Four — maybe even 5 — Canadians navy veterans got the choice of medically-assisted death (MAID) by a now-suspended Veterans Affairs Canada caseworker, the nation’s veterans minister advised a House of Commons committee late Thursday.
Lawrence MacAulay stated the matter is now being turned over to the RCMP for investigation and his division’s inner evaluate is ongoing.
“We count on all Veterans Affairs candidate staff to work together with veterans with care, compassion and respect and the actions of this one worker is solely disgusting,” MacAulay advised the veterans affairs committee. “And I condemn this behaviour within the strongest phrases.”
He went on to say there was “no manner to justify” the actions and he wasn’t about to defend the worker.
Last summer time, Global News first reported a case the place a veteran claimed to have been pressured by a veterans affairs case employee to think about medically assisted dying.
That prompted MacAulay to order an inner investigation, which has now uncovered a complete of 4 cases the place veterans had been allegedly offered MAID — all apparently by the identical caseworker.
Earlier Thursday, the National Post reported on a doable fifth case involving a still-serving member of the navy who advised the podcast Tango Romeo that he was additionally unexpectedly offered MAID by a caseworker in November of final yr.
MacAulay advised the all-party committee that the newest revelation was not among the many cases his workers has uncovered and he urged the veteran who spoke within the podcast to come ahead and get in touch with him — or the deputy minister — straight.
“We stay assured that that is all associated to one single worker, and it is not a widespread or a systemic difficulty,” he stated.
Conservative MP — and veterans committee vice-chair — Blake Richards questioned whether or not the minister and the veterans division had a transparent indication on the scope of the issue.
Cause for alarm, says Tory MP
The truth the fifth case might have escaped the eye of the division evaluate is trigger for alarm, he stated
“So in that case, both one thing was missed on this investigation, or there may be one other worker concerned,” Richards stated. “Now, it is a matter of figuring out which of these two issues it’s. In both case, that is regarding.”
Based upon what he sees, Richard stated he believes the veterans division “investigation isn’t practically thorough sufficient.”
He stated that may imply “there is a want for an outdoor investigation.”
MacAulay walked the committee by what his division knew, up to now, saying the primary case that got here to mild occurred final summer time the place the caseworker repeatedly pushed the notion of MAID to an unnamed veteran who had called looking for assist with post-traumatic stress.
A second event reported occurred final May the place the identical caseworker offered assisted dying data to a veteran.
Another incident is alleged to have occurred in December 2021, stated MacAulay. It concerned a veteran who contacted the division to ask questions on MAID. The committee had already heard testimony about that occasion throughout a earlier listening to final month.
The fourth recognized case apparently occurred in 2019, the place a veteran called VAC particularly asking for details about help in taking his personal life.
MacAulay offered an apology.
“I’m sorry you had to endure these appalling interactions, and we’re doing every thing we are able to to guarantee this by no means occurs once more,” the minister stated.