NEWS

Veterans funding not as advertised, opposition MPs say

11/28/2014 02:50 EST | Updated 01/28/2015 05:59 EST
A $200-million fund to improve mental health care for veterans will actually be spread out over 50 years, and not the six years originally promised by the Conservatives, opposition MPs said Friday.

The NDP and Liberals zeroed in on a report Friday morning that the money announced to help veterans deal with operational stress injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder won't be as targeted as the government first said.

"Conservatives misled the House, they misled the public and misled veterans," said NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies.

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and Defence Minister Rob Nicholson last Sunday said the government would provide approximately $200 million, plus an additional $16.7 million every year after that to set up new operational stress injury clinics and support established mental health programs.

It was followed by a Monday press conference announcing additional money for veterans mental health care, which came a day before a devastating report by Auditor General Michael Ferguson that highlighted how long it takes for a veteran to be approved for mental health care.

Ferguson found it takes eight months from when a veteran first starts filling in an application form to be approved for care under the Veterans Affairs disability benefits program. For some, it takes up to several years.

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