Author Topic: Will the standard of care for disabled and aging veterans fall victim to the Har  (Read 1475 times)

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Will the standard of care for disabled and aging veterans fall victim to the Harper Government?s budget cuts?

Disabled and aging veterans have good reason to be concerned. The quality of their future care may be in jeopardy if the Harper Government cuts the budget of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) by half a billion dollars this spring.

Questions and concerns raised by the union representing VAC?s frontline workers are serious, particularly in light of Minister Blaney's promise that veterans? benefits would not be affected by budget cuts.

This week, Canadians were informed that VAC employees are overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed by the number of veterans entrusted to their care. They find themselves falling behind on their case load ? often months behind ? and in one case as much as 8 months. In the most extreme cases, veterans are dying before receiving the services or equipment they were entitled to.

Perhaps most alarming are the additional staff cuts looming over Ste. Anne?s Hospital in Montreal. Ste. Anne?s is the only VAC-controlled veterans? hospital in the country. Representatives from the Canadian Veterans Advocacy visited the hospital last October and received a full briefing and an unrestricted tour of the areas of the hospital dedicated to the well-being of World War II and Korean War veterans.
Ste. Anne?s is a remarkable facility. The Staff are dedicated and fully aware of the important role they play in the lives of the veterans with whom they have been entrusted to care. There are over 400 patients, a majority in their late 80s and early 90s. VAC has provided Standard of Excellence care and dedication to veterans at Ste. Anne?s, standards that will not be guarantied.
Minister Blaney has promised this standard of excellence will be maintained. However, there will be no federal oversight of Ste. Anne?s Hospital once it is transferred to the Province of Quebec. Without formal safeguards in place, how can veterans be assured that the high standard of respect, earned in blood and sacrifice at Juno Beach, Ortona, Kapyong, Hill 355 and 187, will be maintained?

The Harper Government must respect the social contract and the sacred obligation this country has to these and all veterans. It is the duty of the Government to ensure these valid concerns are addressed in a meaningful and binding way. All further negotiations between VAC, the Harper Government and the Province of Quebec must include credible safeguards to protect the present residents and future well being of all Canadian veterans requiring assistance at this level.
ML Blais CD, Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran One Standard

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