Report on Saskatchewan Outreach Activities
Ottawa - May 4, 2012
I have recently returned from Saskatchewan, where I spent a week meeting with Veterans in Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon. I was pleased with the turnout to our public events and enjoyed meeting with the many military and RCMP members, Veterans, families and others who came together to host my team and I.
We spent one day in Moose Jaw, where I met with the mayor, Glenn Hagel and LCol Brian Murray, acting commander of 15 Wing. I wanted to make sure that they were aware of the assistance that the Office can provide, as well as invite them to the town hall that we held in Moose Jaw that evening.
I then drove to Regina to meet with almost 40 RCMP members and staff. Many RCMP members and Veterans do not realize that I represent them. There are currently 16,500 RCMP Veterans and 22,000 serving members of the RCMP who may potentially be eligible for benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada. I make sure that I reach out to the local RCMP detachments every time I travel for an outreach event to ensure that they are aware of the assistance and support that the Office can provide to them. This was especially important to do in Saskatchewan, given the high number of RCMP members and Veterans in the province.
While in Regina, I met with the Provincial Ombudsman, Mr. Kevin Fenwick. Issues such as long-term care and health care fall under provincial jurisdiction. In instances where the Office needs to intervene on behalf of a Veteran on issues under provincial jurisdiction, we may engage with the provincial ombudsman to bring about change. I also spent several hours at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre where I had lunch with staff of the Extended Care/Veterans Program. My team and I then spread out and met with most of the 52 residents living in the two Veterans' wings, as well as some of their family members.
We held an afternoon meeting with representatives of the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association to discuss some of the challenges that they are currently facing. I also met with employees of Veterans Affairs Canada to debrief them, as I always do, on the key issues raised at the local town halls.
In Saskatoon, I met with the mayor, Mr. Donald Atchison, as well as the Saskatoon branch of the RCMP Veterans Association and employees of the Saskatoon VAC office. In addition, some of my team met with Dr. Susan Brock, a noted psychologist who specializes in the treatment of trauma within the military and first responder communities.
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