Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by Spider on Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:49 pm

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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by Trooper on Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:07 pm

N.S. inquiry into murder-suicides has 'national implications,' advocate says

Brett Bundale

December 29, 2017


HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s inquiry into the shooting deaths of an Afghan war veteran and his family could have sweeping implications for ailing former soldiers, veterans’ advocates say.

Lionel Desmond — diagnosed with PTSD after two harrowing tours in Afghanistan in 2007 — shot his wife, daughter and mother before turning the gun on himself on Jan. 3, 2017.

The province’s long-awaited decision Thursday to launch a fatality inquiry — and Ottawa’s commitment to provide its “fullest support” to the probe — will put a spotlight on how injured soldiers are transitioned to civilian life across the country.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan said Friday the federal government will work with the province on the inquiry to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

“Very difficult circumstances led to this investigation and it is important we work together to ensure they do not re-occur,” he said in a statement. “We are committed to co-operate with the province.”

Veterans’ advocate Peter Stoffer said that while the inquiry will focus on Desmond, the findings and recommendations will influence “veterans right across the country.”

“This will have national implications for the government in the way they operate and for the provinces and territories,” the former Nova Scotia MP said Friday. “Hopefully the transition process exiting the military or RCMP will be much more enhanced.”

Family members say Desmond was a radically changed man when he was medically discharged, and returned home to Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., in 2015. They say his outgoing sense of humour had dimmed and, more importantly, he seemed withdrawn and in a defensive posture much of the time, as if he was still in combat mode.

Within hours of the killings, relatives came forward to complain the retired corporal did not get the help he needed to cope with civilian life.

Retired master warrant officer Barry Westholm called the Desmond family deaths “a national tragedy.”

“If Lionel had a place to call, a human being that could say, ‘OK Lionel come on back to the base and let’s sort you out,’ maybe this tragedy could have been prevented,” he said Friday. “It takes something like this to make them do something.”

Westholm served as a sergeant major for the Joint Personnel Support Unit — an eastern Ontario unit which provides support and programs for ill or injured soldiers — before resigning in protest.

He said the inquiry should examine how injured soldiers are prepared for civilian life and monitored once they’re released.

Though he’s cautiously optimistic the inquiry could spark changes for injured soldiers, Westholm said it’s already clear what’s needed.

“That’s what’s driving me bananas. They’ve got everything they need except for leadership,” he said. “All the answers are there, the reports are written, the people are there.”

“You’ve got the entire Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs, that’s tens of thousands of people and billions of dollars at your beck and call, and you can’t get a person transitioned out of the military correctly. There is no excuse except leadership.”

Dr. Matthew Bowes, the province’s chief medical examiner who recommended the fatality inquiry, said the apparent lack of co-operation between government agencies will likely be a key aspect of the terms of reference.

“I was very much struck by the fact that there were many government agencies that touched on Mr. Desmond’s life and I would take the view that the interconnection between all of those may well have been better,” he said Thursday. “It’s my hope that the public nature of the inquiry and its final report will drive change.”

Trev Bungay, a retired soldier who served in Afghanistan with Desmond, said one of the biggest issues is a lack of follow-up with injured soldiers once they leave the military.

“The mistake is once you leave those facilities there is no contact unless you make it,” he said. “What people don’t understand is if someone has an operational stress injury or PTSD, they have it for life.”

Bungay, co-founder of Trauma Healing Centers — a chain of facilities offering treatment for veterans, first responders and civilians suffering from PTSD, trauma and other issues — said injured veterans need to be put on a lifelong treatment plan with regular follow-ups.

“If you get off that plan then you’ll go downhill and struggle,” he said. “But if you stay on it and you stay well, then you have a chance at living a great life.”

http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/ottawa-to-work-with-n-s-on-desmond-inquiry-in-bid-to-prevent-similar-tragedies
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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by JAFO on Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:52 pm

Now is the time to show Canada that the GoC downloads veterans onto their provincial health plans.

VAC will now be obligated and legally bound to open their books on expenses, training, crisis management, family needs.

This is where we need a strong voice in the advocacy community in Nova Scotia to pick away at the VAC carcass called mental health care. An opportunity that we need to get this file moving in the correct direction....the veterans direction not the bureucrats and bonuses direction.
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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by Trooper on Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:45 pm

JAFO wrote:Now is the time to show Canada that the GoC downloads veterans onto their provincial health plans.

VAC will now be obligated and legally bound to open their books on expenses, training, crisis management, family needs.

This is where we need a strong voice in the advocacy community in Nova Scotia to pick away at the VAC carcass called mental health care.  An opportunity that we need to get this file moving in the correct direction....the veterans direction not the bureucrats and bonuses direction.

Agreed,

Well said!
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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by Dannypaj on Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:39 am

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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by Trooper on Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:29 am


Don't know what happen to your message Danny, one of us deleted it and it was probably me. (My mistake - sorry)

We can only hope that the appointed judge is thorough, fair, and honest.

One thing that comes to mind here is what was deliberated in the BC court of appeal with reference to the Equitas suit. This ruling in favor for the government, and the thorough reasons given by the three judges for the ruling I think has set a precedence in favor for the government of Canada in a whole range of features surrounding how the Canadian government responds to the Veterans file. The ruling clearly states that the government has no obligation to it's Veterans, therefore the government holds no responsibility from any action taken by any Veteran, also it implements the Veterans file in the way the government sees fit. The only real thing that is keeping us a float is the public image that the government wants to keep in balance. So in my own opinion I believe that this particular Equitas ruling is going to have far more implications against Canadian Disabled Veterans moving forward, then most think.

Just my opinion,

Any thoughts?




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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by Accer on Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:23 pm

Desmond inquiry to be long, complex but important, says professor

Province's chief medical examiner called fatality inquiry into deaths last week

By Carolyn Ray, CBC News Posted: Jan 03, 2018


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/lionel-desmond-inquiry-1.4470436
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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by bosn181 on Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:14 am

public image means a great deal and i think with the Equitas and this inquiry and the released numbers on vets taking
their lives and the long wait times with vac and broken promises. The gov may have won the court case but i think they lost a lot more in public image on how they treat vets and i see the public standing with vets demanding change.

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Re: Answers coming soon in Lionel Desmond killings, officials say

Post by Trooper on Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:34 am

Desmond inquiry lost valuable time

GAIL LETHBRIDGE
Published January 6, 2018




When a man walks into his house and murders his wife, mother and daughter, it usually results in a court case with questions asked, answers given and justice publicly meted out.

When that man takes his own life after committing the murders, there is no court case because the accused is dead, along with his victims.

There are no witnesses, no questions, no answers. Just deafening silence.

And this is why you do not sit around for one year after a tragedy of this nature before you start asking questions about what happened.

Unless you’re in Nova Scotia. It took the government one year to decide it’s time to start asking questions.

One year.

Why?

They finally called an inquiry into deaths of Lionel Desmond, his wife Shanna, 31, their 10-year old daughter Aaliyah and his mother Brenda, 52.

This week marked the first anniversary of the day Lionel walked into his home in Guysborough County and shot his family dead.

I cannot imagine the anguish the surviving family on all sides have endured in that year, the questions that must haunt them — the “whys,” the “what ifs?”

Not only are they dealing with the gruesome extinction of four members of their family — and mourning those losses through each birthday, anniversary and calendar occasion like Christmas — but they have also had to wait for answers to help them understand what was going on in Lionel’s mind to make him kill his family so brutally.

Chief medical examiner Matt Bowes did not recommend the inquiry until he had the results of an internal review conducted by the Nova Scotia health authority, which considered Desmond’s experience with the health-care system before the murder-suicide.

The family was made aware of its findings, but the results were not made public due to patient confidentiality restrictions.

This was not enough for the family and it wasn’t enough for Nova Scotians and all Canadians.

The Desmond murder-suicide is everyone’s business and the questions and answers need to be asked through a vehicle that is public.

Lionel Desmond was suffering from PTSD and post-concussion disorder after two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

We need to know more about what sort of treatment Desmond received after he came home.

Should he have been redeployed for a second tour?

Is the military providing the necessary support for veterans?

These are just a few questions that must be asked.

What happens to Canadians who are deployed to war zones, and how they cope and are treated upon their return, is a matter of public interest and policy.

This is why questions — timely questions — have to be asked in this case.

The surviving family of the Desmond murder-suicide and all Canadians need to understand the gaps in the Canadian Armed Forces’ response and in the provincial health-care system that resulted in the deaths of these four people.

This case also begs questions about family and gender-based violence. The vast majority of veterans who suffer from PTSD and other post-war mental health issues do not go home and shoot their family. What made Lionel Desmond decide to murder his family?

Domestic violence is a scourge that takes the lives of many Canadians — mostly women and children — every day. Men who are not war veterans suffering from PTSD kill and harm members of their families.

This should also be discussed in this inquiry.

The length of time it took to announce this inquiry diminishes the importance of these issues.

It has the appearance of a government — dogged by problems in the health-care system — dragging its feet on the hard questions it will be forced to confront in an inquiry.

But the inquiry is happening now.

Let’s hope that those questions and answers will help the family in the Desmond case understand more about their devastating loss and help governments, health authorities, and the military understand what they might have done to help Lionel Desmond.

They all need to make changes so this never happens again.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1534222-lethbridge-desmond-inquiry-lost-valuable-time
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