It's been a busy time with some important matters on the mind of Souris-Moose Mountain MP Dr. Robert Kitchen. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, he's been travelling around the country visiting with specifically indigenous veterans.
"At lot of the meetings that we've had so far have had individuals, as well as organizations, make presentations and talk about the issues that are important and pertaining to them, what they see has been available to them or hasn't been made available to them, in some cases, and how to improve that function," he explained.
There's a large history of indigenous involvement in Canada's military forces, including both World Wars and Korea, as well as Afghanistan, Bosnia and other locations. Many current members of the Canadian Armed Forces are indigenous. Some have also gone south of the border and joined the U.S Marines and other branches, which also is among the questions that Kitchen's committee is looking into.
"We tend to celebrate Remembrance Day more and more, which is a great thing, but it's one day of the year, and what we need to recognize is that it's not one day of the year for these veterans and soldiers. They are there 365 days a year, and they put their lives on the line to provide the security that we have today, and we need to be continually grateful for not only our indigenous veterans have done, but all our veterans," he expressed.
Many former serving veterans bring the battlefield home with them in the form of PTSD, and addressing such issues among the indigenous members is one of the focuses of the Committee's mission.
"They, sometimes, have fallen through the cracks, and we want to make certain that we're addressing that and that they feel comfortable that they can find an avenue to address that themselves and bring this forward, so that they know what the options are, what treatments and facilities are there that they can utilize."
Kitchen added that the tour has been education so far for himself and his colleagues, whether Conservative, Liberal or NDP, and the group has had a certain unity in their task. The tour has several more stops, with the study to continue into the fall.