Commodore Hans Jung, Canada’s military surgeon general, assures the public a new “operational trauma and stress support” is due to open in the coming months at CFB Petawawa. Key to his statement is due to open. Another government promise. Do we believe him?
Commodore Jung told the Toronto Star many of the services are already being provided to assist combat soldiers and their families in the base’s 32-member clinic, which presently offers counselling in psychiatry, psychology and social work, among its programs. According to Jung, the Pembroke Regional Hospital’s claim that its mental health treatment centre served as many as 400 soldiers from the base per year is highly inflated. He says the number is more like five per year.
Pierre Noel, the president and chief executive officer of the Pembroke facility, backs up Jung. “There is very comprehensive and robust mental health services to the military up on base Petawawa.”
Any soldier needing help will not be left in the lurch, Jung promises in his interview with the Star.
Do we believe him? It’s hard not to be cynical. Again I stress his words, “due to open.” It’s so easy to offset bad press with a promise.
Well, Commodore Jung, we promise you and Ottawa that we have our eye on seeing you deliver on this promise to the soldiers and their families at CFB Pettawawa. Nothing less is acceptable. And sooner would be better than later, particularly if elections occur before you make good on your projections announced Monday.