Despite Promise, Is The Trudeau Government Failing To Hire Veterans?

Canada owes our Veterans everything. Our freedom, our prosperity, and our rights were all secured by those with the courage to serve our country.

That debt of gratitude can never be fully repaid, but we must try our best to repay it.

A big part of that is ensuring Veterans are well taken care of when they return from war. That means fixing the horribly broken Veterans Affairs Department. It also means ensuring good jobs for Veterans.

While I favour a smaller bureaucracy and more efficient government, I strongly support hiring more Veterans in the public service.

Veterans have already shown devotion to public service at the highest level. They exemplify loyalty, hard-work, and efficiency. They are the perfect choice for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public services.

The Trudeau government – and government’s before them – have said they feel the same way. The government has said they would prioritize the hiring of Canadian Veterans in the public service. However, it appears that may not be the case.

Promise made, promise broken

I recently received a message from Kelly Carter, a Retired Master Corporal in the Canadian Armed Forces – who shared details that raise serious doubt about whether the Trudeau government is actually keeping their promise to Veterans.

Carter served 26 years in the Army Logistics Branch as an Administrative Clerk and Pay Clerk. He has a certificate in Human Resource Management, and is a Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) with the Canadian Payroll Association. Additionally, he taught clerks at the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics (CFSAL), and was even clerk to the Chief of Defence Staff at Canada’s National Defence HQ.

I point all of this out to demonstrate that Carter is highly experienced and about as qualified as anyone can be as a public servant. Keep that in mind as you read the following message Carter shared with me:

“Since 1 July 2015, I have had a pass word to apply for both Internal and External positions within the Public Service, so far without success. Two Federal Departments that one would think would be the biggest partners in hiring Veterans under the new Veterans Hiring Act (VHA) became law on 1 July 2015, are so far, the worst at actually hiring Veterans. They do not even contact you to tell you that you have been screened out of a position, like many of the Department, Agency and Crown Corporations will do.”

Carter pointed out that supposed helpful changes by the government have been anything but:

“A new organization has been set up at VAC HQ in PEI called Veterans in the Public Service – Unit (VPS-U). They are supposed to be helping us get employment within the Public Service. I was one of their first clients when they started up two months ago, and so far are absolutely useless, and have done nothing for me. They talk down to Veterans like we are Spark Plugs. If I had a choice of a prize in a box of cracker jacks, or help from this crew, I would take the prize in the cracker jacks box.”

And as for any help from Trudeau – who promised to do more for Veterans – nothing:

“The Prime Minister is well aware, and to date, has not even had the professional courtesy of an acknowledgement of receipt of my personal letter mailed to his office, requesting his office become engaged.”

Carter also emphasized the importance of finding good jobs for Veterans in the public service:

“Mr. Fernando, it is my strong belief that the key to helping Veterans when we leave a career with the military is to find us positions within the public Service. It has solid structure, and gives us the feeling that we are continuing to serve our country, with Respect and Dignity.”

Master Corporal Carter is exactly right. The government must help Veterans, and a big part of that is finding good jobs for Veterans in the public service.

Unfortunately, it appears the Trudeau government is failing to get it done, and is instead creating a surface image that doesn’t match with reality.

A disturbing pattern from the Trudeau government

Carter’s message fits perfectly within the pattern we’ve seen from the Trudeau government towards Canada’s Veterans. Big words and promises have repeatedly turned into disrespect, dishonesty, and disregard towards those who served our country.

Now, it seems that pattern extends even into a promise that should have been easy to keep: Hiring Veterans. The Trudeau government has greatly expanded the bureaucracy, yet they appear unwilling to make a serious effort to hire Veterans.

That is not acceptable in Canada. Promises made by our government to Veterans must be kept. Words must be backed up with actions.

Those who served our country deserve top priority from our government, instead of the terrible treatment they’ve been receiving for far too long. It’s time to end the broken promises, and begin a clear and determined effort to get many more Canadian Veterans hired in the Public Service.

Spencer Fernando

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