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Kent Hehr ~ Today WE Remember

Shortly before my 22nd birthday, while riding in a friend’s car, I was hit in a drive-by shooting.

The bullet passed through my neck, and struck my spinal cord, leaving me quadriplegic and wheelchair-bound for the rest of my life.

Stories like mine — a moment of extreme violence that changed a life forever — are rare in civilian life.

But for the brave men and women in uniform we celebrate today, and the veterans who have served Canada proudly, such violence can be an everyday risk.

This Remembrance Day, I find myself reflecting on the extraordinary sacrifices of our Armed Forces. Their courage. Their commitment to keeping us safe. But also the hardships they face both while in uniform and after they come home.

I know our new government has much work to do to honour our sacred obligation to Canada’s veterans. That’s why I’m excited that as Minister of Veterans Affairs, I’ll be rolling out all of the commitments we made during the campaign in the weeks and months to come, such as:

  • the right to choose life-long disability pensions — in place of the unfair lump sum, after which a veteran gets cut off
  • a meaningful increase to the Earnings Loss Benefit — the financial aid a veteran can apply for during their recovery process
  • a badly overdue program that, like the American GI bill, will pay for a veteran’s complete education, no matter what career they choose
  • increased support for families caring for a loved one dealing with the aftermath of war
  • re-opening those all-important Veterans Service Centres, hiring 400 new service delivery staff, and creating world class centres of excellence for veteran care, including PTSD.

Above all, we will work to implement best practices and support veterans so they can receive the benefits and services they need when they return home.

When I was injured, I found the support I needed to rebuild my life and eventually go on to have a successful career in public life. In those moments I felt alone, there was always someone, somewhere I could turn to.

I want Canada’s servicemen and women, and Canada’s veterans to know they too are not alone, that all Canadians stand with them.

That’s why I’d like you to add your name to thank the members of Canada’s Armed Forces and veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Add your name now →

Thank you,

Hon. Kent Hehr
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence


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