Summerside veteran was involved in confrontation with federal minister

Diane Crocker
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Paul Davis

CORNER BROOK  Paul Davis wants Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino to know that he doesn’t accept his apology for the way a meeting with the minister went on Tuesday.   

Davis, 66, is part of a delegation of veterans from across the country who have been in Ottawa this week trying to prevent the closure of nine Veterans Affairs offices.

The group was supposed to meet with Fantino at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, but the minister didn’t show. Instead, Fantino sent three of his parliamentary people to meet the group.

Davis, who is from Summerside, said the group stayed as long as it could before moving on to another meeting.

“We were in a small room just ready to go out to meet the press and he walked in,” said Davis.

According to Davis, Fantino started talking about the closures and said he was going ahead with them.

“And we were hot enough that he didn’t turn up (for our meeting), but what he was doing was he was breaking into our press conference.”

Davis said the veterans were mad and told Fantino what he was saying and doing was wrong.

“He was taking everything away from the veterans, what we fought for all these years ever since the First World War, in one sweep he was taking it all away from us.”

The exchange with the minister then “got hot and heavy,” as Davis questioned him on some things. The roughly 10-minute meeting ended with Fantino walking out.

Davis said the experience was very upsetting for the group and some of the veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder broke down after.

On Wednesday afternoon the Public Service Alliance of Canada issued a statement from Davis and delegation members Ron Clarke, Bruce Moncur and Roy Lamore. It said: “What the minister did yesterday was disgraceful. The only thing we want is a commitment to keep open the eight offices and reopen the Prince George office. Veterans have earned that respect.”

Fantino also issued his own statement apologizing for how the meeting was handled.

“I have been committed to having an open dialogue with the men and women who served Canada in uniform, but I realize that yesterday’s regrettable delay has brought that into question. Veterans across Canada should know that I remain deeply committed to meeting with them and listening to the issues that matter to them and their families, and to continue to do what’s right to support those who have stood up for Canada. Our country’s veterans deserve no less,” said the minister’s statement

However, Davis told The Western Star “we don’t accept his apology at all.”

Organizations: Veterans Affairs, Public Service Alliance of Canada

Geographic location: Summerside, Ottawa, Canada Prince George Western Star

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Recent comments

  • Ed. Anstey
    January 31, 2014 - 12:21

    fantino is a disgrace to canada and harper is no better,because if he was he would have fired fantino immediately. veterans please keep up the good fight.latori

  • Wayne deaves
    January 30, 2014 - 12:09

    Mr. Fantino its time to stand down. Harper you must go.What the Government did yesterday was disgraceful.We will remember.

  • Mike Bryenton
    January 30, 2014 - 11:49

    Is there a link anywhere to this confrontation?

  • New Veteran
    January 30, 2014 - 06:51

    So, the Minister is "committed to having an open dialogue with the men and women who served Canada in uniform." His approach as the Toronto Police Chief was the same, I speak and you listen. Notice the carefully crafted statement said the Minister "remains deeply committed to meeting with them and listening" which is hard to do when you are talking. He will continue to "do what’s right to support those who have stood up for Canada" because he thinks only the politicians have stood up for Canada and Federal tax dollars are for them. We had saying in the Canadian Armed Forces. "Nothing is too good for the men. Nothing is what they will get."

  • Gordon Noseworthy
    January 29, 2014 - 22:28

    Fatino is a disgrace to all veterans by demonstrating his lack of respect and then to try damage control with an excuse. There are many family members of veterans past and present who pay attention and we don't forget!