Most of the frontline workers at the offices in Saskatoon, Sydney, Brandon, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Sydney, Charlottetown and Corner Brook are being eliminated â€” about 100 people across the country, according to numbers put together by the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
The union says the government is getting rid of 784 jobs throughout the department in the next two years. Departmental reports show that Veterans Affairs, which had 3,758 employees in 2006-2007, when the Tories took office, will employ just 2,755 by 2015-16.
If there are fewer people working at Veterans Affairs, and fewer offices where veterans can sit down with trained support workers, itâ€™s likely that more of them will fail to fill out the right forms and wonâ€™t get the support they deserve.
This has already been identified as a problem.
A 2012 report from Auditor General Michael Ferguson found that National Defence and Veterans Affairs â€œhave difficulties in communicating and meeting service delivery standards and requirements, particularly as they relate to assessments and case management services. The result may be that Forces members and veterans do not receive benefits and services to which they are entitled, or do not receive them in a timely manner.â€
Second World War and Korea veterans are getting on in years, and may need help in identifying what services may be helpful to them. Younger veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder can find it difficult to reach out for help. Itâ€™s hard to see how shutting offices will make their lives better.
All of which is to say that veterans have darned good reasons to be concerned.
In 2004, when I arrived in Ottawa to cover politics for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, I was lucky to get a desk in the press gallery between Maurice Godin, a canny Radio-Canada veteran, and Mike Duffy, who was then the host of CTVâ€™s political show.
Both Godin and Duffy were kind to the East Coast greenhorn, and since Godin was on the Hill in the morning and Duffy in the afternoon, I was often able to get help with a story from two of the best reporters on the Hill without leaving my desk.
I got to be friends with Duffy, a twinkly-eyed storyteller with a love for gossip and cold white wine.
He was kind enough to have me on his show a few times, including the night of Oct. 9, 2008, when CTV decided to air some outtakes from an interview in which Liberal leader Stephane Dion struggled to answer a confusing question.
I thought CTV was right to air the clip, since Dion wanted to be prime minister, but I thought Duffyâ€™s take on the interview was way over the top. He treated it like the biggest gaffe since Robert Stanfield fumbled a football, and Iâ€™m embarrassed to say I squirmed through the panel discussion without saying that.
Duffy was in the tank for the Tories because he wanted Harper to appoint him to the Senate.
Saying Duffy did the Dion interview to get in the Senate was like suggesting that Steve Smith scored on his own goal in 1986 because he wanted to play for the Calgary Flames.
(that video never gets old)
Bonus link: Here is a video of what looks to be an intoxicated Mike Duffy attacking MPs and the Canadian Press.Â The best part of the video is Duffy attacking Peter Stoffer on his expenses while defending his own.
This story by Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor is unbelievable. While Elections Canada says the evidence is inconclusive, the investigation has narrowed down the people involved as for some reason they drove across Guelph and used a random unlocked wifi spot address to access the Conservative database. The wifi connection was the same that was used to access RackNineâ€™ servers.
Other records obtained by Elections Canada show that five members of the Burke campaign team used that same IP address in the final weeks of the campaign to access CIMS, the Conservative Partyâ€™s central database of voter information.
Campaign manager Ken Morgan, deputy campaign manager Andrew Prescott and volunteers John White, Trent Blanchette and Christopher Crawford all logged onto CIMS from the Rogers IP, according to the document. Through the Conservative Partyâ€™s lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, Crawford told investigators that he had always accessed CIMS from the Burke campaign office.
It seems unlikely anyone in the Burke campaign headquarters, which was located northeast of Guelphâ€™s downtown, could have connected to a Wi-Fi signal on the opposite side of the city.
But in court documents, Mathews offers no possible explanation for how or why five campaign workers all signed on from the same IP address used by Poutine â€” and over a Wi-Fi signal nowhere close to their office.
Indeed, Mathews suggests that the subscriber information behind IP address looks to be a dead lead, calling it â€œso far inconclusive.â€
Instead, his latest request for court orders focuses on the relationship between the IP address and log-ins to RackNine, the Edmonton-based call company used to transmit the robocalls.
RackNineâ€™s owner, Matt Meier, has found the robocalls were sent using his servers by a customer known to the firm as â€œClient 93â€, who logged on with the Rogers IP. Elections Canada has already tied this account to a disposable Virgin Mobile cellphone registered by the suspect using the bogus name Pierre Poutine.
Prescott, a RackNine subscriber known as â€œClient 45â€, used the company to send out legitimate robocalls about campaign events. Records produced by the company show that Prescott and Poutine accessed the companyâ€™s servers from the same IP address, sometimes within a few minutes.
Can anyone give me a reason why the campaign manager and deputy campaign manager, and three volunteers would be accessing a restricted Conservative Party database from a random open wifi port across town from the campaign office and then you add on the little fact that it was the same IP address used to access the Racknine account.