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Trudeau promises investments for veterans

applause-for-speechJustin Trudeau unveiled a $300 million election platform promise to support veterans when he stopped in Belleville Monday morning.

“If I earn the right to serve this country as your prime minister, no veteran will be forced to fight their own government for the support and compensation that they have earned,” the Liberal leader said to applause from about 300 people at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre.

In the background during his speech were former military service men and women — including Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie, Canada’s Army Commander from 2006 to 2010 — who are Liberal candidates.

Trudeau greets Neil Ellis Bay of Quinte candidate

Trudeau greets Neil Ellis Bay of Quinte candidate

“Each and every one of them served their country in uniform. I recruited them because public office ought to be about public service. We have been reminded over the past weeks that we have a prime minister and a government that serves itself when it ought to be serving Canadians.”

He said that driving to Belleville along the Highway of Heroes, and over the Veterans’ Bridge, just a block from the centre, he thought about the men and women who have also travelled that road.

“I thought about their service to Canada, what it means to stand up for the values you believe in deeply. And I thought about their sacrifice. I thought about how that sacrifice should never be taken for granted and yet for the last 10 years, it has been. Mr. Harper’s government has failed our veterans.”

Key election promises included lifelong pensions for injured vets, expanded benefits and an increase in the value of the disability award. He said the Liberals would also re-open nine regional Veterans’ Affairs offices closed under the Stephen Harper government.

“We will make right what they got so very, very wrong,” he said. “Respect, support, and a real shot at a bright future, that’s what Canada’s veterans can count on if we earn the privilege of serving Canadians as their government.”

He said the Liberals will also implement all the Auditor General’s recommendations for improving mental health services for veterans.

Trudeau said the measures have an ongoing cost of about $300 million a year. The Liberals will release a fully costed platform in the coming weeks. If elected, he said the measures would be implemented immediately. (Full list below)

He told the crowd his grandfather James Sinclair was one of a few members of parliament in the world who served parliament while also being in active service in the Second World War.

“Future brave men and women should know that they will be looked after when they finish their service to Canada,” he said.

“We will double the last post fund because every veteran deserves a dignified burial,” he said. noting the 158 members killed during the Afghanistan mission and the 170 who committed suicide since 2004.

He said their sacrifice should never be neglected.

“Yet for the last 10 years it has been,” he said. “Mr Harper’s government has failed our veterans. Harper loves to wrap himself in the flag but he has betrayed the brave men and women who lay down their lives for it.”

Trudeau and Ellis greet Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff

Trudeau and Ellis greet Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff

Taking questions from the media, Trudeau was prepared to address the issue of lack of experience for himself and of Bay of Quinte candidate Neil Ellis, former Belleville mayor.

“The kind of experience Canadians have gone through over the past 10 years under Mr. Harper is not an experience they want to continue,” said Trudeau. “One of the things I learned from my father is that you gather around you extraordinary people to bring forward solutions and be strong voices for their communities in Ottawa.

“I have to highlight just how happy we are to have Neil Ellis, an extraordinary mayor who served this community extremely well for many years; stepping up to continue to serve this community. The one thing that every single one of my candidates will be, is not the prime minister’s voice in their communities, which is what we get now right across the country, but their communities’ voice in Ottawa.”

Ellis moved with Trudeau through the crowd, into the Wellness Centre hallway and outside. The short trip was slow going as Trudeau took time to greet almost every person who wanted to shake his hand, give him a kiss, or take a photograph or selfie.

NOTE: Bay of Quinte candidate Neil Ellis will open his Picton campaign office Wednesday, Aug. 26th at 5 at 124 Main Street, Picton, opposite the Pastry House.

photos

Justin Trudeau pauses to wave and allow one last selfie before he boarded his bus heading to a rally in Peterborough.

Justin Trudeau pauses to wave and allow one last selfie before he boarded his bus heading to a rally in Peterborough.

 

* * *

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau met with veterans and members of the military prior to the announcement.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau met with veterans and members of the military prior to the announcement.

The promises to veterans include:
-invest $25 million to expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance;
-invest $40 million to increase the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 percent of pre-release salary;
-invest $80 million per year to create a new Veterans Education Benefit that provides full support for the cost of up to four years of college, university, or technical education;
-invest $100 million per year to expand support for families of veterans, including education counselling and training for families providing care and support for injured veterans;
-increase the veteran survivor’s pension amount from 50 percent to 70 percent;
double funding to the Last Post Fund to ensure that veterans receive a dignified burial;
-hire 400 new service delivery staff, including new case managers at Veterans Affairs; and
-budget $20 million to create two new centres of excellence in veterans’ care, including one dedicated to mental health issues.

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  1. Wolf Braun says:

    Michael Harris in his book “Party of One” when asked if PM Harper is corrupt answered “he’s amoral”.

  2. Susan says:

    Apparently Harper now has an e-mail out to veterans that the media discovered. He is looking for vets that will look pleased and do a positive advertisement for the Tories. Good luck with that Stephen! You are special.

  3. Chuck says:

    Now Harper is telling party candidates not to speak with media or take part in all candidates debates. It”s scary how controlling he is. His hope is to keep saying the same old message and portray himself as a financial manager (deficits lol) and the public will forget all of the scandals.

  4. Bill Roberts says:

    Last week according to Nigel Wright, the former Harper Chief of Staff, telling the public something that was at odds with the truth was not “misleading in a significant respect”. Wright continued in his Mike Duffy scandal testimony to say “I just didn’t think it was a bad misrepresentation”. However folks vote in October, one thing is certain… in two short sentences Nigel Wright summarized 10 years of Harper government. Enough already, time for a change.

  5. Susan says:

    Agreed for the most part, but it is refreshing change from someone who runs everything out of the PMO office except of course Duffy’s payout. Suddenly someone who knows and directs everything knows nothing! Lol. It is everyone’s choice but I have lost trust with the continuous back room deals and the inability to balance a budget. Harper inherites a surplus and has taken us to deficits ever since.

  6. Marnie says:

    He’s bringing whatever he thinks will win him votes. He’s a politician not Canada’s saviour.

  7. Susan says:

    He is doing well and bringing platforms that Canadians care about to the forefront. He is more than ready to replace the tired, scandalous and deficit ridden Tories.

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