Sault MP Tony Martin advises that Peter Stoffer, NDP caucus critic for veteran's affairs, will be in Sault Ste. Marie tomorrow, Wednesday afternoon.
Martin and Stoffer will host a forum on issues concerning veterans, the RCMP and their families at 2 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25, downstairs.
During his Sault visit, Stoffer will also tour the local armouries and meet with the Military Family Support Group and area legion representatives.
Meanwhile, the following statement was issued today by Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes:
************************* New veterans charter must be improved say New Democrats
Current legislation not good enough to assist disabled veterans and their families
ELLIOT LAKE - New Democrat Veterans Affairs Critic Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore) and Carol Hughes (Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing) want the Conservative government to make immediate changes to the new veterans charter to help disabled veterans and their families.
Stoffer is also calling for a review and overhaul of the way the Department of Veterans Affairs administers health and disability benefits for older veterans, RCMP, and their families.
“Our men and women in uniform and their families deserve the utmost respect from our government,” said Hughes. “I would like to see the new veterans affairs minister, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, do the right thing and change the legislation so veterans, RCMP and their families can get the help they need. This government is currently refusing to be accountable, but make no mistake, when the House of Commons returns we will put pressure on Blackburn and his colleagues.”
“The federal government has known for quite some time that they need to make improvements to veterans’ programs and services,” said Stoffer.
“Younger veterans want changes to the New Veterans Charter and want the option of a monthly disability benefit rather than a lifetime lump sum payment. In many cases, the lump sum payment is not enough to pay for a lifetime of medical expenses.
“Older Canadian Forces and RCMP veterans and their families want less bureaucratic red tape and a system that is based on health needs, rather than one that is based on categories of service.
“Quite frankly, men and women who have served their country deserve to be treated fairly and deserve to be supported long after their uniform comes off. Now is the time, in advance of the upcoming federal budget, for the federal government to make improvements to the lives of veterans and their families.”