September 22, 2013 2:05 pm
Updated: September 23, 2013 8:57 am

Lt.-Gen. Leslie blasts Conservative government’s treatment of veterans


OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau’s latest recruit to the Liberal team says the Conservative government is not doing all it can to help Canadian veterans.

“I’m not convinced they’re doing all they should be doing to give those wounded soldiers and those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress the dues and support they need,” Lt.-Gen. (Ret.) Andrew Leslie said in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark. “It is a sacred duty of any nation to actually support their veterans.

Leslie was speaking to Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, a mission he said was unequivocally “worth it, because it was the right thing to do.”

A spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino refuted Leslie’s claims, saying the Conservatives have made investments to “to put the necessary tools in the hands of our men and women in uniform while improving benefits and services for veterans.”

Last week, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau announced Leslie would be joining the team to co-chair an advisory council on international affairs.

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Above: Watch Lt.-Gen. (Ret.) Andrew Leslie speak with media last week after joining the Liberals.

The retired general had 35 years in uniform, during which he was deputy commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, commander of Task Force Kabul and commander of the Canadian Army.

During his interview, Leslie reiterated his criticism of the Department of National Defence’s management, especially during a time of restrained budgets.

“I’m not arguing against budget reductions, I’m arguing against how they’ve happened,” he said, noting the department has taken to spending on consultants and contractors instead of giving those jobs to the public servants. “So it’s mismanagement of a vital institution, which is of increasing concern t o me.”

– With files from The Canadian Press

© 2013 Shaw Media

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