Veterans affairs were at the forefront of a town hall with Canada’s official Opposition leader at the Coast Bastion Hotel Thursday.
Thomas Mulcair, along with NDP Nanaimo-Cowichan member of Parliament Jean Crowder and her Sackville-Eastern Shore (Nova Scotia) counterpart Peter Stoffer, talked about the federal government’s closure of nine veterans affairs offices throughout the country, referring to it as “unacceptable.”
“[Veterans] are being told that they have to accept less, that they have to fill out forms, that they should get an app but they’ll never get to see a human being,” Mulcair said.
“These are Canadians who didn’t ask any questions when they were told that they had to go and do their duty for their country; the least we can do is be there for them now.”
He said that re-opening the offices would be a clear undertaking on the part of his party and pointed to a new veterans’ charter.
“We’re going to put an end to this old system of constantly clawing back what was there. Instead of having people fill out forms for months and months, the services will be provided proactively,” said Mulcair.
He said it should be an obligation to be there for the women and men who have served the country, and said resources for people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder are paramount.
“You need the psychiatrists, you need the psychologists,” he said. “Right now the resources just are not there. The protocols can be put in place. There are really good people working on this, but there’s simply not enough resources available.
“The government hasn’t made it a priority and that’s why it’s a continuing problem, that’s why we have so many suicides, because we’re just not getting the services to them.”