RCMP called to investigate several cases of veterans being offered medical assistance in dying

Four — possibly even five — Canadian military veterans have been offered the option of medical assistance in dying (MAID) by a now-suspended Veterans Affairs Canada social worker, the country’s veterans affairs minister said Thursday. before a committee of the House of Commons.

Lawrence MacAulay said the matter was now referred to the RCMP for investigation and an internal review of his department was underway.

“We expect all veterans candidate employees to interact with veterans with care, compassion and respect and this employee’s actions are nothing short of disgusting,” MacAulay told the veterans committee. “And I condemn this behavior in the strongest terms.”

He went on to say that there was “no way to justify” the actions and that he was not about to defend the employee.

Last summer, Global News first reported a case where a veteran claimed he was pressured by a Veterans Affairs social worker to consider medical assistance in dying.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay said the matter was now turned over to the RCMP for investigation. (Radio Canada)

This prompted MacAulay to order an internal investigation, which has now uncovered a total of four cases where veterans were allegedly offered MAID – all apparently by the same social worker.

Earlier Thursday, the National Post reported on a possible fifth case involving a still-serving member of the military who told the podcast Tango Romeo that he was also unexpectedly offered MAID by a social worker in November last year.

MacAulay told the all-party committee that the most recent revelation was not among the cases uncovered by his staff and he urged the veteran who spoke in the podcast to come forward and contact him directly – or the deputy. -minister.

“We remain confident that this is all related to one employee, and it’s not a widespread or systemic issue,” he said.

Tory MP – and Deputy Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee – Blake Richards asked if the minister and the Department of Veterans Affairs had a clear indication of the scale of the problem.

Cause for alarm, says Tory MP

The fact that the fifth case may have escaped the attention of the department’s review is alarming, he said.

“So in this case, either something was missed in this investigation or there is another employee involved,” Richards said. “Now it’s a matter of figuring out which of those two things it is. Either way, it’s concerning.”

Based on what he sees, Richard said he thinks “the Veterans Affairs department’s investigation isn’t thorough enough.”

He said it could mean “there is a need for an outside investigation”.

MacAulay told the committee what his department knows so far, saying the first case that came to light happened last summer, where the social worker repeatedly pushed the notion of MAID to a former anonymous fighter who had called asking for help with post-traumatic stress.

A second reported occasion occurred last May where the same social worker provided information about physician-assisted dying to a veteran.

Another incident reportedly occurred in December 2021, MacAulay said. It was about a veteran who contacted the department to ask about MAID. The committee had already heard testimony about this event at a previous hearing last month.

Minister apologizes

The fourth known case apparently occurred in 2019, when a veteran called VAC to specifically request information about assisted suicide.

MacAulay issued an apology.

“I’m sorry you had to endure these appalling interactions, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” the minister said.


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