Mr. Speaker, I want to narrow this down to a couple of people in my riding who are having great difficulty. This is about people who served their country with valour and honour and now are veterans. One of these people is the widow of a veteran.
Here is what happens. When we speak to officials at DVA privately over a glass of beer and with no microphones or anyone looking over their shoulder, they will tell you that the reason why they say no and deny so many people their proper rights and pensions is because they simply do not have the money. They would love to go public with that, but they cannot because we do not have proper whistleblower protection
I will give two examples. Chris Beattie is the widow of a veteran who served at Chalk River. Just before he died, DVA said to him that he was entitled to the veterans independence program. However, two days before the program was actually delivered, before DVA came to his house to deliver and assist with the VI program, he died. Because he died and because he did not actually receive the program, his spouse is not entitled to VIP.
Another example, which is reported in today's Chronicle-Herald, is that of a veteran firefighter with the Department of National Defence, 73 years old, who has been denied repeatedly for cancer and heart problems because of the smoke inhalation he suffered in his career.
The province recognizes that pension disability, but DVA says no. With a $14 billion surplus, does the member not think that for their service to their country the government can assist people to have some semblance of a decent life ?