As November 11th approaches, I hope you once again take time to remember those that have sacrificed, those that continue to take on the perilous work of safeguarding Canadian freedoms, and the soldiers who are now representing us abroad as peacekeepers.
It is my honour and pleasure to serve as our nation’s Minister of Veterans Affairs. In this role I am entrusted with the mandate to support our veterans – young and old – and in the commemoration of all of Canada’s past conflicts.
Just one of the memories that I will be reflecting on this month is the impact of the First World War on Western Canada High School where some 170 Old Boys and 6 Masters had enlisted by 1916. The Calgary Herald estimated some 40% of all the boys who ever attended the college had enlisted and went off to war: and you can see this sacrifice memorialized at the cenotaph today just behind the school. Young men, with their entire futures in front of them, were brought into one of the world’s most brutal conflicts and sacrificed themselves our freedoms. It is a story I think of often when I attend ceremonies across this country and serve as Minister of Veterans Affairs.
I invite you to look online on my ministry’s website at http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/events to see what events are in our community.
Now, it has been nearly a year since I was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a member of his cabinet, and I am proud of the work we have done to reconfirm our commitment to improving support and services to our Veterans.
In Budget 2016 the Government of Canada put $5.6 billion additional dollars into Veterans Affairs, showcasing a clear commitment to bettering the lives of our nation’s heroes.
This year we have announced the re-openings of the nine Veterans Affairs offices closed by the previous government. In addition to reopening these much needed offices – which support veterans across this country – we are also opening an extra office in Surrey, BC, to support the thousands of veterans who live in that city. Above and beyond this we have increased benefits to veterans by increasing the Earning Loss Benefit to 90% from 75%, increased the Disability Award and are on track to hire up to 400 more frontline staff. With increasing benefits and frontline staff we can better support veterans and make sure they transition smoother into civilian life.
It is in this commitment I continue to work to better the lives of veterans and keep the promises we made in the 2015 election.
As always, you can contact my office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 403.244.1880. My office is located at 950 6 Ave SW and my door is always open to you. You can follow my work in Parliament online at www.KentHehrMP.ca where you can watch clips of yours truly in question period and sign up for my e-newsletter.
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