Ministerial Shuffle

Ottawa – July 23, 2013

As all of you are aware, we have a new Minister of Veterans Affairs – the Honourable Julian Fantino. As a retired police officer with over forty years experience and as the former Associate Minister of National Defence, he brings to the position an in-depth understanding of those who serve in uniform and dedicate their careers to serving Canadians at home and abroad.

We have enjoyed a period of forward movement under the stewardship of the Honourable Steven Blaney and I congratulate him on his new post as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. His enthusiastic approach in dealing with Veterans and their families and his commitment to their well-being was much appreciated.   

I have already engaged with the new ministerial staff, and have had a fulsome discussion with Minister Fantino’s new Chief of Staff, Jacques Fauteux – a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, who I had the pleasure of working with when I served as Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer. I have been informed that the Minister is eager to meet with me at the earliest opportunity and I look forward to briefing him on the key elements of my Office’s operational work, plans for the future and ongoing concerns.

I intend to maintain the collaborative approach of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman. I am determined to continue to provide the Minister and Veterans with evidenced-based advice in consultation with the Veterans Community. The reports that my Office publishes will continue also to offer timely, factual and relevant information on both existing and emerging issues of concern.

My primary focus now is the New Veterans Charter and the upcoming review of the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act. I am concentrating my efforts on the financial, vocational assistance and family support aspects of the Charter and I will continue to call for a broadened Charter review to address shortcomings in these areas.

Above all, I will continue to advocate that in accordance with the Veterans Bill of Rights, our Veterans and their families be treated fairly, with the respect and dignity that they deserve.


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Wondering said:

I know the question of earnings loss retro has been asked many times. However I will ask again, will there be any word from Mr.Fantino and VAC on the retro for some few thousand veterans that are waiting on any word at all?

July 24, 2013 3:34 PM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

The Office has been in touch with the Department numerous times to inquire about the status of retroactive reimbursements of the Disability Pension offset to the Earnings Loss Benefit. Following the Federal Court Decision, we have consistently urged the Department to take action and promptly communicate the progress and details of this matter to Veterans and their families. To this date, we have yet to receive a positive response or indication of movement.

With the announcement of the new Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Office has the opportunity to renew our call for the Department to come to a prompt resolution in this matter, and communicate the details to Veterans and their families. Be assured that we remain engaged with the Department and committed to ensuring that Veterans receive all of the services and benefits they require in a fair, timely and efficient manner. We encourage you to check back to our blog in the coming months as we will communicate the details as soon as we have them.

July 26, 2013 4:19 PM

Callaghan said:

I expect that this will likely not be posted as a comment, given that I am voicing concerns over Mr. Parent's ability to act as the VAC Ombuds, and as such, I will be posting this same comment to several other social forums. With this blog-post I have now lost any and all respect that I had for you, MR. Parent (note that I purposefully, for the first time, refuse to refer to you with the honorific of your prior rank as a direct result of the feeling of absolute betrayal demonstrated by the wording of your toady-like blog-post). To claim that we "enjoyed a period of forward movement under the stewardship of the Honourable Steven Blaney" is to completely ignore the absolute dismissal of every single recommendation made by your agency by the current government. To further suggest that MR. Fantino's experience as a former police officer enables him to understand the plight of veterans, especially those with PTSD or other operational stress injuries, flies in the face of his previous in/action, especially his wholesale dismissal and disregard of issues raised by police officers under his various commands in the past. Further, I am still waiting to see any substantive response from the government over issues raised by you, your predecessor, or the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, and am starting to wonder if you will ever put pressure to the current government to ever address the numerous complaints that have been raised since the office you hold was formed. Your office has raised several informed concerns regarding the treatment of veterans, but without any follow-through. To believe that the current government would simply act in good faith on any of the recommendations made to date demonstrates a high degree of naïveté, negligence, ineptitude, or a mixture thereof. Had you made it absolutely clear before now that you were intending on simply accepting the status quo to further your own career, I could have at least accepted the honesty if not the intention – but have you completely forgotten and/or dismissed the principle of leadership that you look after the best interests of your subordinates? I would suggest that in your current position as the VAC Ombuds that you are supposed to be acting in the same manner that you should have been as a former senior NCO, just in your current role it should be looking out for the best interest of veterans – something that this blog, and your frequent (in)action bordering on sycophantic obedience, including the rhetoric presented at various town-halls (including the one I attended in Toronto), makes me question the degree the integrity of the rank you previously held. It is high-time for you to man up to the position that you hold and start truly representing veterans rather than just puckering up for the current government, or acknowledge that you have little actual interest in ensuring that the government actually understands, and acts on, the problems that exist. As the saying goes, stop pissing in my face and telling me that it’s raining.

July 24, 2013 5:55 AM