Veterans honoured at Remembrance Day ceremonies at the cenotaph in Windsor, November 11, 2014. (photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Veterans Advocate Thrilled With Changes

A Windsor man who has spent the past number of years advocating for better services for veterans says Canadians have to take a look at what the federal Liberal government has planned.

Soon after they were appointed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his cabinet ministers mandate letters that have been posted online.

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr’s letter includes a 14-point plan including greater access to counselling and training for the families of veterans suffering from physical and mental health challenges, re-establishing lifelong pensions for injured veterans, and increasing the disability award.

Bruce Moncur suffered a brain injury while fighting during Operation Medusa in Afghanistan and says the list gives him hope veterans will get the supports they’ve been asking for for years. He’s particularly pleased the federal government will establish two centres of excellence in veterans’ care although he admits the details are scant.

“These two facilities will actually be veteran rehabilitation centres in which veterans will go to it when they are suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression.”

Another point that excites Moncur is the call for a new Veterans Education Benefit that will cover the cost of up to four years of post-secondary education after service. He admits he’d like to see something similar to the American G.I. Bill where the government matches contributions from soldiers towards a degree or diploma.

Moncur admits how fast the federal government moves on each of the points will depend on how much money is allotted to Veterans Affairs in the spring budget.