14 November 2012

Harold Leduc calls on AG to Investigate Privacy Violations

 NOTE: After sending out today's release calling for a public inquiry into VAC, I received a phone call from Harold Leduc, the veteran and former-member of the Veterans' Review and Appeal Board.  He wanted to thank me for my release and discuss the privacy violations.  I won't delve on what was done to this soldier - you can find that elsewhere - but consider the travesty.  He served Canada twice, once as a soldier, then again on VRAB.  He was injured both times.  The first wounds were part of being a soldier.  The second ones came when those he was working with used his service injuries to bully, harass, intimidate, and humiliate him in order to stop him from exercising his duties.

It is awful that someone's private medical records are passed around like notes in grade school.  It is horrific that anyone's medical conditions should be wielded as weapons against them.  It is obscene that adults would behave that way, like bullying teenagers.  It is offensive that any veteran should be made to suffer twice from the same injuries.

There is no word for what happened to this man.  Injuries sustained in defence of Canada were used to harm him by fellow Canadian civil servants.

Canadians are owed an explanation.

It is my honour to host this release from WO (ret'd) Harold O. Leduc MMM CD - JRM
13 November 2012

Victoria, BC - Growing up in the Canadian way is an aspect of life that I take very, very seriously. This very same way of living demonstrates kindness, caring, and compassion towards all, especially those who have been injured or killed while defending our beautiful Country. I served my country with dignity and respect. Taking care of my injured brothers and sisters by assisting them in their struggle to get some small amount of compensation was and will always remain an honor. It is therefore with sadness that I must say:

I’m disgusted that the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) shows no shame in covering up nefarious activities that target and seriously harm disabled veterans with illegally gained information from privacy breaches.

Therefore today I am asking the Attorney General of Canada to fully investigate all circumstances associated with these despicable attacks against our Country’s defenseless disabled veterans to determine if charges are warranted.

The Minister admitted stopping an ongoing investigation that would have implicated him and others. He knows that the Privacy Commissioner’s investigation would clear him because of their restricted mandate and because VAC had already cleaned up their act in May 2009 when my privacy breaches were investigated and apologized for. He’s shown that he can’t be trusted.

It’s no wonder my numerous pleas to the Prime Minister, Minister, the Privy Council Office and Veterans Ombudsman to stop the vile behaviour of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) officials that severely injured my military related PTSD fell on deaf ears. The Minister knew his official’s put my life was at risk and acted in contempt of the 2010 Canadian Human Rights Commission mediation but he let them increase their retaliation against me anyway.

The public record shows that these nefarious activities are wide spread and target more than a few disabled veterans who’s only crime is that they were disabled in our country’s service and are trying to improve their fellow veterans and families quality of life to the level this Government has promised.

It’s time to stop the Government’s abuse against defenseless disabled veterans and it’s time for the Attorney General to investigate the Minister’s covered up. Don’t let us down, Attorney General, we’ve suffered enough and veterans deserve nothing less that justice, truth, reconciliation and a Government that is honest and transparent.

It’s generally accepted that to abuse a disabled person is low; but to deliberately hurt defenseless disabled veterans who were injured standing up for democracy and their rights is the lowest of the low. I am certain the voting public will agree!

For more information or to schedule an interview please contact Harold Leduc via me and I'll connect you.

Veterans Affairs Needs Public Inquiry



St. John’s - Privacy breeches at Veterans Affairs have not been properly investigated, according to citizens’ group Our Duty, and it is calling for a full public inquiry.

This comes days after it was revealed that Minister Steven Blaney ordered a halt to an investigation by the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman shortly after Blaney took office.

“The federal government has been playing a shell-game with the truth,” said Our Duty President Jeff Rose-Martland, “It is time for an independent public inquiry.”

The issue first came to light 2 years ago with the Sean Bruyea affair. A veteran and advocate, Bruyea had his medical files pried into by the Minister’s office after he spoke out against the New Veterans Charter. But Bruyea was not the only person targeted. It also emerged that Sgt Tom Hoppe, a decorated veteran, and former Ombudsman Pat Stogran were also victimized by the Ministry. Deputy Minister Tinning was briefed on the medical records of Retired Forces Nurse Louise Bird prior to a meeting. Private medical information was used to bully Harold LeDuc of the Veterans’ Review and Appeal Board. The veteran behind the SISIP class-action suit against Veterans Affairs, Dennis Manuge, had his medical and financial records used in a Ministerial briefing. Sylvain Chartrand, advocate for reservists, had his records passed from VAC to National Defence.

“Enough is enough,” said Rose-Martland, “The Privacy Commissioner investigated, but could only report on non-compliance. The Ombudsman’s investigation was ordered by Minister Blackburn to look into why these breeches took place. Then came the election, Blackburn was replaced by Blaney, and suddenly the Privacy Commissioner is the one supposed to handle it. This is nothing more than a cover-up.”

Our Duty has been made aware of dozens of cases. “It appears to be standard procedure for VAC officials. As soon as a veteran speaks out, senior bureaucrats in the Ministry go digging into Service Delivery files,” said the citizen advocate, “That’s absolutely forbidden by the Privacy Act and by VAC policy. The Ministry and Service Delivery are supposed to be separate entities. If a veteran has a problem with Service Delivery, they have to appeal to the Deputy Minister to request a Ministerial review - the Minster is not permitted to act on his own. So why, exactly, can the Ministry pull those same files when a veteran criticizes them?”

“It gets worse,” Rose-Martland continued, “We have learned that family members of advocates have also been targeted. Why? Why would the Minister need to know what someone’s brother’s file says? He wouldn’t, not legitimately. The public needs to know what sort of games the Ministry is playing with peoples lives.”

Our Duty notes that Minister Blackburn had promised departmental officials would face severe sanctions for these acts, yet those officials received bonuses last year.

“We have inquiries stifled and cut off. We have threats and intimidation by Veterans Affairs. We have people who broke the law being rewarded. All on the taxpayer dime.”

“We want a full public inquiry into these matters,” said the Our Duty President, “The public needs to know exactly what has been happening in that Ministry: who is doing these things, who ordered it, and most importantly, why? What has this information been used for? And is this still going on?”

“This inquiry needs to have teeth. It needs to be able to investigate and to lay criminal charges. Most importantly, it needs to report back to the taxpayers, because we are the ones who will be paying damages.”


Jeff Rose-Martland