Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

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Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Trooper on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 16:30

'The veteran has to be at the centre of everything we do,' new minister says.

Erin O'Toole, Canada's new veterans affairs minister, has announced a new three-point "veteran-centric" plan for 2015, part of the government's renewed efforts to mend a fractured relationship with its servicemen and women.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed O'Toole, a retired air force officer and first-time MP, to replace the embattled Julian Fantino on Jan.

"What is necessary as minister of veterans affairs has been listening and coming up with a plan, and today I'm going to share with you a few reflections on my first few weeks listening and meeting with veterans and advocates from across the country," O'Toole said in a speech to a crowd of current and former servicemen and women at the Rotary Club of Toronto.

O'Toole said he spent the first three weeks of his new mandate on a "listening tour" across the country and came to the conclusion that veterans ought to come first.

"The veteran has to be at the centre of everything we do and their family."

O'Toole acknowledged the previous approach was not always in the best interests of veterans.

"I want to create an informed and respectful dialogue about the opportunities and challenges facing our veterans," he said.

"In the last few years, we haven't always seen that, and that's not serving veterans."

Fantino, O'Toole's predecessor, was heavily criticized for a testy meeting with veterans early last year and for refusing to speak with the wife of a veteran who pursued him down a hallway in Parliament.

"Even when there's disagreements politically or among veterans or among advocacy organizations, let's agree to do that respectfully and show care and compassion to those who have served us," O'Toole said.

He said the government's three-point plan includes:

A "veteran-centric" approach to policy and programming.
A "seamless integration" with the Canadian Forces.
Creating "a culture that strives for service excellence."

John McCallum, the Liberal MP for Markham-Unionville, was in the crowd to hear O'Toole speak alongside Leona Alleslev, the Liberal candidate for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill.

In a telephone interview with CBC News after O'Toole's speech, McCallum said that "O'Toole's heart is in the right place," but there was no substance or new policy announced in his speech.

The government has come under much criticism from some veterans and advocacy groups for closing regional offices for veterans and for a lack of mental-health services to veterans.

McCallum said O'Toole's speech did not address any of those concerns.

Angry veterans group have said they would rally against the Conservatives during the next election campaign.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/erin-o-toole-veterans-affairs-minister-announces-veteran-centric-approach-1.2929728
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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Trooper on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 17:24

I am impressed with what Mr. O'Toole has stated in his speech today to the Rotary Club in Toronto.

He states that he has been  listening to Veterans, that is exactly what we need, we need our MVA to hear what Veterans are saying, he also say's that he has come  to the conclusion that veterans ought to come first.
This to me is definitely a good thing, if this is the approach he is going to continue with going forward, I welcome that.

He has also acknowledged that the previous approach was not always in the best interests of veterans.
Again, a good thing, and good on him for saying that.

He also say's that disagreements politically or among veterans or among advocacy organizations, let's agree to do that respectfully and show care and compassion to those who have served us.
Again, a good thing.

I would say that listening is the first step, and in my opinion, if one is listening to what Veterans are saying, the next step would be for the MVA to bring whatever it is that Veterans are saying to the PM.
This I think is what was lacking in the past, the MVA has to understand our issues, and the MVA has to be able to bring these issues along with a plan to the PM. The MVA has to bring issues to the PM in a clear and understandable way, if the PM chooses not to support the MVA, at least, the MVA has done his job, and not much will change for Veterans if the PM chooses not to support the MVA.
Perhaps, our previous MVA could not bring our issues to the PM in a way that was clear and understandable.    

In closing, I think the MVA's speech today is a good first step, I know some will say, we heard it all before, the house sits again on Monday, and the government is expected to respond to recommendations in dealing with improvements to the NVC by Friday Jan 30th.
So we will wait and see how this unfolds.
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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Guest on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 17:56

who the frack is he listening to ?????

lets see first thing Is first lets get rid of the organizations that will say stuff I don't want to listen to.

ok now I can follow that by saying I will listen .

talk about framing the debate before it starts .

propat

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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Trooper on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 18:00

He said that his first few Weeks were spent listening and meeting with veterans and advocates from across the country,
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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Guest on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 18:16

yes he did say that but will he meet with them and listen in an effective manner where it could have an effect on policy direction???? say in a stakeholders meeting ON PUBLIC RECORD ????

its not hard for him and other tory MP,s like hawn to go listen to groops around the county and say vets say they would like to see this political parties have been doing that forever .

id like to see that conversation on record so that I don't have to take his word for what he here'd.

but then again when and where it matters the voices opposed to his parties views will not be here'd but a civi run organization WILL BE.

veteran-centric my butt

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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Trooper on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 18:21

It is a matter of time, very little time.

He say's he wants to listen to all Veterans - let's give him the chance.

With respect to policy change, it is now up to him to convince his boss what changes need to be implemented in order to regain the respect of Veterans.

Let's see what happens.
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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Rifleman on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 18:22

BLAH,BLAH,BLAH can you tell its election year lets see some actions instead of verbal hog wash then and only then you might get my vote

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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Guest on Fri 23 Jan 2015, 18:39

political election push.

/say they are listening. to make it seem like that party cares care.

/drop a few not committal lines that will cause people to speculate the will take action . to give them hope in that particular party.

/give them something and spin it to make it look much better than it is. to make them happy with that party .

/suggest their is more coming . to give them a steak in their parties winning .

then of course if they win they will have 3-4 years to do nothing .

yup its a checklist every party has it .

I don't think ill be convinced this fracking party is anything but bad for vets just because they are trying in a hypocritical manner to check box one.

ill just look on what they have done on vets issues over the last , well , way to many years and judge them on that.

propat

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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Jeffery M on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 01:22

I have spoken to Minister O'Toole through messaging on his Facebook page. I have been open and honest about exactly who I am, and what I am experiencing as a severely disabled combat veteran under the NVC. My PTSD VAC rating is 81% and I have been home stricken since September 2009. I am TPI, I am on SISIP LTD, receive VIP grounds keeping, and am on PIA and supplement. I served 9 years 311 days in the Reg force. From September 2009 until released 3b January 2012, I was on sick leave.

My conversation with the MVA was extensive. But I let him know my bottom line on how I feel on the NVC. That the new system of compensation should have simply been called, "The UnpensionAct".

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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Trooper on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 08:10

Here's what was said by the CTV about his speech - and again I would say that I am impressed with what I have read.

New Veterans Affairs minister promises gentler approach.

TORONTO -- Canada's rookie veterans affairs minister sought to put daylight between himself and his predecessor in a maiden speech Friday that promised the dawn of a new era -- in what is an election year.

Speaking to fellow Rotary Club members, Erin O'Toole began with a frank admission about shortcomings in the government's dealings with veterans.

"I want to create an informed and respectful dialogue about the opportunities and challenges facing our veterans," O'Toole said.

"In the last few years, we haven't always seen that, and that's not serving veterans."

O'Toole did not name his predecessor Julian Fantino, who was dogged by controversy in 18 months on the job. Veterans had complained a high-handed Fantino had been unresponsive to, and dismissive of, their concerns.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled him from the portfolio three weeks ago and appointed O'Toole.

Fantino had angered veterans by defending office closures, job cuts, lapsed budget money and changes to pensions and benefits. His gaffes included a televised confrontation with veterans and ignoring questions from the wife of a former soldier.

In his speech, O'Toole struck a different chord as he sought -- in mostly general terms -- to make up with an important voting constituency that had become increasingly hostile toward the Conservative government.

"We have to have a veteran-centred approach to everything we do," he said.

"From policies to future planning, to programming, the veteran has to be at the centre of everything we do -- and their families."

Those in the friendly audience -- which included some veterans -- said they liked what they heard.

One of them, former Liberal veterans affairs minister John McCallum, said it remains to be seen what exactly O'Toole will deliver.

"He's obviously going to be doing his best for the veterans," McCallum said in an interview after the speech.

" He still has a lot of challenges on his plate -- there's a litany of things that have gone wrong."

O'Toole said everyone in his department who deals with veterans should be looking to cut wait times and red tape, and be responsive to the rise of new needs: issues around mental health.

He said he found it stunning to learn mental-stress injuries among soldiers had doubled over the past five years.

He also noted the veterans community now spans geriatrics from the Second World War through to relative youngsters from the Afghan conflict -- all with needs that can be quite different.

Former military engineer Tim Patriquin said he thought a sincere O'Toole had hit all the right notes and would effect positive change.

Fantino did make some gaffes, he said, but the new minister would be able to separate himself and take the troubled department in a new direction.

"That's just noise," Patriquin said.

"It's a new day and we don't just want to look backwards."

Since his appointment, O'Toole has been active on social media. He also moved quickly to shut down controversy over a non-lawyer representing vets before the veterans review and appeal board.

He has, he said, spent the last three weeks on a "listening tour" of the country.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/new-veterans-affairs-minister-promises-gentler-approach-1.2203148#ixzz3PkCkV7aV







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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Guest on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 09:02

again words do not impress me never have never will . especially words from the MVA in this government .

now actions they can impress me . now changes in the NVC starting with ending the buyout are the actions that need to be taken and the MVA by any name can not do that .

now lets see if the GOC is willing to do this ??? my guesses they will just follow the political playbook to the letter until the election is over then carry on the way they have been all of these years .

ya see saying things will change rolls of the Tung quite easy . anyone can do it.

but actually changing things well that's a whole different ball of wax.

propat

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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by bigrex on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 09:09

The problem is, so far all they are is words. Sure, they may be better words, or words spoken in a softer more caring tone. But until they are matched with actions, they remain just words. Similar to speaking with a dog. it doesn't matter what you say, as long as you speak to one in a high pitched voice. Their tail will wag. it won't be until you reach out and pet them, or hit them, will they know your true intentions. Now, if the Tories announce significant and positive changes to the NVC at the end of next week, ones that are immediate, and not dependent on the Tories winning the next election, I might start believing the platitudes.
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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Trooper on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 13:09

Action speaks louder than words - I agree with you all, and it is of no surprise the skepticism that Veterans have towards how they feel or think about the new MVA.

I fully understand the skepticism, and I myself am skeptical, one just has to look into the past to see what has transpired in the way the Veterans file has been handled.
I totally get all that.

All I'm saying is that I am impressed thus far with what Mr. O'Toole has said in his speech in Toronto.
I would also say that kind of talk is different then what we have seen in the past - yes, it's just talk, but the talk is different then before, for me, I see this as a good start.
Let's look at what I see as change here, first a couple of Weeks ago some advocate groups were singled out as no longer being a stakeholder adviser to the Veterans Affairs department.
Let's look what the MVA has said in his speech;
"Even when there's disagreements politically or among veterans or among advocacy organizations, let's agree to do that respectfully and show care and compassion to those who have served us" he did not single out any groups in that statement.
Let's look at what action Mr. O'Toole took when Keith Neville a non lawyer who was told he could no longer work to advocate for Veterans - Mr. O'Toole reversed this within a matter of hours - that is not just words - that is action.

If in fact Mr. Fantino was not given the proper information to the PM in the past, how is the PM suppose be able to support us if he has not been fully aware of what Veterans want ?

We all can agree that politicians are politicians, and when it comes to the Veterans file, they all have missed the boat, I agree with that statement, but I also would say that when I see changes in the way our MVA is talking - I take the approach of being hopeful for change with of course some skepticism, without solid positive action, they will always be skepticism, it is for these reasons I say let's give our MVA a chance, to show us all, where his action is.
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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by Guest on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 13:27

yup that's all fine and well this guy could be the greatest guy in the would . the thing is if the PM is not willing to make significant changes in the NVC the MVA can do nothing in that regard.

the PM is the issue NOT the MVA .

just like a magician they can draw your eyes to the hand with the MVA in it so you don't see what's going in the hand with the PM in it all they want im keeping my eye on the PM.

unless the PM is deaf and blind he very well understands the problems vets are having he doesn't need a MVA to tell him the message has been loud and clear for some time now.

propat

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Re: Erin O'Toole, veterans affairs minister, announces 'veteran-centric' approach

Post by pinger on Mon 26 Jan 2015, 17:49

Listening, listening, and listening. The MVA minister listens, just like the GoC listens. They listen to committee meetings, auditors reports, ACVA, Ombudsman recommendations for years. IT AIN'T NOTHING NEW FOLKS!!!  They listen. Always have and always will.  But what have they really accomplished or IMPLEMENTED from all the listening over the years?
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