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Post by Warrior on Thu 28 Feb 2019, 9:17 pm

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shuffle cabinet Friday

(Shuffle will be small, involving handful of ministers in bid to fill Veterans Affairs)


David Cochrane · CBC News · Posted: Feb 28, 2019

New Minister to be appointed Friday Cabinet-shuffle-20180718

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will shuffle his cabinet on Friday to fill the vacancy created by Jody Wilson-Raybould's departure over the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

A high-level government source tells CBC News that the shuffle will be small involving no more than a handful of ministers.

A second government source says some ministers have been called back to Ottawa to prepare for a Friday morning shuffle.

Trudeau has to fill Wilson-Raybould's post at Veterans Affairs. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has been acting in that role since Wilson-Raybould's resignation.



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Post by JAFO on Thu 28 Feb 2019, 10:41 pm

So who exactly is he doing this for?

Overworked, exhausted VAC employees?

OR

Extremely pissed off veterans who are about to get our 4th Minister in 4 years?

Can he break his streak of inconsistency with our file?
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Post by Edgefore on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 9:48 am

Rumor has it MacAulay will be taken over Veterans Affairs.
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Post by Edgefore on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 9:49 am

Cabinet shuffle: Ministers Bibeau, MacAulay on the move

March 1, 2019



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Post by Edgefore on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 10:59 am

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay will be named as Canada’s new veterans affairs minister

March 1, 2019

New Minister to be appointed Friday 20181121071731_ajw301514028_large
Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay poses infront of caricature images on the walls of his office in the Parliamentary precinct in Ottawa, Thursday November 1, 2018. MacAulay will be named as Canada’s new veterans affairs minister, filling the void left by the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould last month.



OTTAWA, Ont. — Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay will be named as Canada’s new veterans affairs minister, multiple media outlets are now reporting.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to shuffle the federal cabinet as he looks to fill the void left by the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould, who was moved from the justice portfolio to veterans affairs in the last federal cabinet shuffle in mid-January, resigned her post Feb. 12.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has been acting as the minister of veterans affairs since then.

MacAulay was first elected to the House of Commons on Nov. 21, 1988 to represent Cardigan, and won his ninth consecutive election in October 2015.

His cabinet appointments have included Solicitor General of Canada, Minister of Labour, Secretary of State (Veterans), and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency).

He has served as critic for Fisheries and Oceans and Seniors. In addition, he was vice chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.





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Post by Edgefore on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 11:19 am

Lawrence MacAulay Named New Veterans Affairs Minister In Trudeau Shuffle

New Minister to be appointed Friday Https%3A%2F%2Fmedia-mbst-pub-ue1.s3.amazonaws

March 1, 2019

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making longtime MP Lawrence MacAulay his new veterans-affairs minister to fill the void left by the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould as part of a minor cabinet shuffle this morning.

Two other ministers already in cabinet are taking on new responsibilities: Marie-Claude Bibeau replaces MacAulay as agriculture minister and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef takes on the additional portfolio of international development.


Wilson-Raybould, who was moved from the justice portfolio to veterans affairs in the last federal cabinet shuffle in mid-January, resigned her post Feb. 12.

On Wednesday, Wilson-Raybould testified to the House of Commons justice committee that she was pressured by Trudeau, his senior staff and others to halt a criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

She said she believed she was shuffled out as attorney general and justice minister because she didn't give in to the political arm-twisting.

Trudeau has denied the SNC-Lavalin affair had anything to do with Wilson-Raybould's move, saying she would still be justice minister had former Treasury Board president Scott Brison not suddenly decided to leave politics.





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Post by vet1 on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 12:32 pm

Vote their ass-ets out next election.

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Post by Colter on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 12:55 pm

Longtime MP Lawrence MacAulay named veterans-affairs minister

CityNews Toronto
Published on Mar 1, 2019



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Post by Cool~Way on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 1:39 pm

Lawrence MacAulay 'extremely proud and honoured' by move to Veterans Affairs

MacAulay had been agriculture minister

Kevin Yarr · CBC News · Posted: Mar 01, 2019

New Minister to be appointed Friday Lawrence-macaulay
Lawrence MacAulay speaks to reporters shortly after being sworn in as the new minister for veterans affairs. (CBC)



P.E.I. MP Lawrence MacAulay is the new minister of veterans affairs.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced MacAulay's change of portfolio in a cabinet shuffle Friday morning. The shuffle was to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould as veterans affairs minister.

"I am extremely proud and honoured to represent the veterans," MacAulay told reporters shortly after he was sworn in.

MacAulay served as secretary of state with the department in the late 1990s.

He acknowledged the federal government had made a lot of changes in the department since then, however he declined to provide further details on the portfolio — saying he had yet to be briefed.

"It's an honour to be a minister at the table in any portfolio, but to have the chance to be in Veterans Affairs, really, for the second time, is indeed a great honour and I look forward to travelling across the country, meeting veterans and doing everything I possibly can to make sure the people who make sure that we live in peace and have democracy are well cared for."

New Minister to be appointed Friday Lawrence-macaulay
Lawrence MacAulay was sworn in as veterans affairs minister on Friday, March 1, 2019. (CBC)



MacAulay is moving out of the Agriculture and Agri-food portfolio. Quebec MP Marie-Claude Bibeau moves to that portfolio from International Development.

Maryam Monsef, minister for women and gender, adds International Development to her responsibilities.







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Post by Cool~Way on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 1:50 pm

P.E.I. MP Lawrence MacAulay named veterans-affairs minister in cabinet shuffle

THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Friday, March 1, 2019



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Post by Cooper on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 6:18 pm

Vets frustrated by high turnover, groups tell Senate as MacAulay sworn in as Trudeau’s fifth veterans affairs minister

By JOLSON LIM MAR. 1, 2019

The department is being treated as a ‘revolving door,’ Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Thomas Irvine told Senators on Feb. 27.
New Minister to be appointed Friday 6L8A0702.t5c797307.m800.x0220ef41-750x375
On March 1, Lawrence MacAulay was sworn in as the 10th minister responsible for Veterans Affairs in the past decade. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade



Longtime MP Lawrence MacAulay was sworn in as minister of veterans affairs this morning, marking the fifth minister of the file under the Trudeau government and 10th one since 2009—something veterans organizations told a Senate committee this week hurts Canada’s former soldiers.

The high turnover of the ministerial position often viewed in political circles as a low-level posting and dumping ground for poor-performing cabinet members drew the ire of veterans advocates at a Senate committee meeting on Feb. 27, who say frequent shuffles are telling of how past and present governments consider Veterans Affairs a low-priority file.

As part of its ongoing study on services and benefits provided to veterans and their families, the Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs—part of the Chamber’s National Security and Defence Committee—delved into the topic of the “repercussions of the recent changes in ministers at the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”


“It appears the department is being treated as a revolving door with too many different leaders taking the reins for a short period of time,” said Thomas Irvine, dominion president of the Royal Canadian Legion. “The position and department is not getting the attention and respect that it and veterans deserve.”

Mr. Irvine said Veterans Affairs is a complicated department that takes time to get a new minister up to speed and ready to start making important decisions.

“We’re concerned that no one is in the post long enough to start looking ahead and crafting a vision for the future. The result is a lack of leadership and oversight,” he said. “We’re also very insulted, as an organization of veterans, that the government of today, yesterday and maybe tomorrow treats this as not a very important portfolio.”

In front of Rideau Hall this morning, Mr. MacAulay (Cardigan, P.E.I.) told reporters that it will be an “honour” to represent veterans and his shuffle was a “long piece from a demotion.”

“It is truly an honour for me, and I’ve always said being associated with Veterans Affairs 22 years ago was such an honour and a privilege because we have to all realize what these people do,” he said.


Mr. MacAulay comes into the job with experience in the Veterans Affairs portfolio, as he was secretary of state for Veterans Affairs from January 1994 to June 1997 in Jean Chrétien’s government. The secretary of state role was equivalent to a junior cabinet member. Veterans Affairs’ headquarters is also just outside of Charlottetown, close to Mr. MacAulay’s riding.

He replaces Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South, B.C.), who assumed the role of acting Veterans Affairs minister after Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver-Granville, B.C.) resigned from cabinet on Feb. 12.

Mr. MacAulay is the longest continuously serving Liberal MP in caucus and was first elected in 1988. He served as Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister from 2015 until now.

From November 1998 to October 2002, he served as solicitor general of Canada. However, he resigned after he was subject of an inquiry concerning allegations of conflict of interest. He was also secretary of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency from January 1996 to June 1999, and Labour Minister from June 1997 to November 1998.

Five ministers since November 2015


At the Senate subcommittee, Virginia Vaillancourt, president of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees, noted that Mr. Sajjan was the sixth minister the department had in five years and the eighth official minister since 2010.

“No other federal department has seen this kind of turnover, and it sends a very negative message: the message that our veterans are not a priority to the government,” she said.

Ms. Vaillancourt said the amount of turnover has “created instability for our veterans and concerns for our members. The minister is supposed to be a spokesperson for our veterans’ concerns and ensure their department becomes a workplace of choice.”

She added: “As ministers change, continuity is broken, and we fear that the concerns of veterans are never really heard.”

Under the government of Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.), the veterans affairs minister job was first handed to Kent Hehr (Calgary Centre, Alta.), who served in the role from November 2015 to August 2017.


Following a summer 2017 cabinet shuffle, Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, Nfld.) was moved into the role and remained there until the Jan. 14 cabinet shuffle sparked by the retirement of Treasury Board President Scott Brison.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould, who served as justice minister and attorney general from November 2015 until then, assumed the Veterans Affairs role.

However, she remained in the role for less than a month until. On Feb. 12 she resigned from cabinet amid the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Following her resignation, Mr. Sajjan assumed the role of acting minister until today.

Pensions for Life rolls out in April
In 2015, the Trudeau government pledged to correct the issues that veterans said had come out of the adoption of the New Veterans Charter under a minority government of Stephen Harper in 2006.

The Liberals introduced the Pensions for Life program in December 2017, its signature policy for the Veterans Affairs file. They had promised that no veteran who is currently receiving benefits will see their compensation shrink as a result of the program. The new pension system is set to come online on April 1.


Veterans advocates, however, have accused the Liberals of creating a multi-tiered system that makes compensation amounts some receive more unequal, particularly for Canada’s most injured veterans. A Parliamentary Budget Office report estimated that five per cent of veterans would be better off under the old pension regime. The report, however, stated that most veterans will receive more. Some veterans will also be ineligible for certain benefits currently available.

Ms. Vaillancourt said she had planned to meet Ms. Wilson-Raybould regarding Pensions for Life but the meeting was cancelled. She is yet to meet with a minister on the issue, she said.

At the committee meeting, she said there were concerns being raised by staff who are in the midst of training ahead of the April 1 rollout. Mr. Irvine also raised concerns that some veterans still don’t understand the upcoming pension changes.

“When will they get clarity there? How much longer until someone new gets up to speed? Is it still on track for April 1?”


—With files from Charelle Evelyn

jlim@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times





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Post by Cooper on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 6:24 pm

MacAulay faces tough task repairing relations with angry veterans' community

Canadian Press
Published: March 1, 2019

New Minister to be appointed Friday JDT103532872_large

OTTAWA — When he was named Friday as Canada's latest minister of veterans affairs, Lawrence MacAulay was given the difficult task of sweetening the Trudeau government's relations with embittered veterans and selling the Liberals' controversial pension plan for those injured in uniform.

MacAulay's move to veterans affairs from the Agriculture Department, where he had been for the past three years, was part of a mini-cabinet shuffle prompted by Jody Wilson-Raybould's sudden resignation from the portfolio after only a few weeks in the job.

The move comes at a critical time for veterans and the Liberals, who enjoyed strong support from former service members in the last election but are now facing widespread anger and frustration from the community ahead of this year's vote.

That frustration is fed by the fact MacAulay is the fifth person to hold the veterans-affairs portfolio in less than four years under the Liberals, counting Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's temporary assignment after Wilson-Raybould's resignation.

"What it has sent as a message is that the veterans portfolio hasn't been a priority, that our veterans themselves have not been a priority to the government," said Virginia Vaillancourt, national president of the Union of Veterans' Affairs Employees. "And he's going to have a lot of relationships to mend and fix due to the constant turnover that we've seen in the minister's role."

MacAulay's appointment Friday was met with some extremely cautious optimism given his past role in the 1990s as secretary of state for veterans affairs under Jean Chretien and the fact the longtime MP is from P.E.I., where Veterans Affairs Canada is headquartered.

Yet there were also questions about whether he is simply a placeholder given that the next election is only a few months away — and whether he will actually be able to address the veteran community's numerous concerns and grievances.

In an interview with The Canadian Press before he flew to P.E.I. Friday, MacAulay said his plan is to sit down and take a close look at "what's there, what's been done and what can be done better for veterans."

Yet he also defended the Trudeau government's record, saying "it's kind of a shame" if veterans feel the Liberals have been ignoring them or have broken promises to the community since taking office.

"My understanding is that what we indicated we would do we are doing or in the process of doing," MacAulay said, citing the re-opening of several Veterans Affairs offices closed by the Conservatives and the introduction of a new pension plan as examples.

"I think you'd find there's a lot of veterans who are quite pleased with what's taken place."

Yet that pension plan, in particular, has been anything but well received — as MacAulay is likely to find out.

The federal Liberals promised during the last election to reinstate a lifelong disability pension after many veterans complained the lump-sum payment and other benefits that replaced it in 2006 were far less generous.

While the pledge was widely interpreted as a promise to bring back the pre-2006 pension system, the Trudeau government instead introduced its own version that will come into effect on April 1, which many veterans have described as a betrayal.

An analysis by the parliamentary budget office last week found the Liberals' so-called Pension for Life plan is not only less generous than the pre-2006 pension, but will provide less financial compensation to the most severely injured veterans than even the current system does.

"(MacAulay) has to do more than just verbiage. He has to come back with some specific proposals to address the inequity," said Brian Forbes, chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations, which represents more than 60 veteran groups across Canada.

"I truly believe that if he doesn't do something along those lines, then the election has to be impacted at least to some extent by the fact that many veterans will either stay home or vote into another party. They're not going to get that grandiose support they got in 2015."

There have also been concerns about the long delays and obstacles many veterans continue to face getting services and benefits, which Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Brad White said "has to be cleaned up."

One of the key questions, however, is how much room — and money — MacAulay will have to manoeuvre before the writ is dropped given that the federal budget will be unveiled in less than three weeks and many of its measures have already been nailed down.

"So things are pretty well set," White said. "I'm not going to say in stone. But I think it's pretty well set for the rollout of the budget."





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Post by Cooper on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 6:29 pm

Veterans’ groups fear their priorities will be lost in the constant shuffle of ministers

By BRUCE CAMPION-SMITHOttawa Bureau
Fri., March 1, 2019

OTTAWA—It’s a déjà vu posting for Canada’s latest veterans affairs minister — the 10th in a decade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned to a political veteran to take on the portfolio Friday, hoping the appointment of Lawrence MacAulay will assuage advocates frustrated by the turnover in ministers.


New Minister to be appointed Friday Lawrence_macaulay

MacAulay, who was secretary of state for veterans under prime minister Jean Chrétien, was effusive Friday, telling reporters he was delighted to return to an issue he was first involved with two decades ago.

“It’s an honour to be a minister at the table in any portfolio but the chance to be at veterans affairs really for the second time is indeed a great honour,” MacAulay said outside Rideau Hall following the swearing-in ceremony.

The veterans affairs department is close to home in another way too — MacAulay is MP for the riding of Cardigan in Prince Edward Island, and the headquarters for veterans affairs is in Charlottetown.

He pledged to do “everything I can” to make sure the personnel who “preserve democracy for us worldwide” are well looked after.

That enthusiasm might help ease the discomfort of veterans groups worried that their priorities are getting lost in the political upheaval.

MacAulay fills the vacancy caused by the sudden departure of Jody Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from the position in February just a month into the job. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan had taken on responsibilities for the file in the interim.

Friday’s shuffle means there have been 10 ministers to hold the veterans affairs position since 2009 and five since the Liberals took office in 2015.

Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, said the changes in ministers with just months to go before the fall election make it difficult to make progress on issues such as the transition to civilian life and improving benefits and payments for wounded veterans.


“It just doesn’t seem realistic for anybody to step into this role at this time and hope to accomplish very much,” Maxwell said.

Brad White, national executive director of the Royal Canadian Legion, said that during MacAulay’s first ministerial stint with the department in the 1990s, he enacted some “transformational” change to address pension issues.

“I’m hoping he takes that attitude to this new portfolio,” White said in an interview.

He said there are numerous issues that need attention, notably smoothing the transition for personnel between the Canadian Armed Forces and the veterans affairs department.

“We have some very complex issues out there right now. We have injuries we have never seen before, both physical and psychological that we have to deal with … and they are younger people than they were before,” he said.

“I’m just concerned that we don’t lose the focus… we need to look after our veterans,” he said.

Conservative MP Phil McColeman, the critic for veterans issues, said he’s happy to see veterans affairs restored to a full-time minister.

He said urgent action is needed to address issues highlighted by the parliamentary budget officer in its recent examination of the various benefits programs provided by the department since 2006.

In a February report, the budget officer concluded that most, but not all, veterans receiving disability benefits will be financially better off under the new regime that takes effect April 1. But its analysis found that about 3 per cent of new claimants would be “greatly disadvantaged” under the new program, by about $300,000.

“That’s is a glaring thing that I think he should address,” McColeman (Brant) told the Star Friday.

McColeman also wants the new minister to address the health concerns of veterans who took the anti-malaria drug mefloquine, which carries the risk of psychological side effects. The federal government may face a lawsuit from veterans who say their health has suffered as a result of the drug.

McColeman is hoping the Liberal government can resolve the issue without a courtroom showdown. “I would ask the new minister to look at every possible avenue to make sure that we don’t end up in the courtroom again with our veterans,” he said.





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Post by Armour+ on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 9:02 am

MacAulay says reassignment to veterans post 'a long place from a demotion'

Veterans minister says he'll try to speed up repayments for department's $165M accounting gaffe

Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: Mar 02, 2019


New Minister to be appointed Friday Cabinet-shuffle-20190301
Lawrence MacAulay arrives at a swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Friday. The seasoned Liberal stalwart will need all of the good will he can beg, borrow or steal in his new post as minister of Veterans Affairs.



Lawrence MacAulay, Canada's new veterans affairs minister, extended crucial olive branches hours after being sworn in, offering to speed up repayments for shortchanged, disabled former soldiers and rejecting the depiction of his new department as a political dumping ground.

The seasoned Liberal stalwart will need all of the good will he can beg, borrow or steal in the coming months to diffuse the political and legal crisis over a $165-million accounting error and the implementation of the government's so-called pension-for-life plan, which the Parliamentary Budget Office recently predicted would disadvantage the most severely disabled.

Standing in the shadow of the portico outside of Rideau Hall on Friday, MacAulay delivered a heartfelt statement that could not help but be compared to his predecessor, Jody Wilson-Raybould, whose resignation from the veterans post resulted in a political firestorm because of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

"I can say to veterans: I will do my very best to represent you because that's exactly what you deserve," said MacAulay, who served as the veterans parliamentary secretary for four years in the 1990s. "To have the honour to represent the people who preserve peace and democracy for us worldwide; that is a long place from a demotion."


Demotion perception irked veterans

Central to the political drama surrounding Wilson-Raybould is the notion she was "demoted" in the last shuffle from attorney general to veterans minister when she refused to intervene in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

It is a perception that irked veterans.


The thought that MacAulay is the fifth minister to occupy the veterans chair in five years also makes their blood boil.

Beyond expressions of appreciation, one of the first concrete tasks in front of MacAulay will be to disarm the anger in the veterans community about a $165-million accounting gaffe that has spawned four proposed class-action lawsuits.


MacAulay will try to move up payments

MacAulay said he is willing to try to get the reimbursement into their hands faster.

The Liberal government acknowledged last fall the veterans department made a mistake — over several years — in calculating disability awards and benefits. The blunder was discovered and quietly corrected in 2010, but the department made no move to reimburse those affected until the veterans ombudsman blew the whistle.


Former veterans minister Seamus O'Regan promised that those affected — mostly elderly former soldiers — would be reimbursed, starting in 2020.

MacAulay told CBC News Network's Power & Politics on Friday that he recognized the importance of the issue.

"I'm aware, but not fully briefed" on the policy issue, MacAulay told host Vassy Kapelos. "If I can move the timeline up, yes, I will."


Many veterans caught up in accounting error have died

It is a crucial declaration in light of the class-action suits, which have made a point of saying the delay in reimbursement is unacceptable.

"My job is to make sure the envelope is pushed, to make sure we provide the proper benefits, the proper programs and whatever is needed for veterans. That's what I will do," MacAulay said Friday.


Documents obtained by CBC News under access-to-information legislation show the department's internal planning anticipated a roll-out of the reimbursement plan in the fall this year, but in public statements the government insisted it will not begin until next year, well after the upcoming election.

Over 272,000 veterans, most of them elderly, were affected by the indexing mistake and more than half of them — about 170,000 — have died.

That has made the speeding up of repayment an urgent matter, according to retired corporal Dennis Manuge, who filed the first class-action claim in January.


Plan for injured soldiers a complex challenge

The most complex challenge MacAulay will face involves the introduction of the Liberal government's plan to give veterans an option of collecting either a lifetime pension or a lump-sum award for wounds and injuries sustained in the line of duty.

The incoming system of benefits, to be launched on April 1, will leave the most severely disabled soldiers in worse financial shape than the system it is about to replace, the Parliamentary Budget Office found in a recent analysis.

The report by Yves Giroux found the changes will be beneficial to those already in the system, but injured vets who join after the overhaul will not do as well.


It will be up to MacAulay to explain and defend those decisions.

At least one veterans group reacted with cautious optimism, noting MacAulay's history with the department.

Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said the new minister is the kind of "guy I usually get along with: blunt, to the point [and] willing to understand the dynamics."

And just in case MacAulay may not be up to speed on the dynamics, Blais said he's going to give the minister's constituency office a call on Saturday.





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Post by Armour+ on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 9:36 am

MacAulay replaces Wilson-Raybould as Veterans Affairs Minister | Power & Politics

CBC News
Published on Mar 1, 2019



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