Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I can barely believe what I am going to share with all members here today, and it is from a veteran I met with last weekend in my riding. He said the problem is not just post traumatic stress disorder. He is on a medical leave and he said he is being harassed by Veterans Affairs staff, that they call all the time and follow him. One actually said on the phone more than once, “Oh, I’ve seen people like you. We wouldn’t want you to commit suicide now, would we?”
He actually believes officials are encouraging people to commit suicide. I know it is an appalling thing to say, but this is what a veteran said to me. The department needs to be reviewed from the bottom up and top down, to take care of our veterans. These are the words of a veteran. Members can yell at me from across the aisle if they want. A veteran in my riding told me to try to get this story out.
Joyce Murray: Mr. Speaker, I just want to respond to the member and the leader of the Green Party. I am disturbed to hear her account. I have heard very different accounts. I have heard that the people who serve at Veterans Affairs Canada are caring, capable, and dedicated individuals, and that is the case with the armed forces members themselves.
In Vancouver Quadra we had a veteran who was waiting six months for service and told us personally that the service that is provided and the individuals were caring and dedicated, but the capacity had been so much weakened and cut by the Conservative government that this gentleman in his nineties—who was not able to be mobile without some assistance from Veterans Affairs—was housebound for six months. It is because he simply could not get down the stairs, and the elevator that had already been signed off on was not installed, through lack of funds and lack of capacity in Veterans Affairs Canada.
It is not the individuals. It is the government and the lack of capacity, support, and funding, which it is withholding from Veterans Affairs individuals.