IN the wake of Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino’s contemptuous response to Canadian veterans’ concerns about Veterans Affairs office closures, the NDP is demanding that Stephen Harper immediately apologize and fire his minister.

“Veterans and their families are legitimately concerned about the impact these office closures will have, but the best Minister Fantino can do is tell them not to point their fingers at him? That’s not good enough,” said NDP Veterans Affairs Critic Peter Stoffer on Wednesday.  “Our veterans deserve better than to be brushed aside by the Conservatives.”

New Democrats have repeatedly urged the Conservatives to reconsider their plan to close eight regional Veterans Affairs offices. Minister Fantino failed to show up at a previously scheduled meeting and at last night’s meeting, which only lasted eight minutes, he chose to criticize the veterans instead of addressing their concerns.

“It’s obscene that former Canadian Armed Forces personnel and RCMP officers, having served their country, now have to fight their own government just to receive basic care,” said Stoffer. “The Conservatives ought to be ashamed.”