Somebody should listen to Pierre Daigle on military suicides

The military ombudsman on mental-health support

by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Pierre Daigle could be on the nation’s front pages, were it not for the lingering, stubborn Wright-Duffy affair that’s remained Issue #1 in the nation’s capital for much of 2013. Why might Daigle find himself in the spotlight? He’s Canada’s military ombudsman, and four soldiers have apparently died of suicide in the last week—the kind of news that leaves people feeling raw, and asking why. Daigle’s the guy who looks at the military with a critical eye. At times like these, people ask him for answers.

As it happens, Daigle is asking hard questions about the number of mental-health workers employed by Canada’s military—the kinds of professional help that troubled soldiers can access, quickly, should they feel the need. The ombudsman told the Toronto Star that, in fact, the feds did find the money for 78 such mental-health experts, and even screened them for duty. But, an anonymous source tells the Star, thanks to rules that limit the number of workers in the appropriate division, the workers can’t get to work.

Yesterday, in the Commons, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked about the suicides during his opening round of questions. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau led with similar queries of his own. The government responded with some compassion, offered assurances that it was giving necessary support to those affected, and urged troubled soldiers to seek help.

But then, as has become standard operating procedure, the opposition returned to the Wright-Duffy affair. The suicides sparked further questions toward the end of Question Period—incrementally more hostile than Mulcair’s opening round—and Defence Minister Rob Nicholson stayed on message throughout.

As Daigle’s alarm bells ring, and 78 people who know how to help troubled soldiers sit on the sidelines, a casual observer might wonder what it takes to knock off the finer details of the increasingly complex Wright-Duffy affair as parliamentarians’ top priority each afternoon. Tempting as it is to keep the pressure on the Prime Minister’s role in a payoff of a senator’s expenses, there’s undoubtedly a certain unique urgency to Daigle’s concerns.

 

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Somebody should listen to Pierre Daigle on military suicides

  1. What is this latest fashion of the media tsk-tsking over it’s own refusal to cover the news?

    • It’s better than the fashion of putting up a series of tweets and pretending it’s a story. But it is weird.

      • LOL That it is. It’s like they can only handle one story at a time….and you see that in a dozen or more journos converging on one headline…like we need all those different versions of the SAME story.

        Don’t they ‘assign’ stories anymore?

        Meantime we get ‘here’s what we coulda covered, and here’s what we shoulda covered….but we didn’t….and so it’s sad’

        Quoi?

        • We don’t even get different versions of same story – we often get the same story written slightly differently. National Newswatch illustrates on daily basis that msm basically write the same article for many outlets. Blogs, a cheap efficient way to get news and opinion out there, have largely been ignored but our msm do seem to love twitter where they can make 100 character snarky comments and pretend they are working.

          Canadian journos = left wing and listless.

          • True….same stuff through a different keyboard. I’ve given up on National Newswatch because of that. Most of it’s the same.

            Not leftwing though….or rightwing. Mostly just uninformative.

            As to the ‘opinion’…..no better than what you’d get in a bar.

          • I hate agreeing with you, but yes, National Newswatch has become a joke. It’s just another extension of the countries lazy and stupid MSM. Just like this “column”.

  2. “But, an anonymous source tells the Star, thanks to rules that limit the number of workers in the appropriate division, the workers can’t get to work.”

    How can journos write that and not wonder wtf is going on with our bureaucracy. Msm are great for lurid stories about what a nasty man PM Harper is but there is no discussion about the performance of bureaucracy.

    Has msm stopped writing about public policy because they are union members and they don’t want to bother their comrades in the union movement? Why has Canadian msm stopped scrutinizing bureaucracy? Unifor’s Jerry Dias is not the 3rd most powerful Canadian, Dias only seems that way to Canada’s msm because he is their boss. I wonder what kind of crazy emals unifor sends to our journos.

  3. Really Nick, Emily is bang on this time.

    Do some research. Write the story.

    • From what I’ve seen on this site, Nick puts in a full day.
      There is a lot of “news” that doesn’t get the prominence
      that some of us think it should. But it’s out there if we look.

      • But first you have to know about it….then you have to hunt for it…and you need 30 different subscriptions to do all that….then you often get bumpf.

        Plus Brit newspapers for example monitor their healthcare system [which sucks] their education system, their welfare system and so on. US papers often do the same……but presumably we have no problems at all beyond polls….even though we’re very like the US and the UK.

        People are very quiet here….mostly because they don’t know what’s going on. So nothing ever gets fixed or improved or removed.

        Democracy depends on an informed electorate and all that.

        • The majority are quiet because they know Canada is not a democracy and never has been, the political system is totally corrupt and if you make to much noise thugs with guns will bust your head or kill you.

          • Oh be serious.

          • You obviously have never studied Canadian history. You know the part where the British empire invaded and parceled out the entire north to corporations. How about the parts where they mass murdered anybody who refused to be a good slave.

            More recently the RCMP and local uniformed thugs have beaten or gassed peaceful protesters. The tasering or shooting to death of people is very common.

            As for corruption have you been following the senate scandal and cover up? Did you know that buried within the federal elections act is a clause which states; Nothing said, published or signed during an election campaign has standing in law. Elections are frauds in Canada and there fore the entire system is a fraud.

          • LOL riiiiight.

    • That sounds like real work. Might distract from making snide remarks on Twitter during QP, which as we all know is how REAL journalism is done.

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