In response to a blog post by the NDP Member of Parliament for London-Fanshawe, Irene Mathyssen, I would like to assure Canadians that the health and well-being of our veterans is a top priority for our Conservative government. After serving our country so bravely, we believe that our nation's heroes deserve our recognition and respect.
As I have said before, one veteran on the street is one too many. That is why our Conservative government is taking action to reduce homelessness among veterans. We have taken action by launching homelessness initiatives in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal to provide assistance to homeless veterans. Our homelessness initiatives continue to make a difference, working with over 190 different organizations in over 50 towns and cities from coast to coast to coast.
Our government has significantly increased the support for veterans suffering from PTSD and other Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) by doubling the number of clinics that provide services to veterans, serving members and their families suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Today, between Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) and National Defence (DND), we have 17 specialized clinics across the country.
These OSI clinics are a measure which Mathyssen's party voted against. I find it difficult to reconcile the idea of calling for more support for veterans while voting against those initiatives which are intended to provide the care and services which they need and deserve.
Our approach is working. As of June 2011, VAC is helping more than 14,900 veterans with mental health conditions and their families. Instead of systematically voting against our veterans, the NDP should stand up alongside our government and work to provide services to our nation's heroes.
Our government has long shown our steadfast support for those who have fought for Canada. Through measures like the Enhanced New Veterans Charter, the "Cutting Red Tape for Veterans" initiative, and the "Helmets to Hardhats" program, we are showing that our government is ready, willing, and able to take action for our veterans.
Our Conservative government will always stand up for our veterans and we encourage all members to do the same.