Canada's outgoing ombudsman for veterans was not appointed to a second term because it's good to get someone new into the role after three years, Veteran Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said Thursday.


Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn says he signs all letters sent out to veterans in response to their complaints and sees 'every time what kind of problem is in our department.' ((CBC) )

"It's difficult work for an ombudsman to be there and to try to look inside the department and to find if there is systemic problem and to deliver suggestions, Blackburn said on CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon.

"I think [Pat] Stogran has done this job and it's on a three-year period of time. I think it's good for our veterans that after a three-year term, that somebody else will take the torch and still go on to help our veterans."

Blackburn added it was the Conservative government that brought in the position of ombudsman.

Some have said Stogran's term was not renewed because of his outspoken criticism of the government.

Earlier this week, Stogran lashed out at the government's treatment of servicemen and women, accusing the bureaucracy of being "deliberately obstructive and deceptive" and charging that information given to bureaucrats isn't reaching Blackburn.

Asked whether he was being stonewalled by bureaucrats, Blackburn said that when he became minister, he asked the employees in the department and Stogran what changes needed to be made.Stogran and the employees listed similar complaints, he said.

Blackburn also said that he sees and signs all letters sent out to veterans in response to their complaints.

"I see every time what kind of problem is in our department," he said.

The ombudsman acts as the voice of veterans and their families, helping them access support services and benefits and fielding complaints.