Westman members advocate for veterans at port of entry

Capitalizing on the added traffic through the ports of entry for the Louis Riel Day long weekend, PSAC members handed out mailers to the traveling public. The postcards condemned the closures of Veterans Affairs offices across Canada and called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reopen the offices.


Capitalizing on the added traffic through the ports of entry for the Louis Riel Day long weekend, PSAC members handed out mailers to the traveling public. The postcards condemned the closures of Veterans Affairs offices across Canada and called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reopen the offices.

Last January, the federal government closed down nine Veterans Affairs offices across Canada, including one in Brandon and one in Saskatoon. Over 17,000 veterans depended on services provided by these offices, with over 2,400 in Brandon.

Members of the PSAC Westman Area Council organized this initiative by rounding up a team of volunteers to flag down cars just past the port of entry at Boissevain.

Dozens of cards pulled over, despite the freezing temperatures and bitter wind chill, to discuss the impact of the closures for our veterans. Those who pulled over were very interested in learning more and took extra postcards to distribute to their friends and coworkers.

Area Council members also invited local politicians to show their support, though none attended.

The closure in Brandon means veterans will be forced to travel to other locations for frontline services or navigate the system by phone or computer. In Brandon, the nearest office is in Shilo, a 30-to-45-minute drive away, and veterans point out that there is no public transportation other than taxi, at a round trip fare of about $60.

Several members also gathered at the Emerson port of entry for a similar action. Meanwhile, members are planning similar initiatives in the coming weeks at various Saskatchewan ports of entry.

The Brandon Sun attended the event and interviewed co-organizers Jennifer Grant (PRC North-West Manitoba Geographical Rep) and Glen Johnston (PRC Westman Area Council Rep). The article is available on the Brandon Sun website, with subscription.

For more information on the ongoing fight to reopen the Veterans Affairs offices, visit the PSAC national website.


Photo above by Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun. Top photo by Glen Johnston.