PG Veterans Affairs Office to Re-open Monday
Prince George, B.C. – The Veterans Affairs office in Prince George will officially re-open Monday morning, with Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr on hand to mark the occasion.
The Prince George office was one of nine which were closed by the former Conservative government in 2012 in an effort to move more services online and to Service Canada centres. The closures, which were met by protests from one side of the country to the other, also took down offices in Kelowna, Saskatoon, Brandon, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Sydney, Charlottetown and Corner Brook.
All of the offices are being re-opened, as was promised by Justin Trudeau in his successful bid to become Prime Minister in 2015.
The ceremony re-opening the Prince George office will take place at 9 o’clock Monday morning at the Sandman Signature Hotel. Minister Hehr (pictured right) will be joined for the announcement by officials from the City of Prince George as well as those from the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 43. A former president of the branch, John Scott, will be running the ceremony.
Scott’s reaction to the re-opening not unpredictable. “I’m ecstatic,” he says “I’ve been basically the fellow who led the charge here in Prince George to get it back. Myself and Bruce Gabriel, we worked long and hard on it and we were very lucky to get the mayor and council on board and they made a pitch for it and so ya, I’m ecstatic.”
Scott adds “it’s long overdue. I’m the service officer for the branch, so I look after the poppy and I look after the veterans so that’s what that is about. I’ve been overworked basically since they closed that office because nobody’s looking after those veterans who, you know, we would be able to point to Veteran’s Affairs and say there’s the office down the street. So we’d have to do the work for them.”
“It’s nice to be able to do that, because veterans would not go to Service Canada, they just didn’t want to.”
Scott says the time he and others put in was all voluntary. “Oh yes, everything we do at the Legion is volunteer. So I spent a lot of time doing that (for the veterans) and so did other service officers, other legion members.”
Scott says that on top of the 9 a.m. re-opening announcement on Monday there will be a noon ceremony at the cenotaph in front of City Hall.