Friends, residents of Halifax, concerned and engaged citizens:
Over the past few weeks, I have received many emails and phone calls expressing support and concern for Mr. Petter Blindheim, a 94 year old veteran whose request for admission to a Halifax hospital has received considerable media coverage.
I‘ve said before that I have spent a great deal of time advocating on Mr. Blindheim’s behalf directly to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, his officials, and representatives at the provincial level. My request has been clear: quick action that will secure Mr. Blindheim the care he deserves in the appropriate facility, and a review of the rules governing such care so other veterans don’t face the same challenges Mr. Blindheim and his family had to face.
The same is true for all my Nova Scotia caucus colleagues; we have each spent many days and nights talking with different officials in search of an appropriate solution for Mr. Blindheim and other veterans.
Today, we have turned a corner.
The Nova Scotia MPs, working closely with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Government of Nova Scotia, have found a path forward that will provide proper care for Mr. Blindheim and other veterans like him. As a result of this joint effort, and the endless advocacy by Mr. Blindheim’s family, today Mr. Blindheim was offered a long-term care bed in Camp Hill hospital.
The federal government has reached an agreement with the Nova Scotia Health Authority to expand veteran’s access to beds in the Camp Hill Veterans’ Memorial Building. The Minister of Veterans Affairs will undertake a review to better address long term care needs for veterans.
Our government promised to treat all veterans and their families with respect and gratitude. We were elected to change the way things were being done, and to support and care for our veterans. We are absolutely committed to that very important promise.
Reaching this solution took time. Sometimes, getting things right takes longer than we’d like it to. But make no mistake: we reached this solution because we have a federal government and a provincial government that work together. That must always stay true.
Today’s decision provides a starting place to look at the process which has been so challenging over the last few weeks, and introduce much needed flexibility and compassion for other veterans in the future. My colleagues in NS caucus and I will continue to work diligently on this issue and others impacting veterans.
But most importantly, today’s decision gives Mr. Blindheim the care he deserves for his brave and heroic service.