Just in time for Remembrance Day, there is welcome news reason for military and RCMP veterans in the central Okanagan.
About two years after it was closed by the previous federal government, the Kelowna office of Veterans Affairs Canada has re-opened.
“I was pretty confident the need was here and I advocated to get the office back and here it is,” says local Liberal M-P Steven Fuhr.
It means veterans won’t have to travel to the Penticton office to get face-to-face help with services and benefits, including pension and disability applications.
“We do have several of our veterans, from World War ll or Korea, who like going on-line but face to face is always easier,” says Veterans Affairs spokesperson Graham Williams.
Air Force veteran Don Stirling says the office reopening is one aspect of an improved relationship with the Trudeau Liberals compared to the Harper Conservatives.
“The old Veterans Affairs didn’t do much but that’s changed with the new ministry. It will take a while to get the confidence back but I’m already hearing better things,” says Stirling.
The office is expected to serve about 3500 veterans.
It was one of nine across the country that was closed to save money.
All are being reopened at a cost of about $78 million over five years.
“Costs are important,” says Fuhr. “But it’s more about delivering the services veterans need. This is what they want and this is what they deserve.”