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Results: 1 - 15 of 167
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
Mr. Chair, 80% of offenders in our federal prisons have addictions. We know that mental illness is a significant and growing problem in our prisons. The Conservative government has said that there are people in prisons who shouldn't be there because they actually have health issues. Yet this budget doesn't say a word about increasing funding for mental health treatment or addictions treatment.
Given that these are some of the prime causes of crime, and dealing with these issues is an absolutely identified way to reduce recidivism and make our communities safer, can you please explain why?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Dr. Westwood, thank you very much for appearing today, and thank you for the work that you're doing.
My first question for you, sir, is this. You said that 20 years ago the federal government assisted you financially in a project you had done with war veterans--of World War II, I suspect. Have you or your organization in the last five or 10 years made a formal application for funding to the federal government--to the military, to Health Canada, or to Veterans Affairs--to assist you in your project? If you have, what was the response? If you haven't, why not?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Well, Dr. Westwood, I would just make a slight recommendation to you that you consider making an application to DVA just to see what their response would be in 2011. I can't answer for the government or the minister, but hopefully you might get a different response. one that would assist you in what you do.
Here in our papers it says that since 1997 approximately 200 soldiers and veterans have come looking to you for assistance. Yet we know there are thousands more out there who need help, there's no question about it, and for a variety of reasons they're not getting that help. So my other question for you is this: do you assist any RCMP veterans at all?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Do you assist anyone else, such as municipal police, firefighters, or anyone of that nature at all outside of the federal responsibility of veterans and RCMP?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
In your discussions with the soldiers, veterans, and RCMP members, do you invite or do you ask to invite certain family members to come in with the individual at the time?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Sir, my last question for you is on the comparison between regular force individuals who you assist and those who are reservists. I was wondering if you could break that down for us. In your work that you've been doing for the last 14 years in this regard, is it difficult for reservists to come forward or is it difficult to try to find them in order for them to seek out the assistance they may require?
Because along with that, here's what my question is leading to. Obviously when these soldiers are integrated into civilian society, they're working in other jobs and they feel like productive citizens. Do you work at all with any prospective employers out there who hire these soldiers and veterans to let them know certain things to watch out for in the event that their symptoms resurface in their new place of employment, in order to assist the new employer in what they may or may not encounter in the future?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Sir, thank you very much for coming today.
Do you also have allocations of research for members of the RCMP who have retired?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
In previous testimony, we heard that post-traumatic stress disorder can be transferred inadvertently to members of the family, either the spouse or the children. In the research allocations that are offered, do any of these researchers work with family members to perform some of the scopes and scannings of family members? Are you aware of that?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
One of the concerns I hear consistently in regard to post-traumatic stress disorder, or operational stress injury, has to do with the efforts of those suffering from PTSD to get assistance. Someone will go to a department for assistance, either a federal or provincial department, and they'll get the bureaucratic delay. They're told to get in line and that someone will get back to them.
This aggravates their condition, from what they tell me. When their spouses or their kids go off the rails because this person has dropped the baggage, it affects them all. When you left for your deployment, your family was quiet and routine, and everyone had a place. You come back and suddenly everything is helter-skelter.
You don't know what you're doing. Your family members don't recognize you anymore. We hear the saying, “This is not my husband anymore—he's not the same man who left”. Everything's in a topsy-turvy sort of turmoil. That compounds the situation even more. For people trying to assist the individual, it must be a real challenge to try to put everything in balance and in place again.
Dr. Westwood indicated that for the last five years he hasn't applied to DVA for funding. Are you aware of him? Would he be eligible to apply to CIHR for some type of funding?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
We know that other countries are doing research similar to this. Are there any cross-references between researchers here and researchers in the United States, Europe, and Australia? If so, it could constitute a cost saving.
Moreover, you don't want to keep spending money reinventing the wheel. And you want to develop best practices. We've heard that a soldier is a soldier is a soldier. Regardless of the uniform, their experiences may be equal. Is there any linkage from your organization to assist researchers in coordinating these efforts?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
I have a quick question, sir.
With regard to the cultural differences between the forties and fifties and now, you obviously see a lot more violence on television, in various games, and in the exposure people have to it. Is there any research you know of that is linking cultural differences between, say, what World War II and Korean veterans went through compared to what our modern-day veterans are going through in terms of just the atmosphere around us? The situations are completely different. It was more black and white. You saw the blue enemy over there, you were the red enemy, and you just fought. Now you don't know who the enemy is. It's quite different.
As Roméo Dallaire and others have testified before, it is a really difficult circumstance to ascertain what to do in a particular situation even though you've been given all the training. And the aspect of our cultural differences of what you witness.... The gentleman who wrote that book FOB DOC about his experiences as a medical officer at the front line--I believe he was from the Sudbury area--said that for relief the guys in the forward bases would play these very violent games on their Play Stations or whatever it is they have out there.
So here they are, patrolling in real life, shooting at people, and then, for relaxation, they shoot in simulation. Would you know of any research that shows a connection in that regard?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
I'm just throwing that out there, because I can't help but think.... I find it rather amusing in some ways--I don't know if that's the right word--that a guy who in the daytime goes out with a live C7 rifle, hunts down people, and maybe takes a shot at them, for relief goes back to his game station and does it in simulation. I just wonder if there's a connection in any way to what happens when they get out of the service.
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I also want to express my condolences to the victims for the suffering they've experienced.
I'm going to take a risk and say something that I think is on everybody's mind here. The prospect of seeing Earl Jones and Mr. Lacroix walk out of jail after serving one-sixth of their time--after two years of a 13-year sentence--is jarring to Canadians. But also at issue here is the wisdom or not of making a policy that applies to 1,000 people a year to target two people. So I'm going to direct my questions to that.
This committee did a mammoth study on the prevalence of mental illness and addictions in the federal prison system. We found that 80% of the people in federal institutions suffer from addictions or alcoholism, and a very high percentage--I don't even think we can settle on a number--suffer from mental illness. I know that getting access to timely and effective treatment for addictions or mental illness is woeful in our federal institutions right now.
Transferring those people who are eligible--first-time, non-violent offenders--into halfway houses in the community, where they have access to far broader community services like addictions treatment, mental health resources, reintegration, connections with their families, and work, is helpful to their reintegration and rehabilitation.
Does anybody disagree with me on that?
I also want to ask about cost. It's my understanding that it costs about $140,000 a year to keep a male prisoner in a federal institution. We heard Ms. Pate say it costs $185,000 for a female--
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Folks, thank you for coming out today.
Again, how many members are on the Veterans Review and Appeal Board?
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
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