William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

A FULL PUBLIC INQUIRY NEEDED

Veterans’ rights are systemically broken, down at the head shed.
Where they say our VSI wounded would be better off dead?
Using Classified Information to put a veteran’s validity in doubt,
Makes people like Billy Willbond want to stand up and shout.

The Scandal it widens, now other victims come to light.
Tom Hoppe and Louise Richard speak out for vet’s rights.
They used Colonel Stogran’s file to show he has PTSD?
No he won’t be rehired, for speaking out or you and me.

They sent it to plenty of people, showing over 400 hits.
Investigate these people, to see, who the shoe fits?
Miss-using a Canadian’s Medical Information is against the law.
Colonel Michel Drapeau says that it’s an unlawful faux pas?

Is Jennifer Stoddard the real lady for the investigation probe?
Or are these just stall tactics to put obstacles in the road?
The PM tightly holds the purse strings and he is always in control.
As our Privacy Commissioner spins her tyres – avoiding potholes?

We need the in-depth investigation now before more wounded come home.
Because they will still be insurance lump summed as I reported in a poem.
Let Colonel P@ do a realistic, honest evaluation of the New Veterans Charter.
He’ll make an in-depth amendment because there is no room to barter.

God bless our wounded – let us hope they receive proper medical pensions.
Bureaucrats hope we’ll grow weary; soon we will all cease these dissentions.
Thank you Mr. Harper and Mr. Lunn, my MP, for opening an honest probe.
That will allow these wronged veterans, to at last, be set free.

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More Veterans Sound Alarm Over Serious Privacy Breaches

Murray Brewster
Ottawa— The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, Oct. 05, 2010 5:34PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 05, 2010 5:46PM EDT

More veterans are coming forward with claims their private medical information was distributed or widely accessed by federal bureaucrats in what some say were attempts to smear reputations.

At least three new cases came to light Tuesday, widening a privacy scandal triggered by veterans’ activist Sean Bruyea who acquired hundreds of pages of government documents that improperly divulge his confidential medical and psychiatric files.

Long-time veterans critic Louise Richard, who suffers post-traumatic stress, cites an internal memo she obtained that shows the current deputy minister of veterans affairs was extensively briefed early last year about her private medical information.

The briefing was held prior to a meeting Ms. Richard had with deputy minister Suzanne Tining, at which the two were to discuss Gulf War Syndrome, a chronic condition the federal government does not recognize as pensionable.

The former military nurse says her medical information and complaints about how Veterans Affairs handled her file had nothing to do the subject of their discussion.

“These people that wrote the brief for deputy minister, they have no medical knowledge,” Ms. Richard said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“Where does this sense of entitlement come from within [Veterans Affairs]? They seem to be able to do what they please with our medical records and share what they want, with who they want and all of this with bureaucrats who have no medical knowledge or expertise.”

The memo was dated Jan. 14, 2009.

It was not immediately clear how widely Ms. Richard’s information was shared. She is still poring over 3,662 pages of information released following a Privacy Act request she made.

Several boxes of documents arrived in spring 2009, but Ms. Richard said she was afraid to open them because she was overwhelmed by the thought the department had written so much about her.

The packages remained sealed until Mr. Bruyea came forward two weeks ago with evidence that his private information had been widely circulated within the department.

Personal medical data, including a quote from Mr. Bruyea’s psychiatrist, found their way into a briefing for Greg Thompson, the former Conservative minister of veterans affairs.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, who’s investigating Ms. Bruyea’s allegation, last week announced she would conduct an audit of Veterans Affairs because of potential systemic problems handling sensitive information.

Veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran says a printout of his veterans file shows it been accessed more than 400 times – and wonders whether his post-traumatic stress evaluation has been used to discredit him.

Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn says he’s aware of other veterans who are concerned their privacy has been violated.

The minister urged them to contact Ms. Stoddart’s office immediately, and acknowledged for the first time his department has a problem handling sensitive information.

“There are policies and processes in place to ensure veterans’ information that is contained in our files and systems is protected from unauthorized use and disclosure,” Mr. Blackburn said in a statement Tuesday.

“These processes appear not to be sufficient.”

Mr. Blackburn said he’s considering imposing stiffer penalties on staff who break privacy rules, up to and including dismissal. Currently staff can be suspended for a week.

Retired colonel Michel Drapeau, an expert in privacy law, said he’s been contacted by two other veterans who claim their private information has been misused.

One of the cases involves sensitive medical information allegedly leaked to an outside employer by a Veterans Affairs staffer – an allegation that is also the subject an internal investigation.

Drapeau declined to reveal the names of his clients or discuss any other circumstances.

“The last thing they want to do is … speaking to the media or making it public. Most of them are shocked and go to ground.”

“It’s wrong,” Mr. Drapeau said. “It’s more shock and more devastating because a private citizen doesn’t really have the tools to fight back, whereas advocates, like Sean, know what to do.”

Ms. Richard said somebody has to answer for what’s happened.

“As a registered nurse, I’m very aware of the confidentiality and protection of medical documents and I’m held legally accountable for any breach or misuse or interpretation of medical information,” she said.

“But yet you look at Veterans Affairs – it’s totally beyond me. It’s unacceptable that no one is assuming responsibility.”

Ms. Richard and Mr. Bruyea were fixtures on the federal scene five years ago, before the appointment of a veterans ombudsman.

They advocated passionately for injured soldiers to receive better consideration and benefits from the federal government, and fought their own personal battles with the bureaucracy.

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