Open letter to MP Ryan Leef,
I would like to respond to your letter to the editor in which you serve up the government-approved talking points and toe the party line.
You say that the continued cuts to Veterans Affairs Canada and closures of VAC offices around the country will not affect service to the Yukon’s injured veterans, and I say, common sense says differently. You fail to mention that the Canadian government has no plans to hire additional staff at the remaining VAC offices to handle the increased caseloads, only cuts to funding and cuts to staff. This does not equal service to Yukon veterans. These cuts put tremendous strain on the system which means less service to vets everywhere in Canada.
I can tell you, as an example, that it has been about three years since the last visit to the Yukon from an area counsellor from VAC, with no visit to come in sight. You also talk about home visits carrying on, well it’s been eight years since I’ve had one.
The government has doubled the funeral and burial reimbursement, but the bar is set so high to qualify for this that there won’t be any increases in expenses to government.
You claim an increase in funding for services and benefits to vets since 2006, but I point to a little thing called the war in Afghanistan. More and more service members were injured during this time becoming clients of VAC.
You say veterans are well served by using Service Canada or your office, but I say a veteran would have to be a fool to trust veterans’ benefit claims or appeals in the hands of staff that have no training or experience in these matters.
The most important point I would like to make is, that by eliminating the life-long Veterans Affairs pension for pain and suffering, as a cost-cutting measure, your government has created two tiers, or standards of veterans (pre- and post-New Veterans Charter), and perpetrated a serious injustice against Canadian veterans.
Do not fight the deficit on the backs of Canadian veterans.
Darcy Grossinger, C.D.