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January 31st, 2020

New Democrats call on Liberals to stop short-changing Veterans

OTTAWA – New facts obtained from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) by the NDP show that the Liberals are still refusing to deliver the funding and services Canadian veterans need and are owed. Despite promises to do better than the Conservatives, the numbers prove that the Liberals took hundreds of millions of dollars that were owed to veterans and slipped it back into their own bottom line.

“The Liberals have allowed nearly $500 million to lapse at VAC since they came to power in 2015. That money could and should have been used to clear the backlog at the department, improve service delivery, and help our veterans,” said NDP Critic for Veterans Rachel Blaney. “The Liberals’ failure to meet the needs of veterans and their repeated refusal to deliver the funding promised in the budget is unacceptable.”

New Democrats have been fighting to end this underfunding and, in 2018, they received unanimous support for an NDP motion to automatically carry forward lapsed spending at VAC to the next fiscal year. Still, last year alone, the Liberals shortchanged veterans by $381 million dollars. At the same time, the department is facing a staggering backlog of disability claim files and is failing on more than half of their own service standards.

“I consistently hear from veterans who are frustrated with the department because they’re being told to wait months, sometimes years, for a decision on their case,” said Blaney. “While the Liberals withhold the funding, case managers are burning out under unmanageable workloads and the veterans they care for are being left frustrated and unsupported. If the Liberals actually delivered on their commitments, more staff could be hired and cases could be processed faster.”