One bureaucrat asks another: How do you make bad news go away?
The answer: Order a study.
Over the past few years, both the House of Commons defence and veterans committees have between them conducted 14 different studies on how to improve services, benefits and the lives of ex-soldiers, sailors and aircrew.
Collectively, the all-party MPs committees have made a jaw-dropping 190 recommendations for improvements to those systems and services at both National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada.
That total does not include reams of separate recommendations from the military ombudsman and the veterans ombudsman, who have built their own virtual cottage industry out of drafting reports.
The question preoccupying the veterans committee these days is: How can the federal government give soldiers a smoother transition from uniforms to civilian jobs?
Gary Walbourne, the Canadian Forces ombudsman, almost seemed to wonder aloud why he’d been called to testify before MPs on Tuesday — and why the committee is still asking that question.
“We do not need another study into transition,” he said. “We know what needs to be done. We just need to do it.”