Local and surrounding area veterans will gather today to acknowledge the closure of Brandon’s Veterans Affairs district office and seven others across Canada.
An office in Prince George closed in January 2013 while Brandon’s office and centres in Kelowna, B.C., Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Ont., Windsor, Ont., Sydney, N.S., Charlottetown and Corner Brook, N.L. shut their doors today.
The federal government’s decision last year to close various Veterans Affairs offices across the country has garnered significant blowback from the Public Service Alliance of Canada. The decision is due to a move to more online and remote services.
At 2 p.m. today, veterans will gather at 1039 Princess Ave., at the corner of Princess and 11th Street.
Local veterans who served in the Second World War, the Korean War, the war in Afghanistan and representatives from the RCMP Veterans' Association will be in attendance to speak out against the closure. They will also call on Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire, Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reopen the offices and restore face-to-face services to veterans.
Among those in attendance will be local veteran Martin Haller, who said he’s hoping weather won’t affect the turnout.
“It’s a very tragic day that our office is closing,” Hiller said. “It’s very important that we do this symbolic gesture.”
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 31, 2014