Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan MP Fraser Tolmie is calling on Minister of Veteran Affairs Lawrence MacAulay to apologize personally to a veteran that was allegedly offered medically-assisted suicide by a caseworker.
A standing committee of veteran affairs learned about the allegations this past week, which the Ministry of Veteran Affairs is investigating.
Tolmie told the standing committee that, since medically-assisted dying was legalized in Canada, Veteran Affairs has been unprepared to deal with a situation like this.
“Under the law made is a discussion to be had between a physician and a patient, and your department has no mandate to be part of that discussion,” Tolmie said.
“This law was passed back in 2016, which the department should have been made aware of and should have had policies in place.”
When asked if MacAulay would apologize personally for what happened, the minister replied that he agrees that an apology is appropriate, but cited privacy issues. The veteran in question has not gone public with his identity.
“I appreciate you saying that and I understand you saying that, but because of the privacy and the situation as it is, I can't at the moment, but I would just love to shake hands and say I'm sorry that this happened, whoever the individual is because it's totally inappropriate and we know that and you know that and Canadians know that,” MacAulay said in reply to Tolmie’s call to apologize.
Tolmie added that this situation is another reason why veterans “do not feel valued for their service.” He asked MacAulay how the minister knows there isn’t more than one case of assisted suicide being offered to veterans suffering from mental illness.
“As you are fully aware, because of this happening, we have to make sure that the frontline staff are fully abreast of what they can and cannot do,” MacAulay said.
An investigation and training for caseworkers by the Ministry of Veteran Affairs are ongoing.
You can watch Tolmie's line of questioning below: