehabilitation, or something else, in order to fit those needs. They may not meet the needs right away, on a résumé, but with time and training, they be able to do that.

I was recently in the United States for a one-day symposium on what the U.S. government is doing in hiring veterans. The State of Virginia, alone, in two years, hired over 50,000 veterans. One state and that many veterans. The way it did is was quite remarkable and I hope to be able to share that with my government colleagues in the committee when the bill comes to committee.