In a media release Tuesday, Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski is celebrating a motion by the NDP that called on the Liberal government to reallocate the hundreds of millions of dollars in lapsed funding to improve services and benefits for Canadian veterans passed the House of Commons with all-party support.
Stetski said Stephen Harper's Conservative government made massive cuts in veterans' services and benefits while the Liberal government has been unable to spend the budgeted amounts for veterans while at the same time their own reporting shows they are failing to meet half of the 24 service standards for veterans.
In the 2016 budget year Liberals underspent $80.9 million for Veterans Affairs, in 2017 they left $143 million on the table, and in 2018 budget year they let $148.6 million in spending lapse.
“This lapsed funding by both Conservative and Liberal governments has effectively robbed our veterans of the services and benefits they deserve,” said Wayne Stetski, MP for Kootenay-Columbia. “We will continue to push the Liberal government to respect their obligation to our country's veterans and ensure money budgeted for veterans is actually spent on veterans.”
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh echoed Stetski's comments.
“Today is a victory for veterans across Canada who have risked everything for us but have not been getting the respect or the services they deserve,” said Singh. “As we remember their sacrifices, New Democrats will continue to push this government to deliver the services and benefits veterans deserve."
The NDP motion passed with overwhelming support.
We’ve forced the government to commit to spend all allocated funds for veterans to improve much-needed services,” said NDP Veterans Critic, Gord Johns. “But there’s more to do. Just this week we’ve seen that veterans were denied benefits because of an accounting error, and the Liberals will make them wait two more years before they fix it. This, on top of the fact that Liberals are trying to reduce pension benefits to some veterans. Canada’s Veterans deserve better.”