Tardy Julian Fantino apologizes to angry vets

Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino speaks during Question Period on Parliament Hill in...

Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino speaks during Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 29, 2014. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

Jessica Hume, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 4:51 PM ET

OTTAWA - Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino apologized for showing up late for a meeting with veterans, who trekked to Parliament Hill from across the country Tuesday to express disappointment with the closures of eight veterans' services offices.

Fantino ducked reporters Wednesday after a raucous meeting with seven veterans the night before where Fantino arrived more than an hour late to hear the veterans' "final plea" for the minister to reverse the decision and keep the offices open.

The decision won't be reversed, but after much pressure Fantino issued a statement Wednesday apologizing for being late.

"Due to a cabinet meeting than ran long, I was very late in meeting a group of veterans that had come to Ottawa to discuss their concerns," Fantino said. "I sincerely apologize for how this was handled. Today I am reaching out to those veterans to reiterate that apology personally."


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