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My Exchange with the Minister of Veterans Affairs on Veteran Funeral Costs

Posted on November 7, 2012

Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Veterans Affairs unveiled a ribbon. It is easy to see that the minister–

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Charlottetown has the floor.

Mr. Sean Casey: It is easy to see that the minister is focused like a laser on the priorities of veterans.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: Order, please. I have asked members before to hold off on their applause until the member has finished putting the question. It is eating up a lot of time, having these interruptions.

The hon. member for Charlottetown has the floor.

Mr. Sean Casey: Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is symbols over substance. When will the minister unveil more funding to help veterans’ families with the funeral costs?

Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that it was the Minister of National Defence who launched the initiative for families of fallen soldiers.

This morning I met with two little girls, one in grade one and the other in grade four. All they will have as a memento of their father is a purple ribbon. I am very proud to have accompanied the Minster of National Defence to present them with a ribbon. My colleague should understand that we have commemorations and veterans’ services. I am very proud of my Conservative colleagues who, in the past six years, have given more than ever before to veterans.

Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I fear amid all the applause that the minister may have missed my question, so let us give it another go.

Two years ago Veterans Affairs conducted a review of the burial assistance program and the Conservatives chose to ignore it.

Today, the minister unveiled a ribbon. He once again chose symbols over substance. That is what he did.

Let us try this again. Will he increase funding to help veterans’ families with the funeral costs?

Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, let me get to the very substance of the funeral and burial program. It is a program that is provided to veterans in need.

Since 2006 this program has been provided to 10,000 veterans and their families.

I can assure the member of one thing, what we will not do on this side of the House is cut this program, like the Liberals, who did.

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