Moving Forward – VAC Stakeholders Meeting
Ottawa, ON - November 18, 2014
I welcome the appointment of General (ret.) Walt Natynczyk as Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). He is an exemplary leader and already we are seeing his leadership skills in action. With a new leadership team in place at VAC, the time is right for action to improve the benefits and services provided to Veterans and their families.
I believe also that Minister Fantino and Deputy Minister Natynczyk and his team recognize the significant role Veterans’ organizations and advocacy groups can play in providing advice to the Department. I am pleased that the Department is convening a Veterans’ Stakeholders Meeting on November 19th in Quebec City to discuss just that. It has been a year since the last meeting and it is important that these Veterans’ voices are heard by the new departmental leadership.
If everyone agrees to listen to one another and work as a team, it will be a successful meeting. There are many voices, but when you get right down to what every organization and advocacy group wants, it’s the same thing: better outcomes for Veterans and their families.
Now is not the time to focus on differences of the past; on November 19th, the focus needs to be on the present and the future. If respect, constructive feedback and a genuine desire to work together are present, this can be a pivotal moment for Veterans: a time when we all start to move forward together. That is how a real difference can be made in improving outcomes for Veterans and their families.
We are all in this together – just as we were in the service. We are not distinguished by where and when we served, but united by the fact that we served without question. Our goal moving forward should be the same: to ensure that those who serve have access to the services and opportunities they need, in recognition of their service and of the individual sacrifices they and their families have made.
Let’s make this meeting count!
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