Hon. Percy E. Downe:
I’m wondering if the Government Representative could check with the Minister of Veterans Affairs as to why the government continues to allow 19 of the 60 senior managers of Veterans Affairs Canada to live and work out of Ottawa as opposed to the National Headquarters in Charlottetown.
I continue to hear complaints from employees of the Veterans Affairs Department that the department is run through Skype as opposed to interaction in the department on a daily basis. This is the only department in government where the deputy minister and the senior managers live outside the area that they’re supposed to be reporting to. When will the government change that?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, senator, I’d be happy to raise the concern with the appropriate ministers and ensure that a response is provided.
Senator Downe: I look forward to that. We had a recent situation where there were numerous complaints about a major celebration in Europe, the Vimy celebration. The person running it works out of Ottawa. The people administering that work are in Charlottetown. There was a disconnect. According to ATIPs, hundreds of complaints were received, everything from buses to lineups to washrooms. It was a bit of a mess.
The department used to have an outstanding reputation for running these initiatives to inform Canadians about the sacrifice other Canadians made during all the conflicts in Europe. This is but another indication, as I’m advised by people in the department, of the disconnect between the people who are running the department, who weren’t there, and the department trying to function without that day-to-day leadership. I hope the government can resolve that sooner rather than later.
Senator Harder: I will certainly bring the case you referenced to the attention of the minister.