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Veterans say report proves government was wrong to close offices
Veterans angry over the recent closures of Veterans Affairs offices across the country are saying 'I told you so' after the release of a report this week.
According to the report by Veteran Affairs Canada on plans and priorities, the department’s new methods of service delivery are a risk and may not meet the needs of veterans and their families.
Veterans in Sydney say it’s information they have known all along and have tried telling Veterans Affairs Canada for some time.
“Being proven right is very little comfort,” says veteran Alfie Burt.
“They were wrong,” says veteran Vince Rigby. “They didn’t do the right thing. We said it all along and now they can’t handle what they have and there is nowhere for us to go now.”
With the Veterans Affairs office now closed in Sydney, veterans say they are not receiving the one-on-one service they once had, and it is already making life difficult.
“Now the office where we go now, you have to sit with people that are getting UI numbers,” says Rigby. “I don’t care. I shouldn’t have to do that. When you’re frustrated enough and not feeling good, you don’t want to go to a public service spot.”
On the Saturday before Remembrance Day, close to 3,000 people showed up in Sydney to show their support and listen to speeches, but Veterans Affairs Canada still closed the office, along with those in Charlottetown and six other Canadian communities.
“The office closed the end of January and we’re only into the middle of March and already they know it’s not working,” says Burt. “Well, we told them that before the office closed.”
Veterans say there is still time for the government to hire case workers and reopen the offices, although they admit it’s highly unlikely.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore