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Andrew Swan, MLA Minto
November 8, 2016

Veterans' Week

Madam Speaker,

Canadians are commemorating Veterans’ Week with ceremonies across the country. Manitoba has always had a strong connection to the Canadian forces, including serving as the Canadian home to NORAD, one of the largest Canadian Armed Forces bases at Shilo, and historically high participation of Manitobans in service of our country. As we take the time to recognize and remember the brave women and men who have served this country, it’s also an opportunity to remember that, for many veterans, the conflict didn’t end when they return home.

Many former and current service members return from combat with complex needs, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Those diagnosed with PTSD can suffer from uncontrollable flashbacks, suffer depression, and emotional outbursts. This affects entire families and communities. There is a mental health crisis facing Canadian Force members, with one in ten veterans of the war in Afghanistan suffering mental health issues, and at least 54 soldiers and veterans who have taken their own lives after returning from service in Afghanistan.

We owe our soldiers and veterans an enormous debt of gratitude, and the very least we can do is to make sure they have easily accessible frontline services in their own communities. It is essential that we invest as much in these brave Canadians when they come home as we do before they’re deployed.

Madam Speaker, this Veterans’ Week, I ask all Manitobans not only to remember those who have sacrificed so much for Canada, but to urge our Federal government to address this mental health crisis in the Canadian Forces and make necessary investments in frontline services for our veterans.

Thank you.