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A Second World War veteran says the federal government should be ashamed of itself.
With around 150 federal public service jobs leaving Thunder Bay, including the Veterans Affairs office, Roy Lamore was one of about 60 people outside of the Lakehead Labour Centre for the Public Service Alliance of Canada national day of action Saturday.
“It’s a damn disgrace,” Lamore said.
Veterans used to have a person visit them when needed. Now they’re expected to navigate a toll-free menu until someone in Nova Scotia picks up the telephone. Older veterans who may have a hard time even speaking need a person face-to-face he said. It’s a terrible way to treat people who sacrificed life and limb.
“If it wasn’t veterans (government officials) wouldn’t have a job,” he said. “We’d be eating sauerkraut.”
And rally organizer Pietro Masdea said it’s not just veterans who will be losing access to service in the city. Citizenship and immigration, Revenue Canada and several other departments will all have to be dealt with over the phone or online.
“Waiting for hours and hours if not days to ask the simplest of questions,” he said.
The access won’t be the only thing lost. Small business will be taking a hit because federal employees who lose their job also lose their income.
“If I’m losing my jobs I’m not going to have a disposable income to be able to go in and purchase things. My economic future is going to be up in the air,” Masdea said.
The cuts are part of an estimated 19,000 federal positions throughout the county that will be lost. But Masdea said there are better ways to address a deficit than cutting services.
Sporting a “Harper Hates Me” button, Masdea said the federal government claims to be saving money by cutting jobs but then gives the contracts to the private sector for similar dollar amounts.
“We feel that we’re hated,” he said. “All we can do is stand up and show that we will not back down.”
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