Mr. Speaker, I can understand why my colleague wants to change the focus of her question, because the reality is that we have answered the question she asked last fall.
When Parliament passed the new veterans charter in 2005, it was with unanimous support. The new veterans charter is a suite of programs and services that can be modified and adapted as time passes. The perfect example of this evolution is when our government implemented new payment options for the disability award, which is what the member opposite wanted to address. We heard loud and clear that the veterans wanted options, and we listened. Now they have the choice of receiving the lump sum payment, an annual installment over a number of years of their choosing, or a combination of the two payment plans.
When we introduced enhancements to the new veterans charter just last year, we took steps to ensure that the most seriously injured veterans would receive the support, financial or otherwise, that they truly needed.
Veterans can now receive comprehensive care that goes well beyond the immediate and long-term financial support available to them. This model also includes full physical and psychological rehabilitation as well as vocational assistance, health care benefits and one-on-one case management.This includes things like home visits or visits by a registered nurse so that a service injured veteran does not have to leave his or her home to visit an office.
We have done this because offering a comprehensive care and support system such as that found in the new veterans charter will lead to rehabilitation and will further enable a smooth transition by veterans back to civilian life.
Why, since the new veterans charter came in, have the member and her party voted against so many initiatives that have been brought in. The member voted against Agent Orange funding, against veterans benefits services and even against long-term care. It is all very puzzling. Most sadly, the NDP has voted against increased funding for our most seriously injured veterans.
We on this side of the House are focused on delivering concrete results for Canadian veterans. We have introduced direct deposit so that veterans no longer have to travel to the bank to receive their benefits. We have eliminated over 2.5 million phone calls, mailings or other steps veterans once needed to complete to gain access to the information and benefits they needed. Veterans no longer have to send in receipts, for example, for a $15 snow clearing expense, only to be reimbursed weeks later—no more under our government. Instead, we provide that funding up front.
In all, our government is focused on improving the lives of Canadian veterans by introducing measures to empower them in their quest to transition back to civilian life.
The real question I think we should ask this evening is whether the NDP and Liberal leaders in the future will let my colleague across the way actually vote for veterans benefits this year.