Veterans Affairs—LeadershipPublished on 18 May 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Percy Downe
Hon. Percy E. Downe:
Speaking of Veterans Affairs, Senator Harder would have noticed I filed a list of questions about the department.
I hear growing concerns from employees with the department in Charlottetown that they lack the leadership to serve veterans and their families because too many of the senior managers are located in Ottawa, rather than at the national headquarters in Charlottetown.
As you know, decades ago the government of the day relocated Veterans Affairs to Charlottetown, making it the only national headquarters located outside the National Capital Region. We continue to have a problem with erosion of the senior leadership.
You would know from your time in the position of deputy minister that we have had deputy ministers — Suzanne Tinning and David Nicholson — who actually lived in Charlottetown and went to work there every day. I’m sure when you were Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs you lived in Ottawa and not Halifax. The deputy minister is very competent. We all know him; he is a former Chief of the Defence Staff. He and a number of senior assistant and associate deputies don’t actually live in Prince Edward Island; they live in Ottawa. It’s affecting the department: Employees tell me constantly, when I meet them in Charlottetown, that the department lacks the leadership they need.
Could you bring this to the attention of the minister and report back, along with the questions I have provided to you?