Just before QP this morning, Conservative MP Scott Armstrong explained how the budget should be viewed.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the veterans and legions across my riding to thank the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance for increasing the funding envelope of the last post fund. The last post fund is the fund we use to show respect to our veteran soldiers, the ones who fought at Juno, Normandy, the ones who fought in the jungles of Burma, the ones who liberated millions of Europeans in World War II, a generation that is coming to the end of their lives. Our government has answered their ask to respect them by increasing the last post fund from $3,600 to help and support their families with the funeral to $7,300 to help their families and support them with the funeral.
We need to show these veterans respect, both in life and in death. Our government has answered that call. I call upon the opposition to stand and vote in favour of this budget. If it votes against budget 2013, it will be voting against every veteran across our country.
Opposition MPs have been pressing for changes to the Last Post Fund and the Royal Canadian Legion has campaigned for improvements. In its response to the budget, the Legion celebrated the increase to the Last Post Fund, but also noted other concerns.
Of course, as a young Reform MP once noted, the trouble with omnibus legislation (of the sort that has been used to implement the budget over the last several years) is that it forces MPs to give a single answer to many different questions. So perhaps Mr. Armstrong will ask the Finance Minister to ensure that the increase in funding for the Last Post Fund is made a separate and distinct bill so as to ensure that no votes are cast against the nation’s veterans.
Otherwise, the phrase “voted against” loses all meaning.