Veterans and supporters gather for Charlottetown demonstration

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Veterans, union members, politicians from all three levels of government and the public gathered for a protest today against closing the Veterans Affairs district offices.

Veterans and their supporters gather outside the Jean Canfield Building in Charlottetown Friday, Jan. 31, to protest Veterans Affairs district office closures.

Charlottetown is one of nine offices across the country that officially shut down today, although case files from the P.E.I. capital were shifted over months ago.

The protest started inside the Jean Canfield Building on University Avenue in Charlottetown at noon before moving outside because the media were not permitted to shoot video or take pictures inside the building.

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter was there and spoke as was P.E.I. NDP Leader Mike Redmond. Mitchell Tweel and Danny Redmond also showed up from city council.

“Today is a sad day in that we are losing more services,’’ said Ret’d Lt. (N) Brian Hills.

Another veteran blasted federal Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino.

“I think it was disgraceful that Minister Fantino insulted those veterans on Parliament Hill,’’ said retired regular force member Mike Conway. “It’s people like those veterans who allow people like (Fantino) to do their job.’’

One veteran said the federal government has turned its back on veterans.

“I feel the Harper government has abandoned our veterans,’’ said Sandy Brace, a retired member of the regular force and a former commanding officer.

Organizations: Veterans Affairs

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Look behind the scenes, from a VET
    February 01, 2014 - 12:45

    This whole VAC has turned intoa Politically charged football....The NDP and Liberals have jumped on board and are making promises up the ying-yang..promising the world..PSAC the union for the employees wants to save the jobs which is their job......but lost in this whole rigamorrow is that VAC services to vets have NOT been cut,the system is working for 95% of the Military and RCMP vets who use it's services,the 8 suicides although terrible for all involved ..there is not one iota of evidence it is linked to the cuts at VAC...they are 8 individuals who had individual and private issues.....Having vets and the especially the NDP leader say they are linked is just pure political BS...some may have been in the system as claimants ....but to blame VAC is total fabrication. The Harper Govt has been cutting the budgets of all federal dept's for 2 years to balance the budget ..every dept ..not just VAC... thru that process they have realized as have private industry ..IT and automation have changed the workplace ..less people are needed to push paper. In fact some VAC employees were only seeing 3 clients a day....when you pay someone between $40,000 and $60,000 dollars ayear in salary....even Joe Blow on the street can see that is not economical .The VAC employee from ST John representing PSAC said her work load was now up to 3,000 clients ...but she failed to mention that the vast majority possibly 80-85% do NOT require SUPERVISION and can be monitored via their automated filling system electronicly for updates and changes to their files.Yes there are clients who require case managers and medical and mental health intervention....those services are still there...THe VETS demonstrating will not turn down the so called support of both political parties and the Union..why not it makes their message easier to get out . No matter who is in power fiscal mangement dictates that the federal bureaucracy(the civil service) has to be cut ,modern new ways of doing business in the workplace requires less manpower, that s why the VAC positions were cut.For the NDP and Liberals to say they would reverse that trend is strictly false promises and fearmongering.... Canada's economy has been one of the strongest and best managed in the world the last 10 years and has buffered the worldwide recession....So it easy to make FALSE promises ..Yes Harper and crew are playing political games.....they all do it... If the opposition were elected tommorrow..THEY would NOT open those offices again...it would be strictly political patronage ....They closed yesterday..give the new system a chance....see if their needs are met....the VAC ombudsman is their to hold the Govt to task.......Our Vets are still being supported contrary to the rhetoric and political grandstanding ,despite the false claims of the NDP and Liberals and politicaly biased commentors..SO Folks don't believe all you hear or read .our Vets are still being honoured ..no matter how Fantino acted..... and I don't support any particular party because they are all the same and look after their own....and I am aVET...and have used the VAC and they have been extremely good people to deal with....let's give this new system a chance..........overreacting ,fingerpointing,making promises they can't keep, and playing politics is not finding a solution...it's just plain old fashioned political upmanship at it's best....

  • Garth Staples
    January 31, 2014 - 22:31

    As a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces I certainly don't believe for a moment the Federal Govt has turned against Veterans. The Unions are using Vets to feather their own nests. Shameful.

  • Tara Ileso
    January 31, 2014 - 19:55

    The veterans who serve outside Canada did not choose their war. The Canadian Government chose the war, now they need to back those who took care of the agenda of the Canadian Government. I am absolutely sick to my stomach. Where is the love and respect for these people? Where?

  • Adolphus
    January 31, 2014 - 19:38

    Where were Sean Casey, Lawrence MacCauley, and Gail Shea? Important business elsewhere? Thanks for nothing.

  • Arnot
    January 31, 2014 - 17:57

    Our Premier, Robert Ghiz, wasn't there?...while he plans his trip to Japan etc. for next week? This is a major (negative) happening for the Island and he can't spare 30 minutes to make a personal appearance & short speach to support Canada's Veterans as well as the DVA staff losing their jobs, and the impact on the Island's economy? Forshame!