Canada

Canada's veterans get bill of rights

The federal government is establishing a veterans' bill of rights and an independent ombudsman to ensure their concerns are being heard, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday.

The federal government is establishing a veterans' bill of rights and an independentombudsman toensure their concerns are being heard, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday.

'Brave, patriotic men and women like you are the reason we're here,' Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the announcement in Kitchener, Ont. ((CBC))

Harper, joinedby Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson andagroup ofveterans in Kitchener, Ont.,for the announcement, said bothinitiatives follow through on a Conservative promiseto veterans madeduring the last federal election campaign.

He praised the contributions and sacrifice of those who have served and continue to serve in the Canadian Forces.

"Brave, patriotic men and women like you are the reason we're here," the prime minister said.

"They have given their very best to Canada, and our government is taking yet another step to ensure that Canada does its very best to them."

Harper did not givespecifics of the plan,but said the bill of rights takes effect immediately.

Thenew ombudsmanwill allow the government to respond quickly and fairly to any concerns of veterans, as well as raise awareness of their needs, he said.

Itwill operate at arm's length from the government and will report annually to the veterans affairsminister and Parliament.

On Monday, Harper will join 3,600 Canadian children from across the country in Francetohonour the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridgeas Queen Elizabethdedicates the newly restored monument at the site of the battle.

With files from the Canadian Press