Veterans want federal assurance to keep well-used centre open
A group of veterans from the SainteAnne-de-Bellevue Veterans' Hospital want a federal promise to keep a much-used therapeutic centre open once the hospital is transferred to the provincial government.
The group has organized a petition asking federal decision makers to ensure the Liaison Centre, a therapeutic day centre for autonomous veterans, will continue to offer its services once Québec takes over jurisdiction of the hospital. The petition has been deposited with federal Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia from the LacSaint-Louis riding that includes the veteran's hospital. Scarpaleggia has said he intends to table the petition in the House of Commons.
Liaison Centre, which opened in 1982, gives former soldiers the chance to do things like use exercise equipment, enjoy meals and socialize with other veterans. The centre also has a wood shop, and offers things like massage, discussion groups and memory classes.
Though verbal promises have been made to keep the centre open after the transfer, those signing the petition say they want assurances in writing.
In their document, the group is asking that Liaison Centre remain open and operational as part of the veteran's hospital. They would also like to see it continue to provide " priority access" onsite services to members of the SainteAnne's Association ofWar Veterans.
Scarpaleggia said he's asked the government to hold public meetings about the future of the hospital and services like Liaison Centre, adding the request has been denied. The Lac-SaintLouis MP feels the petition will help keep pressure on the government to provide answers.