Re: Strahl urged to rethink priorities, (Letters, Chilliwack Progress, Nov. 12)
I will always place the highest priority on supporting Canada’s men and women in uniform, both during and after their service to our country.
Toronto Liberal MP and veterans affairs critic, Jim Karygiannis, is wrong about the Last Post Fund. He knows that our Conservative government improved the Funeral and Burial Program by more than doubling the financial support available to veterans’ families from $3,600 under the Liberals to $7,376 today – improvements that the Royal Canadian Legion applauded, and he and the Liberal Party of Canada voted against.
In fact, our Conservative government has made record investments to support Canada’s veterans, including almost $5 billion in new additional funding since taking office. This funding has been put towards improved financial benefits, world-class rehabilitation and tuition costs to help veterans transition to civilian life. Unfortunately, the Liberal Party of Canada has not only failed to support these programs, but they have openly insulted the Canadian veterans receiving assistance from them.
Instead of setting politics aside on Remembrance Day, the Liberal Party of Canada’s veterans critic went on national television and declared that giving injured veterans large initial payments for their pain and suffering was like “hanging a case of beer in front of a drunk.” He went on to say that injured veterans would simply blow the money on “booze and addiction.” These comments are disgraceful.
The Liberal Party of Canada presided over what former Chief of Defence Staff, Rick Hillier, referred to as “the Decade of Darkness” for Canada’s men and women in uniform. They continue that same attitude today by voting against every improvement we make to veterans benefits, and with their shameful display of disrespect towards Canada’s injured veterans.
Our Conservative government knows that there is always more to be done, which is why we’ve announced a comprehensive review of the New Veterans Charter with a special focus on the most injured veterans. I can only hope that as we make further improvements to veterans benefits, Mr. Karigyannis and the Liberals will finally- even once- support them.
Mark Strahl, MP