Each year the faces of our Veterans change. Those who fought in the wars of the last century grow fewer replaced by younger men and women who have served in more recent arenas of conflict like Afghanistan. What doesn’t change is our duty to remember. That is why on Sunday, Remembrance Day, many of us will stand at cenotaphs across the community, poppies on our lapels, to honour the bravery and sacrifice of Canadians who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We honour the fallen even more by ensuring that those who fought alongside them, our living Veterans, are not forgotten either.
Veterans Week provides us with the opportunity to confirm our commitment to supporting Veterans. Like all Members of Parliament across the country, I meet with Veterans and their families regularly and I am always moved by their stories of bravery and sacrifice. In return it is my duty to provide them with the assurance that the federal government has in place benefits and programs that will support our Veterans where and when they need it, and at every stage of their lives.
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) exists in order to repay the debt our nation owes to the men and women who served and constituents have put their faith in us that our Veterans are being treated fairly and with compassion.
Through Veterans Affairs Canada, Canadians support close to 220,000 clients, including war Veterans, modern-day Veterans, RCMP members, and their families, helping with many aspects of their everyday lives. As the needs of Veterans change, Veterans Affairs Canada continues to improve the way it serves Veterans by operating more quickly, more efficiently, and more simply.
In the past, outdated methods of delivering services have resulted in delays and inefficiencies. But with the encouragement of Veterans groups we have broken down bureaucratic roadblocks to make programs and benefits better. Under the Veterans Independence Program for instance, Veterans no longer have to wait for payments to cover housekeeping and grounds keeping services like snow removal. The payments are made up front rather than making Veterans wait for reimbursement.
Veterans will no longer have to submit receipts for health-related medical travel either, making the claim process much quicker, easier and more efficient. And as announced recently, the Government of Canada is delivering increased benefits to Canadian Armed Forces veterans by ending the deduction of veterans’ disability pensions when calculating their Earnings Loss and Canadian Forces Income Support benefits. These are a few examples of our government’s efforts and determination to ensure our Veterans are being cared for.
Canadians can do their part as well by ensuring that our Veterans’ legacy is not forgotten.
Veterans Week and Remembrance Day provides us with the opportunity to pause and reflect on the sacrifice that our men and women in uniform undertake in order to protect stability and peace around the world and here at home.
I hope that each of you will find time in your busy lives to attend one of the Remembrance Day ceremonies held throughout the week at one of our local retirement and home care facilities, or on Sunday at one of our cenotaphs in Lake Country, Kelowna City Park, or at Lion’s Park in Rutland where I will be laying a wreath.
We all have a responsibility to take time to remember and above all, vow never to forget.
If you have any questions regarding federal issues related to Veterans Affairs Canada or the Government of Canada, please contact my office at [email protected] or go to www.veterans.gc.ca. I will be working from the riding next week until I return to Ottawa November 18th.
The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.
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