Veterans meet with minister over federal cuts

P.E.I. veterans met with the Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino Wednesday night to discuss government cuts.

Veterans still uncertain about future of government services

P.E.I. veterans met with Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino Wednesday night to discuss government cuts.

John Yeo was not satisfied with the answers he got from Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino over cuts to the department. (CBC)

Many of them are worried the closure of eight DVA district offices across the country at the end of this month will mean reduced services.

"Eventually things have got to change, but I don't know how fast they're going to change or when they're going to change," said Bill Toussaint, a 24-year veteran.

Toussaint hoped to have his questions about those changes cleared up after meeting with Fantino, but he said he didn't get the answers he was looking for.

"They've got a file that I gave them," he said.

"I want to see if they're going to answer me back."

The district office closures are the most visible effect of cuts at the department. Veterans Affairs is cutting positions across the board, saying there are fewer veterans, so fewer staff are needed to meet their needs.

Fantino said he is doing his best to reassure veterans that services will not suffer.

"Anger is not going to solve anything, but a clear dialogue about what in fact is happening is much more important," he said.

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino says there has been fear mongering over the cuts to his department. (CBC)

"I think part of it is some fear mongering going on. And I think that's so unfair to veterans, because the last thing they need is to be put in a position of uncertainty."

Fantino's reassurances were not enough for John Yeo, past president of the Charlottetown Legion. Yeo said there was virtually no discussion over what service would look like following the cuts.

"If it did it was just, 'We're sorry,' and that's it," said Yeo.

"It was nothing hard and firm and to be honest with you, it was not really discussed."

The Department of Veterans Affairs sent layoff notices to more than 400 staff in 2013.


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