moved for leave to introduce Bill C-607, An Act to establish the office of the Veterans' Ombudsman.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased this morning to introduce the independent and effective office of the Veterans Ombudsman bill, which if passed would give the Veterans Ombudsman independence from departmental and ministerial control and would shift the reporting requirements to Parliament itself.
Members of Parliament are fond of arranging Christmas gifts for our soldiers, particularly those on active duty in Afghanistan at this time of year. An effective and independent ombudsman to help them when they leave the forces, especially if they are injured, would be the best possible gift to give them.
This bill would provide veterans with an independent voice that could effectively advocate on their behalf. The bill would make significant changes to the scope of the ombudsman's ability to investigate problems, offer mediation services and comment on systemic issues using the same resources now committed to the current office. These powers and new reporting relationship would significantly strengthen the ombudsman's effectiveness at no additional cost to the taxpayer. As such, the bill would not require a royal recommendation. This is a serious bill for a serious problem.
This is the sort of holiday gift that Canadian soldiers and Canadian veterans want and deserve. I take this time to wish them all a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)