Madam Speaker, on February 26, I posed a question to the Prime Minister on behalf of Warrant Officer Roger Perreault, a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, regarding the decision to reward terrorists who maim and kill Canadian soldiers, while denying compensation to soldiers injured in roadside bomb attacks.
Roger Perreault is an Afghanistan veteran who served his country honourably. In addition to serving in Afghanistan, he served twice in Bosnia and in three special duty areas over a span of 27 years. He was medically released from the military in 2017.
Roger was injured in 2006 in a blast from an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan. He has had three back surgeries, two hip replacements, and other complications. His release was timed to take place two days before the government's fake news announcement that all support programs would be in place before an injured soldier was discharged from the military. Nothing was in place for Roger and his family.
Now released from the military, retired Perreault is being denied the critical injury benefit by Veterans Affairs, being told that, at age 46, his injuries are the result of his body wearing out, ignoring the injuries he received in the IED blast. Today, veteran Roger Perreault informs me that the Department of Veterans Affairs does not even bother to return his phone calls. The Prime Minister should be ashamed that a Canadian veteran who sacrificed his health and the well-being of his family is treated in such a shoddy fashion.
On the evening of October 7, 2006, while on mission in Afghanistan, Warrant Officer Perreault was on a routine patrol in a LAV III. He had stopped behind another LAV III and dismounted when a large explosion ripped the left side of the LAV, throwing him to the ground. While, at the time, Roger considered himself lucky to have survived the explosion, several of his close comrades in arms were not so lucky.
Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson of the Royal Canadian Dragoons died that day. On September 3, 2006, Sargent Shane Hank Stachnik, from Roger's 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan and Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish of the Royal Canadian Regiment died during a Taliban assault. Roger is haunted by memories of those fallen comrades. Now, considering the treatment he is receiving from his own government, he is not so sure who was the lucky one.
Four weeks ago, a veteran in Edmonton said, “I was prepared to be killed in action. What I wasn’t prepared for, Mr. Prime Minister, is Canada turning its back on me.” The Prime Minister's response that veterans are asking for more than he can give them right now was appalling.
Actually, what veterans are asking for is what the Prime Minister promised them. In terms of pain, suffering, and incapacity payments, most if not all veterans who qualify for such benefits under the Liberal April 2019 plan will receive less than under programs that were available from the Conservative government. What a cruel trick to Veterans: announce a program that few if any veterans qualify for.
Additional existing and future benefits have highly restrictive criteria. Only 152 veterans received the critical injury benefit that is owed to Roger Perreault out of more than 62,000 recipients of the lump sum. The Liberals have made it so difficult to qualify for the critical injury benefit that by their own estimates only six veterans per year will qualify going forward.