The Barrie Examiner

Recently, I was named to the Conservative shadow cabinet as Veterans Affairs critic for the Official Opposition.

I am thankful to our Leader Rona Ambrose and honoured she has placed her faith in me to assume this role.

I am excited to serve in this capacity and humbled to have the opportunity to echo the voices of our vets and their families. I have a profound respect for our veterans.

There are thousands of active military families who call the Barrie-Innisfil area home and many thousands more who previously served our country with distinction. Our community also has a deep connection with CFB Borden and I am working tirelessly with local stakeholders and veterans groups across Canada on behalf of our veterans.

From the beaches of Normandy, to the cliffs of Dieppe, to the trenches of Kapyong, to the mountains of Kandahar the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces have served this country with pride and honour and I know Conservatives value Canada’s veterans.

One of the first acts of the previous government was to implement the New Veterans Charter in 2006 and enhance it in 2014 by increasing the number of support programs and entitlements from 19 to 34.

As a new member of Parliament, I understand the relationship was strained at times and there was a perception of funding cuts, but funding actually increased by nearly $5 billion from 2006 to 2015 even though the number of veterans declined.

Regardless of your political allegiances or philosophical beliefs, Canadians all share a common admiration and deep respect for Canada’s veterans. They are the tie that binds the citizens of this great country together and any approach a government takes towards our veterans, and our military in general, must transcend politics.

The Liberals made some lofty promises to veterans at election time and I am wholeheartedly committed to doing my part to help ensure our veterans get the respect they deserve.

During Veterans Week (Nov. 5-11) the unbreakable bond between Canadians and our veterans will be on full display as thousands stand before memorials and cenotaphs across Barrie-Innisfil to pay their solemn respects during Veterans Week.

Remembrance Day marks the Armistice that arrived on the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. It is a time to pay tribute to those who went far from home to answer the call of peace.

With bravery and unwavering determination, they defended our home, our security, and our freedom.

Our military tradition is remarkable with over 1.7 million Canadians serving in our Armed Forces during the conflicts of the last century. It speaks to the nature of our country that so many have stood on guard for Canada.

I encourage all Canadians to remember those soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to honour those who returned wounded in body, spirit and mind. I also ask that you think of those who continue to serve our nation so proudly.

We owe all of them an endless debt of gratitude.

Lest we forget.