Judy Foote is calling the Stephen Harper government irresponsible for ignoring the needs of Canada's veterans.
In a prepared release the Member of Parliament for Random-Burin-St. George’s said during the past year the Conservatives have continued to abdicate their responsibility by closing nine regional Veterans Affairs Canada offices throughout the country.
Foote said this has resulted in a drastic reduction in front line services for veterans and that the Conservatives justified closing these regional offices, including one in Corner Brook, by saying it saved taxpayer dollars.
She said recently released figures prove the closures have not resulted in any significant cost savings.
Foote said information provided to the House of Commons by the Department of Veterans Affairs Canada shows the combined operating budget for eight regional Veterans Affairs offices totaled $5.3 million in 2012-13.
She said this amounts to a very small fraction of the department’s overall budget.
“While the Harper government did not provide detailed expense reports for all nine offices that were closed, we do know total expenditures by the department for 2012-2013 totaled $3.5 billion,” Foote said.
She said it’s also known Veterans Affairs Canada didn't spend $173 million of funds it had been allocated by Parliament and that is money veterans could have used.”
Foote said these latest figures show once again the Conservatives gained nothing by closing the regional Veterans Affairs offices.
She said while the Harper government continues to disrespect Canada's veterans by refusing to acknowledge their need for services, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has committed a Liberal government to reopening the offices closed by the Conservatives and expanding services for veterans.