PEI

'A huge number of ministers' for Veterans Affairs concerns senator

There has been a large turnover at the top of Veterans Affairs Canada, and P.E.I. Senator Diane Griffin is concerned it is having an impact on the operation of the department.

17 veterans affairs ministers since the Chretien government

The minister is the champion for the department, says Diane Griffin. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

There has been a large turnover at the top of Veterans Affairs Canada, and P.E.I. Senator Diane Griffin is concerned it is having an impact on the operation of the department.

The issue came up at a Senate sub-committee hearing Wednesday, which Griffin is a part of. She said there have been 17 different veterans affairs ministers since the Chretien government, as compared to only six in finance.

"There's been a huge number of ministers. It's quite a turnover, and of course the problem with a huge turnover at the top, it makes it very difficult for staff and consequently for veterans to get a consistent level of service," she said.

"For major things like policy and legislation the staff are always in the process of briefing the new minister. It's hard to build momentum."

Griffin also expressed concern with the current veterans affairs minister also being minister of defence, following the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Ministers have to be champions of their department, she said, and there is a danger in the current setup of veterans affairs becoming the junior ministry to defence.

Leadership at the top is particularly important right now, she said, given that a major service shift, the new Pension for Life option for veterans, is coming April 1.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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