Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Hello, everyone. I am pleased to be meeting you today.
Colonel Maurais, I too was very impressed by what you said. In today's secular society, we rarely talk about the spiritual aspect and the need for all individuals to believe or not believe. I liked what you said about also serving non-believers. I myself served in the army, where I met other young people who did not believe in anything in particular, but what we did all believe in was loving and serving our country, and I think that is fantastic. Thank you so much for what you are doing.
By the by, I just want to mention that the chaplain of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment is a great chaplain.
Ms. McIntyre, I sat on the committee in 2015 and 2016. Even back then, we were already studying all the obstacles that Canadian Armed Forces members face in transitioning to civilian life. Both the national defence ombudsman and the veterans ombudsman told us it was time to take action and stop carrying out studies on this issue.
Given all your years of experience in this field, Ms. McIntyre, why do you think we are still having trouble eliminating transition barriers? We can assume it is not merely, or necessarily, a question of public policy or money. If that is indeed the case, and it is not a question of public policy, money, or respect, what is it? What is still blocking the way today? Why can't we ensure a harmonious transition?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In your work, do you think that the current or former governments, whichever, and senior officials are communicating or have communicated with you as an expert, to seek your advice on how to improve the transition? Have you been asked to share your thoughts?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Ms. McIntyre, I have another question for you.
In the United States, unless I am mistaken, the burden of proof is reversed. If someone has a psychological or physical problem, it's up to the U.S. government to prove that it is not real.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Does it work the opposite way in Canada? Is it the soldier who has to prove to the state that he or she has a problem?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes. Is it up to the soldier to prove that he or she is injured or sick?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
It seems to me that I've read more than once that in the United States, the burden of proof is completely reversed. What are your thoughts on that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have 20 seconds left.
Colonel, the table at the end of your brief says that a distressed person believes life has no meaning or purpose. I do not quite agree with that. The philosophers Camus, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche said life has no meaning, yet they had a very positive world view. It's possible to believe that life has no meaning and still be happy. I just wanted to make that comment.
Many thanks to you all.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for giving me the floor.
I want to welcome Ms. Heber and Ms. Rolland-Harris and thank them for being here today.
My first question was provided by the person I'm replacing today, Cathy Wagantall, a very honourable woman.
Many veterans have repeatedly told us that a number of their brothers in arms committed suicide after taking mefloquine, an antimalarial drug. One of the veterans who wrote to my colleague, Ms. Wagantall, told us that he personally knew 11 veterans who committed suicide and that all 11 of them had taken mefloquine.
In the 21 years covered and of the 239 suicides recorded, how many of the brave men and women had been in malaria zones?
Do you have this information?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In other words, you don't know how many of the 239 people took this drug.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay. I understand.
Ms. Heber, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, could we obtain an answer by making an access to information request or by simply asking the minister?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Of the 239 veterans who completed suicide, as the words have to be said, how many of them would have taken the medication mefloquine? Can we find this type of information through ATIP or through a question during question period?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Perfect. Thank you for that insight into National Defence.
A year ago, when I was on this committee as the Veterans Affairs critic, on May 9, 2016, I filed an Order Paper question. For the region of Quebec City, I asked what percentage of persons had financial prestations for each physical and mental illness—for example, knees, hearing, and so on.
Interestingly, for one year, 2015-16, in the Quebec region, 8% of the claims for money concerned post-traumatic syndromes, 2% deep depression, 1% anxiety, 1% lack of sleep, and 1% alcohol and drug abuse. Overall, almost 13% of the claims for money were put forward by people suffering from mental health issues that we could probably sometimes connect to suicide.
Of the 15 members, or sorry, I think it's 14, who committed suicide in 2015, how many of them were in the process of claiming?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
We're talking about financial benefits here.
I forgot the word in English, but how many of those 14 veterans were on prestations financières or asking for one, or filling out some papers?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
“Financial benefits”, that's the word. So those 14 persons were serving.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
So the question still stands: of those 14 soldiers who were serving, how many of them, by any chance, filed claims for any financial benefits?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Do you have a system to flag people who are potentially going to commit suicide? I know it's very difficult, but is there any system such as that, perhaps?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's a great honour to be here today.
Good afternoon, everyone.
Brigadier-General, my first question is for you. I imagine that the Canadian Forces Health Services group includes psychologists and psychiatrists. Is that the case?
Yes, great.
The officers under your command who are psychologists and psychiatrists provide diagnoses, meet soldiers and produce reports, which are confidential, of course. As commander, do you receive statistical reports? For instance, a report said that 31% of members who came last year had post-traumatic stress disorder or that 15% of members were depressed. Do you receive statistical reports from the medical staff under your command?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
On page 2, for example, you talk about the neuropsychiatric effects of mefloquine, and you say that those are rare. What numbers does the word “rare” correspond to? Would it be possible for us to know the statistics?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
So that's where the word “rare” comes from, one out of 11,000.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
Last week I wasn't here, but I know that there were veterans who came here to talk about the mefloquine effects on their own lives. I also know that one of them said, at least to me, that he basically made a connection between the use of mefloquine and the criminal behaviour that was perpetrated by some of our military in Somalia.
Have your officers heard these kinds of connection stories often? Is this something that goes around in the circle of your commanding group?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Brigadier General.
Mr. Stewart, Madame Raymond, do you have any information that mefloquine has been related to any acts of physical violence?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Vice-Chair.
Mr. Walbourne and Ms. Hynes, it's very good to see you here.
I would like to start with the joint personnel support unit. This is directly in your branch, as the ombudsman of DND.
Am I wrong or right that there are two end results possible with JPSU? You either rehabilitate through the services or you get out of the army. My understanding is that we keep it as an unknown end, for the most part. It's not clear from the beginning. But should there be a diagnosis right at the beginning that this member will most probably never come back and thus we should engage right away in filling in the forms and getting ready for the release? That way, as soon as the two years end, the benefits would start coming in and the services would start right away.
I might be wrong, but it seems to me like there's an unknown waiting time.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay. Did you ever hear any comments on the VAC and the DND staff? Do they work closely together? How is the relationship? Do you have anything to say about that in the JPSU?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Do you think the JPSU should not be on the base? As Madam Lockhart said, it was a problem for many in the military to go to the base.
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