MP ‘excited’ by new role
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Pierre Lemieux is taking on some added challenges after being named parliamentary secretary to the minister of veterans’ affairs, Erin O'Toole.
“It’s very exciting particularly as I was in the military myself for 20 years,” Mr. Lemieux said.
The 51- year- old joined the Canadian Forces at the age of 17. He was Lieutenant- Colonel when he retired after serving as a member of the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). “I have a very thorough and personal understanding of what it means to serve in the military, and what it means to serve your country,” he said.
He also has an appreciation of the process for soldiers leaving the forces and re-integrating into civilian life.
As an MP, he visited Afghanistan when Canadian soldiers were deployed there in 2008. He also visited Bosnia in 1996- 97 while still in the Canadian Forces and was involved in a project to purchase armour to better protect Canadian vehicles in Bosnia.
“We have a lot of programs for veterans but of course we are striving to improve them,” he said. “There are changes that need to be made to better serve veterans.” Mr. Lemieux added the government has nine sites across Canada to provide support to veterans, including mental health services.
“This is just one example of where we are making things better,” he said. “We want to make sure our veterans are well cared for and that they are well supported through the programs we offer. We want to make sure our veterans receive the support, services and the medical care they need.”
Mr. Lemieux said he also appreciates meeting veterans whenever he is in the riding to hear their concerns.
An important part of assisting veterans who are leaving the Canadian Forces when they have completed their duties is to help them find rewarding work in society when they return home.
Lemieux defends rural policies
“That is the goal where we are heading,” the MP said.
Looking back over the six years he served as parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture and agri-food, Mr. Lemieux said he is proud of the government’s investment in research to help dairy farms and crop producers, especially soy and corn, to improve the quality of the crop and reduce crop loss.
He adds the government recently passed the Agriculture Growth Act that he hopes will encourage sustainable growth on farms across Canada including Glengarry.
“It will encourage investment into seed technology, which is important for the farmers of Glengarry,” he added. “It’s so Canadians have the best seed at their disposal.” New seed technology will help crops survive colder and wetter conditions and will provide added stability for the future of the agricultural sector.
ST. FINNAN’S CELEBRATES: Students join visiting MP Pierre Lemieux at St. Finnan’s Catholic School in Alexandria to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag. Mr. Lemieux gave a presentation about the history of the emblem.