As part of the federal budget announcement yesterday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government will be re-opening Veteran’s Affairs Offices in communities across the country, including right here in Prince George.

Bruce Gabriel is the former president of the Prince George Royal Canadian Legion who served for 21 years. He says the news is welcome.

“I just think it’s great for our veterans that they’re doing that. This is what they deserve. When they closed those offices they took billions of dollars out of Veterans Affairs that was earmarked to look after our veterans.”

The Conservatives closed VA offices in a bid to cut costs by taking services online.

Gabriel says having local, in-person support options for veterans is important. He characterizes the Conservative government’s decision to close VA offices as shameful.

“One of the big things is we have hundreds and hundreds of veterans up here. Our veterans gave so much for our country and we’ve got to look after these people. You have to know that when you need help, you get it.”

With the Prince George VA office closed, local vets were forced to travel to the Lower Mainland for in-person services or receive consultations online or via phone.

Gabriel says the Liberal government’s move is a step in the right direction.

“This is what the veterans deserve and I’m glad they’re coming through. It’s a wonderful, wonderful start.”

No word yet on when, exactly, the Prince George VA Office will reopen.