MP ‘ex­cited’ by new role

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - BY AN­GELA BROWN News Staff

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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