One year ago, PSAC stood together with the Idle No More movement to defend our lands and our country.In the Prairies, we teamed up with William Singer III, a First Nations artist and activist who has been instrumental to the movement in Lethbridge and surrounding areas, to produce a special Idle No More button.
Please see the attached below notice from PSAC National President Robyn Benson regarding boycotting National Public Service Week activities in June.I respectfully ask that Prairies members not participate in activities in your workplace, whether employer or employee sponsored, and that you encourage other members to do the same.
Last Friday, LaVar Payne, Conservative MP for the Alberta riding of Medicine Hat, penned an opinion piece in the Medicine Hat News boasting about all the great things the Conservatives are doing for veterans. The opinion piece comes more than six weeks after the offices closed. PSAC Prairies Regional Executive Vice-President Marianne Hladun responded to the letter to set the record straight.
On February 23, Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire and Edmonton Centre Conservative MP Laurie Hawn held a roundtable discussion in Brandon and invited veterans to attend to provide feedback on the federal government's new veterans charter.Suddently, after closing nine Veterans Affairs Canada offices across Canada without consultation with the veterans affected or the union representing the employees, the federal government is interested in what the veterans have to say.
On January 31, 2014 the federal government closed eight Veterans Affairs offices across the country, including offices in Kelowna, Brandon, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Sydney, Charlottetown and Corner Brook. The office in Prince George closed a year ago. Protests were held throughout the Prairies to speak out.
In the following letter to the editor, one Canadian realizes that Harper's attack on public services have gone too far when he can't get the service he needs. The letter was published in the Edmonton Journal on February 5, 2014.
Ignoring widespread opposition across the country, on January 31, 2014 the federal government went ahead with plans to shut down Veterans Affairs offices in Corner Brook, Charlottetown, Sydney, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Brandon, Saskatoon and Kelowna. The office in Prince George closed last year.Veterans mobilized and held protests and events across the country and PSAC was proud to be an ally and supporter of these events. Here is just some of the media coverage we received in the Prairies.Coverage of Saskatoon media conference:
Despite the bitter cold––minus 25 with the windchill––more than 50 people gathered outside the Veterans Affairs Canada office in Brandon today to witness the closure of the office and the loss of face-to-face services to veterans.
Veterans and their families have spoken out about why they need the face-to-face services these offices provide. These closures mean the loss of 90 front line workers including twenty-five Case Managers who work with high-risk veterans, and twenty-one Client Service Agents who have the expertise to help veterans access the programs and benefits for which they qualify. The offices also had administrative staff, local managers, pension officers, nurses and occupational therapists. None of these people are dispensable.