*I am hoping that by making people aware of this tragedy, action can be taken to prevent it from happening again. Please feel free to share. It has been my experience that for government to take action, they must be made aware of the importance of the issue.
(Cc’d. Micheal MacDonald, Canadian Press)
Open Letter to the Government of Canada
7 June 2017
To the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, The Honourable Harriit Singh Sajjan and The Honourable Kent Hehr,
I am writing to you today to raise an issue very close to my heart; the care of our injured soldiers, veterans and their families.
I recently read that the government is choosing not to investigate into the triple murder and suicide of a Canada Veteran suffering from PTSD. I’m hoping that this is somehow a mistake as a government that says it cares about the wellbeing of all soldiers, veterans and their families, would surely want to know how this could have happened. How could Cpl Lionel Desmond receive treatment, be released from the military and yet be in such a mental state that he would murder his own mother, his wife and their beautiful ten year old daughter. Regardless of the status of their relationship or their personal issues, he must have believed that they only solution at that moment was to murder them and then himself.
With the amount of money and resources that is spent on the very programs and services that are supposed help support injured vets and their families should we simply accept these kinds of tragedies as unavoidable consequences of war? That there will always be a few Veterans that are beyond help? Are their lives so dispensable that it is not worth our time or energy to find out it anything could have been done differently to prevent this tragedy. And are the lives of current veterans and their families, not valuable enough that the government would want to learn from this incident and possibly make changes to prevent others in the future?
When I have listened to each of you speak on this topic, it is certainly not the message I heard. I heard you say you care, that you want every soldier to get the help they need, that military families are an integral part of the overall functioning of a effective military and that you are all working diligently to improve the systems currently in place. So I am confused by this inaction.
As a wife of a Veteran with PTSD, a friend to many spouses of Veterans with PTSD and other OSIs, and as a previous counsellor who has supported families and vets, I can tell you this is the message we get when we discover that there is no further investigation into this tragic, unthinkable act of violence.
I implore you to reconsider this decision. Please show us that this is not acceptable, that the lives of the Desmond family mattered and although we can’t undo what has happened, we can take steps to learn from it and hopefully prevent any other soldier who may be suffering like Cpl Desmond was, to not fall through the cracks of the system.
Spouse of RET Sgt. DJ Matthews SC CD