Madam Speaker, veterans and their families deserve better. Since the Liberal Party stole power in the 2015 election, there have been four and a half veterans affairs ministers, including the time the portfolio was reduced to a part-time position. Even the Toronto Star calls the portfolio “a revolving door”, though it seems more like a trap door for government MPs who have fallen in disfavour with the ruling clique, like the former justice minister.
The Liberal Party has traditionally used the veterans portfolio as a dumping ground. Canadians remember all too well when the hapless John McCallum, who sent soldiers to Afghanistan lacking the proper equipment, was dumped out of the defence portfolio and into Veterans Affairs. His mistreatment of veterans landed him with a final reward as ambassador to China. Canadians across the country are paying the price for his failures there.
We know how the current Liberal Party leader feels about veterans after he told a veteran in Edmonton that veterans are asking for too much. That comment is rich coming from the Liberal Party, which gave $10.5 million to convicted terrorist Omar Khadr. All veterans are asking for is what was promised to them.
I know that some Liberal Party MPs, particularly those with prior military service, are in denial when it comes to their government's mistreatment of veterans.
I am now reading into Hansard a letter I received from a veteran, a retired sergeant major, which sums up the feelings of veterans who are contacting my office on a daily basis.
It states, “We're pretty much using the same failing strategy as we did in the mid-1800s. Boots are still an issue and our Navy just 'isn't'—we have some good equipment for the Army because they needed it so desperately when they didn't have it to fight a War we sent our troops to.
“The RCAF has just purchased museum quality jets from Australia and the Canadian Government tried to railroad a Vice Admiral for doing his job.
“We don't contribute our share to NATO and try our best to annoy the strongest democratic country on the planet and our closest neighbour just for good measure.
“The legacy of the injured from Afghanistan and the unit designed to transition them (the Joint Personnel Support Unit [JPSU]) has been the cause of incredible stress among injured and transitioning military families, only getting to its functional point in a year or so—six years after the conclusion of hostilities.
“The current Government and Canadian Armed Forces leadership is acting like all the adults left Parliament Hill for the weekend and they have taken it upon themselves to run the levers of Government in their absence.
“Not knowing what they're doing, they are making an incredible mess of things while having a jolly great time of it, but this one particular Mess with our Country's Defences must be corrected—now.
“Too many people have given their futures for this beautiful Country and its people—it's time to respect their sacrifice by not allowing another circumstance to swallow another generation in the absence of adults.”
On behalf of Canadians, I thank the sergeant major for his service to our country.
I asked a question in question period, which the leader of the Liberal Party was too ashamed to answer. How many taxpayer dollars were wasted wrongly prosecuting an innocent man, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman?