Gosse: Premier McNeil and Liberals need to stop saying no to vets

February 17, 2014

(Sydney, NS) NDP MLA Gordie Gosse is disappointed the Liberals decided to sit on their hands a stall a motion to support veterans earlier today in Sydney.

At the emergency Veterans Affairs meeting Gosse introduced a motion asking the committee to support the creation of a Nova Scotia Veterans Advocate. The advocate would report directly to the Minister of Military Relations for the province (Stephen McNeil), and advise about what steps need to be taken to replace the services lost by the closure of the Sydney Veterans Affairs office. The advocate would also assist Nova Scotia veterans navigate through the federal system.

At today’s meeting veterans and advocates supported the NDP motion and hoped the province would take steps immediately to deal with the closure of the Veterans Affairs office in Sydney.

The Liberal majority on the committee chose to stall the motion until a later date. Victoria – The Lakes Liberal MLA Pam Eyking is the Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee and cast the deciding vote. The Liberals also voted against a PC motion that asked for the Premier to meet with the committee this Thursday to discuss a veterans advocate.

“The Liberals have said that doing nothing is not an option, but nothing is what they’ve done,” said Gosse. “Today, I presented a solution to assist veterans following the closure of the Sydney office and the Liberals wouldn’t even vote on it. I’m disappointed to say the least. The veterans office is closed in Sydney and they need help now. Our veterans deserve better.”

On Friday Gosse sent a letter to Stephen McNeil asking him to create a provincial veterans advocate. He hopes the Premier will veto the Liberals on the Veterans Affairs Committee and show leadership by creating a veterans advocate immediately. Last week when asked if he would support a veterans advocate McNeil avoided the question but said he would be willing to discuss the matter.

“Our veterans stood up for us when we needed it; now we need to stand up for them,” said Gosse. “The Liberals need to stop playing political games and get to work on helping our vets. We owe it to them.”