VIDEO: Stephen Harper taps Julian Fantino's biggest defender as new Veterans Minister

Think Julian Fantino getting bounced out of Veterans Affairs is a breath of fresh air? Maybe not.

On Monday, Stephen Harper quietly moved to put out a fire at Veterans Affairs, demoting the controversial Minister Julian Fantino and promoting Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Erin O'Toole as Fantino's replacement during a surprise swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall.

While the Prime Minister's Office highlighted O'Toole's "extensive record supporting our troops," the PMO didn't have much to say about O'Toole's record of supporting Julian Fantino over the past year as veterans called for Fantino's resignation. Watch:

But don't expect to see veterans offices reopened. In addition to blaming Fantino's controversies on veterans and journalists who "don't understand" what they're talking about, O'Toole recently suggested the problems at Veterans Affairs are merely an issue of the government needing to be better at communicating its message.

That's in keeping with a pattern set by other Conservative MPs in recent weeks.

Last week, Calgary Conservative MP Joan Crockatt drew fire from veterans when she said that veterans are being "treated wonderfully."

Similarly, Edmonton Conservative MP Laurie Hawn kept himself busy over the holidays, debating veterans in a series of letters to the Editor of the Lethbridge Herald, insisting that "the veterans story is a good one." Hawn blamed "the outcry over lapsed funds at Veterans Affairs"  on a "deliberate misinformation" campaign and "lazy media without independent fact-checking or research."

Photo: Prime Minister's OfficeFacebook.

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