Evidence of meeting #92 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 help.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Randi Gage  Chair, Unified Veterans of Manitoba
Brian Black  Chair and Vice-President, Métis Nation of Ontario
Shelly Claus  Women’s Representative, Métis Nation of Ontario
Victor Sanderson  As an Individual
Lissa Smith  Vice-President and Minister for Veterans, Métis Nation British Columbia
Tanya Davoren  Director of Health and Sport, Director of Veterans, Métis Nation British Columbia

12:30 p.m.

Vice-President and Minister for Veterans, Métis Nation British Columbia

Lissa Smith

That's interesting. Tanya did describe.... I think three of our committee members might have been there.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

No, there was a sense in the room of not necessarily everybody representing everyone. This was where we struggled.

12:30 p.m.

Vice-President and Minister for Veterans, Métis Nation British Columbia

Lissa Smith

I don't know who the other two would have been.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

That's fine.

The Legion was represented there as well. I can't remember the specifics, but he talked about how the Legion across Canada did not serve indigenous people when they came back from the war, and that they are not funded by the government to do the work they do. There was an impression in the room that they did receive funding.

12:30 p.m.

Vice-President and Minister for Veterans, Métis Nation British Columbia

Lissa Smith

I can only speak to what I know, that Ontario and British Columbia—the “bookends”, as we call them—have done the most work for the Métis National Council on our veterans' committees. The other provinces will be coming on board with work, and we hope they copy everything we have, all the documentation, policies, and procedures. That would be a given.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Okay.

12:30 p.m.

Vice-President and Minister for Veterans, Métis Nation British Columbia

Lissa Smith

We are the Métis Nation B.C., recognized by the provincial government as well and the federal government in British Columbia.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Okay.

12:30 p.m.

Vice-President and Minister for Veterans, Métis Nation British Columbia

Lissa Smith

We support all Métis people and we are the recognized nation.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Thank you. I appreciate your putting that on the record.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Neil Ellis

Mr. Samson, you have four minutes.

June 14th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Thank you very much, all three of you—for serving, number one, and also for your testimony here today.

As you can tell, the time is so short that we've got to try zero in quickly, but some of the issues seem very similar. In B.C. we heard that part of the solution was what you shared today, funding for networking. That was one, as well as representation of Métis in Veterans Affairs. Then there are the issues of dealing with your groups, if you want, or the three different indigenous veterans groups, the others being of course Inuit and first nations.

As a minority francophone, the words that we would use are "par et pour", which means “by us, for us”. It means to let us on the ground who understand the challenges do the work. That was very interesting and important. I'll hold that note.

I want to talk with Mr. Sanderson a little bit more on a couple of issues that are extremely important. Throughout our travels, it was evident that when people from reserves came back from World War II or Korea or afterwards, Afghanistan and whatnot, we were not really equipped to help those veterans. What could we do at the reserve stage? What can we do as far as services on the reserve by Veterans Affairs are concerned?

I'll stop there, but if I have time, the next question would be about services, which you talked about. We've added a lot of services in education and compassionate care. Are you aware of those? That's the other piece about awareness.

I'll let you start, and if we have time I'll zero in a little more.

Those are three questions.

Go ahead; sorry.

12:30 p.m.

As an Individual

Victor Sanderson

My struggle with Veterans Affairs has always been about services. It's very hard, not doing business with the communities, to get anything from Veterans Affairs. In the past, I've told them that they couldn't come to my home anymore because of what they've done to me. It really hit home for me that none of our people would actually get help from Veterans Affairs at all because of the stigma that we have had given from Canada itself.

If we want to fight through the stigma, we've got to work together and find a common ground. That common ground has to start somewhere. I would suggest in the health field or the health clinics.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Health clinics are very important, and thank you.

Do you use your VAC account? Do you know about a VAC account?

12:30 p.m.

As an Individual

Victor Sanderson

I know about the VAC account, but I don't have a computer at home.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Okay.

12:30 p.m.

As an Individual

Victor Sanderson

That's one of the things I struggle with right now. We only have one income. I'm trying to get on an earnings loss benefit, but that's just a wait-and-see too. I've heard of horror stories on that program as well.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Okay.

12:30 p.m.

As an Individual

Victor Sanderson

Like I said, the office just opened as well, and we just have to wait and see how things are going.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Push and ask the questions.

Are you aware of the compassionate care program or the educational assistance? If you've been in the military for six years, you get $40,000 access funding for education, or at 12 years, it's $80,000. Are you aware of that?

12:35 p.m.

As an Individual

Victor Sanderson

No, I wasn't part of that back in 1996 when I discharged from the military. I was left out in the cold. I was just let go. It was, “Thanks for your services. Thanks for coming out.”

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

In your VAC—

12:35 p.m.

As an Individual

Victor Sanderson

Transition was not there at the time.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Neil Ellis

Yes, thank you.

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Thank you, all, for your service. It's great to see people from Vancouver Island and British Columbia here as well.

Mr. Sanderson, you talked about health clinics and the need for more. There was a recommendation that came from the advisory committee, the minister's mental health advisory group, for an in-patient care centre for PTSD. Do you see something like that benefiting indigenous veterans, or would something culturally appropriate be a benefit in health services? We do live in a big country and a lot of services are remote, but do you think a facility like that would benefit veterans?