A motion recently passed unanimously in the House of Commons to restore lapsed funding for our veterans.

In the nine years the Harper Conservatives were in power, more than $1.1 billion dollars in funding for veterans wasn’t spent and in the three years since the Trudeau Liberals gained power, $372 million has gone unspent.

The NDP Critic for Veterans Affairs Gord Johns is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry forward all lapsed spending to the next fiscal year in an attempt to improve services for Canadian veterans.

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor said the New Democrats need to hold the Liberals feet to the fire.

“The government could still, potentially, not favour the terms of the motion, so it’s up to us to keep on them to make sure that they actually honour what they agreed to vote on,” said MacGregor. “What our motion is basically calling on is for the government to actually spend the money that was budgeted for veterans in the first place.

MacGregor calls the government not spending this money a ‘crying shame’ when you consider the current condition of Veterans Affairs in Canada.

“In the current term of the Liberals, its been $372 million dollars of unspent program funding, over the three years they’ve been in power,” said MacGregor. “Money that was allocated but not spent and I think it’s a crying shame given that we still have services that are not meeting the standards that the department set out for itself.”

MacGregor said had the Trudeau government spent the 372 million dollars, more than five thousand new caseworkers could have been hired to support veterans.

To date, 260 have been hired.