The recent spate of suicides by serving and retired Canadian Armed Forces members is indescribably tragic. If we truly wish to live up to our claims as a civilized and compassionate nation, then we have the highest moral obligation to ask tough questions and risk being profoundly changed by the answers.
First, we must remember and honour the most recent four victims of apparent suicide: Master Bombardier Travis Halmrast, Corporal William Elliot, Master Warrant Officer Michael McNeil and Corporal Sylvain Lelièvre. They are casualties of combat and military service. We can only imagine but we must understand the degree of darkness they endured to make such a difficult decision. The official government understanding is less than helpful.
The DND hierarchy after each suicide marches out the platitudes and rhetoric. DND claims Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel have a lower suicide rate than the civilian population or that of the U.S. military. Such cold comfort allows the largest of Canada’s federal departments to sit on its hands, avoiding the deep critical thinking needed to make important changes. In fact, such statistical claims have often been massaged to show a seemingly benign picture of death. For five-year periods, the CF average has been steady at about 19 suicides per 100,000 soldiers, same or slightly more than the civilian population rate of 18 per 100,000 for males (the military is still overwhelmingly male) and approximately 20 per 100,000 for the American military.… Read the rest
Posted by Sean Bruyea on December 12, 2013
Where have accountability and responsibility gone to? Is there anyone out there who really cares what has happened? The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act through the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (OPSIC) is supposed to aid whistleblowers and lessen bureaucratic corruption. Under Mario Dion, it was expected to provide a new age of “accountability.”
The expectation was even higher after the fiasco of the first commissioner, Christiane Ouimet, who launched only seven investigations and did not issue any findings of wrongdoing while in office. So seven years later, where are we? Not far from where we started, it seems. Accountability continues to suffer, whistleblowers continue to be crushed and, from our perspective, the senior bureaucracy has little to fear from their former colleague, Dion.
It appears that he limits his involvement only to cases on which the burden of proof by the whistleblower has been met. Meanwhile, he has avoided many cases that Canadians for Accountability believes had merit.
The fact is, it’s easy for him to do so and we recently came across another means by which his office can avoid being involved in political situations or having to criticize his former colleagues— the senior bureaucrats of the federal bureaucracy.… Read the rest
Posted by Allan Cutler on December 9, 2013
Recently, Canadians have been spectators to the Greatest Show on Earth. I am not talking about the circus. I am referring to the Senate. Thinking about it, maybe it is a circus. We have witnessed former Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau tell their side of the story. They have attacked the Conservative government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Senator Marjory LeBreton, amongst others. We have heard others give their input and differing versions.
Parliamentary immunity protects Members of Parliament from prosecution for slander and libel. While within the confines of the Senate or House of Commons, they are ‘safe’ and may say anything that they want. In theory, this immunity protects MPs and allows them to vote freely and expose the truth without fear of lawsuits. As a result, they can freely lie, mislead, destroy reputations, and impugn the integrity of any Canadian without fear of reprisals.
The major contrast between the Senate and the House of Commons has been the tone of the debate. The Senate, at least, has tried to maintain a degree of decorum. Is this an example of the wisdom of ages or just lack of experience in attacking the personal reputations of others?… Read the rest
Posted by Allan Cutler on December 1, 2013