Evidence of meeting #106 for Veterans Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was homeless.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

William Webb  As an Individual
Stephen Gregory  Founder, Respect Campaign
Brenda Fewster  National Director, University Outreach and Program Evaluation, Respect Campaign
Ralph Mahar  Executive Officer, RCMP Veterans' Association
Karen Ludwig  New Brunswick Southwest, Lib.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Do you want to speak a little more about what needs to change for someone who's ended up in a situation like you've been in, like the six veterans you've identified? What needs to happen immediately? What does the government need to do? What resources can we provide? What are the solutions?

You talked about $7,500 to get started. Maybe elaborate more, if you could, on what needs to happen.

5:20 p.m.

As an Individual

William Webb

It needs to be targeted toward local living expenses. The cost of living where I live on Vancouver Island is far more expensive than it is in Calgary. I live in very rural Vancouver Island. I can find rental accommodation in Calgary for half the price that I'm paying in the Comox Valley, at $2,500 a month for a small home.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

How much time do I have?

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Neil Ellis

One minute.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

I have a question for Mr. Mahar.

We talked a little earlier about a more holistic approach to serving our veterans. All of us are responsible for that. I appreciate that and I agree. However, you talked also about the well-being fund and the need for the RCMP Veterans' Association to be able to benefit from that.

We hear there is a lot of downloading happening from government onto organizations to fill the gap. Maybe for some of that we need to have organizations to do that, and they can be innovative. Sometimes maybe it should be government filling the gap.

You speak about the well-being fund and how important that would be to your organization and how that would help. Maybe give us some idea of how you could use it.

February 4th, 2019 / 5:20 p.m.

Executive Officer, RCMP Veterans' Association

Ralph Mahar

It's a new fund. I don't think it's possible to comment on its long-term benefits because we haven't seen what it has achieved. But in terms of the promise that it was offering with respect to providing active support to veterans and their families and the types of issues it was looking to support research on—suicide prevention and homeless veterans—we believe we had an initiative that would certainly be responsive to our veterans and acknowledge the contributions they have made in international peace operations. I think the fact that we are and continue to be deemed ineligible for that deprives our veterans of the opportunity to share and appreciate their status as veterans—because they indeed are veterans. I think in some respects it cheapens or devalues the contributions they have made. I believe there is value that can come of that. We know that the organizations that have been supported by it are doing outstanding work. I'm grateful that the fund has been established. I wish the RCMP would be eligible for it. I hope the minister will be sympathetic to that view.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Neil Ellis

Thank you.

That ends our time for today. On behalf of the committee, I'd like to thank you all for taking time out of your day to testify and for all that you've done for veterans, and continue to do.

A motion to adjourn, Mr. Samson.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

So moved.

(Motion agreed to)

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Neil Ellis

The meeting is adjourned.