Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent plans to meet veterans, military and RCMP members and their families in a town hall during his visit to Kingston on March 29. The visit is just one of many parts of his outreach program to hear the voices and concerns of veterans.
“The town halls always have the same objective. We’re looking for the same outcome that is, in fact, to inform educate and learn, ourselves. In other words, we are going to be meeting with anyone interested in veterans issues and to have a public discussion on those issues,” said Parent.
The town hall will not only give veterans and their family members a chance to voice their concerns it will also give them a chance to learn more about the Ombudsman’s role and the organization in general.
“First of all [the importance] to make ourselves known. We are there to help people, and if people don’t know we exist or how to get in touch with us, if they haven’t heard we are a credible, evidence-based organization, people will hesitate to come talk to us,” explained Parent.
During the town hall, Parent will present a brief summary about what the Veterans Ombudsman office does, past accomplishments and future goals.
The town halls also give Parent a chance to hear regional concerns and issues and address them.
During the visits, veterans also have the opportunity to sit down and discuss personal cases with front-line officers.
“It helps us to get the pulse of what’s going on and find out if what we’re doing is the right thing and that we’re headed in the right direction and what we hear from the general community is, in fact, the real issues of concern,” noted the Ombudsman.
During his visits, Parent also visits local Veterans Affairs Canada offices to meet with the staff and listen to their challenges, visit long-term care institutions and RCMP detachments.
One of the most important results of these town hall visits, Parent acknowledges, are the connections made between veterans.
“It’s their chance to be heard. There are a lot of people who advocate for veterans, and it’s not too often the veterans themselves and families get the chance to get together. It’s not just about me and them it’s about them getting together as well,” said Parent.
Parent is hoping to visit Trenton next. The date has not yet been confirmed.
The Ombudsman’s team is scheduling individual meetings during the visit to Kingston. Timings are available for a personal appointment on Tuesday and Wednesday. To book an appointment contact [email protected] or call 613-943-3070.
The Kingston Town Hall will be held on Tuesday, March 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Ambassador Hotel & Conference Centre.