NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW
By Eric Rebiere (Former Cst. RCMP 37515 LSGC)
Has their been a criminal conspiracy to illegally access personal/medical information of disabled Military and RCMP veteran(s) in the care of Veterans Affairs Canada contrary to the provisions of the Privacy Act?
I allege that there has, and the “Reasonable and Probable Grounds” pointing to this alleged conspiracy on the part of the Veterans Affairs Canada is as follows:
Many veterans followed the Sean Bruyea case where his personal/medical information was taken from his Veterans Affairs Medical file by government officials working at Veterans affairs, persons in authority in fact, who tried to use his private medical information in an attempt to discredit him.
Sean Bruyea, with the tenacity of a pit bull, fought the hard fight and prevailed when the Canadian Government offered a settlement acceptable to Sean in 2010, which also resulted in an apology by Veterans Affairs Canada. Justice for Sean Bruyea was only a half measure for those responsible for illegally accessing his VAC personal/medical file.
What about the perpetrators of the injustice done to the disabled Veteran Sean Bruyea, whose only crime was serving his country, coming home injured and using his talents to speak out against the New Veterans Charter? This part of justice fell of course on the right wing Conservative Government’s deaf ears.
The following links refer to a news article about how far up the Conservative food chain Sean Bruyea’s medical information was sent.
It was nevertheless satisfying to see a disabled veteran prevail against the hard-line Conservative Government. The one question that remains: what about those responsible for illegal intrusion into Sean Bruyea’s personal/medical information contrary to the provisions stated in the Privacy Act?
At the time I thought it had to be an isolated incident, but how could those in positions of authority within the Conservative Government treat a disabled Gulf War Veteran this way? I then remembered the ordeal the late disabled Gulf War veteran, Ottawa City Police Service Officer Brian Dyke, went through.
While Sean Bruyea’s civil court case was in the making, the then self-proclaimed, not so old “Champion of Veterans,” Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson resigned in January 16, 2011 – a month-and-a-half before Sean Bruyea filed a law suit with the Federal Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa.
The basic reason Greg Thompson gave to the press for leaving his job was that he loved it but just couldn’t take it anymore but would be open to other opportunities within the Conservative Government when he was a few years older.
But, in the ATIP documents Sean Bruyea acquired, it became evident that not only was the same Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson privy to Sean Bruyea’s illegally accessed medical information, so also was the Office of the Prime Minister. Did he leave the sinking ship to avoid the gathering storm?* (Reference to News story)
Sean’s story ended up on the CBC’s Power and Politics hosted by Even Solomon.
Then, in late 2011, I saw two more disabled Veteran Advocates, whom I happen to know – Dennis Manuge and Sylvain Chartrand – appear on CBC’s Power and Politics. They alleged illegal breaches into their private/medical information held by Veterans Affairs Canada. First Sean Bruyea and now Dennis Manuge and Sylvain Chartrand? Something was wrong here. Why were there three victims of illegal access to personal/medical information in the care of Veterans Affairs Canada? What did they have in common?
All three disabled veterans were politically active in defending disabled Veterans rights: i.e. Sean Bruyea Outspoken Critic of the New Veterans Charter, Dennis Manuge presently fighting a plus-six-year court Battle with the Federal Government in regards to the SISP Claw Back issue and Sylvain Chartrand, who was very active with the issues plaguing disabled Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Soldiers.
In March of 2010, I made an Access to Information request to VAC for the list of all those who had accessed my personal/medical information, but I never really went over the documents until now. This could not happen to me a loyal former member of the RCMP and 24-year Veteran. To my amazement, I too had numerous illegal accesses to my personal/medical information from my Veterans Affairs file.
I received three lists: one with just names and dates and the other two with the names, position titles and the dates and times my file was accessed. The two completed lists were identical except one had more names, etc. Why not just one complete list? Again, something is very wrong here. Here’s one very odd example I found within these list documents:Line Pepin 2008/06/05 01:20:45 Writer/Editor MIN Exec Corresp Ottawa 2008/06/06 02:57:24 Writer/Editor MIN Exec Corresp Ottawa 2008/06/05 01:20:45 Area Counsellor Quebec District Office 2008/06/06 02:57:24 Area Counsellor Quebec District Office
How can one person with two position titles working at two different offices access my VAC file two days apart two times on identical dates and times at the same time? There is a second example of this very suspect occurrence. The first thing that comes to mind is that a name or names have been vetted. I have a good number of persons with ministerial position titles who have accessed my personal medical file without my consent.
So, I was number four on the list of those who have had their personal/medical file illegally accessed without my permission. I also share another common denominator with Sean Bruyea, Dennis Manuge and Sylvain Chartrand: we all fall into one category – we belong to a group of outspoken, politically active disabled veterans. I am and have been since 2008 very politically active in Military and RCMP disabled veterans’ rights.
Sean Bruyea openly criticized the New Veterans Charter. Dennis Manuge has been fighting in Court the SISIP Claw Back, and Sylvain Chartrand has been dealing with disabled CAF Reserve issues, while I have taken on the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and have been critical of their adjudication of disability claims.
I have in fact analysed the VRAB related Federal Judicial Reviews of which 81 VRAB decisions were quashed by the federal Courts from 1997 to 2011 and sent back to the VRAB for reconsideration along with directions by the Federal Court Judges. I have also filed this analysis as an official Complaint on behalf of all Military and RCMP disabled Veterans to the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, who is conducting their own investigation into the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.
In this complaint, 16 issues were identified indicating that the VRAB are not listening to the Federal Court decisions or adhering to the Federal Judicial Review Case law originating from the Federal Court Judges decisions as they relate to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.
This is no coincidence. The stated common denominators point to the reality that we, as outspoken Advocates for disabled veterans’ rights, have been targeted because of our advocacy activities. This again is no coincidence.
I spoke to another advocate for disabled veterans rights, Derrick Zimmerman, who also made an ATIP request for the list of names, position titles, dates and times when his Veterans Affairs personal/medical information had been accessed and to his amazement the same thing. Without consent he has had numerous accesses to his personal/medical information contained in his VAC medical file.
Derrick Zimmerman has been actively organizing protests here in Kingston i.e. 2010 CVA National Day of Protest and the protest outside the Kingston electoral office of the Conservative Candidate during the last election. Kingston did not become a conservative riding. He has written numerous letters to the Government in regards to disabled Veterans issues and like the rest of our group has done so for a very long time. So, that makes five of us to date.
One other interesting fact is that all five of us are associated with the Canadian Veterans Advocacy — another very interesting common denominator that lumps us together.
More about who I am. I was a 24-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and during my 24 years of service have been involved with numerous criminal conspiracy investigations in the drug enforcement field.
In my opinion this is not at coincidence and this stinks! I allege that we as a group of advocates for disabled veterans’ rights have been targeted by persons of authority who are and have been part of the present government because of our overt legal activities fighting for disabled veterans rights.
The Sean Bruyea case has shown to what degree his personal/medical information had been illegally accessed, disseminated and used without his consent. To what degree has this happened to all four of us? Sean Bruyea and the four of us have all been active fighting for disabled Veterans rights during the time the then Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson was in Cabinet. Another interesting but pertinent common denominator.
Again this is no coincidence and as a former professional investigator, there cannot be this degree of alleged illegal intrusions into our VAC medical files without direction at some lofty level of the Conservative Government. Direction in a hierarchy has to originate at one level and goes down the food chain to those who are actually accessing our personal/medical files without our consent. For this to happen to four disabled Veteran Advocates means direction had to come from some high level within the Conservative Government.
The Privacy Act is clear in its legislation that states the following:
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
Use of personal information
7. Personal information under the control of a government institution shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be used by the institution except
- (a) for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the institution or for a use consistent with that purpose; or
- (b) for a purpose for which the information may be disclosed to the institution under subsection 8(2).
- 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “7”.
Disclosure of personal information
8. (1) Personal information under the control of a government institution shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be disclosed by the institution except in accordance with this section.
Where personal information may be disclosed
(2) Subject to any other Act of Parliament, personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed
- for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the institution or for a use consistent with that purpose;
- for any purpose in accordance with any Act of Parliament or any regulation made thereunder that authorizes its disclosure;
- for the purpose of complying with a subpoena or warrant issued or order made by a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel the production of information or for the purpose of complying with rules of court relating to the production of information;
- to the Attorney General of Canada for use in legal proceedings involving the Crown in right of Canada or the Government of Canada;
- to an investigative body specified in the regulations, on the written request of the body, for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada or a province or carrying out a lawful investigation, if the request specifies the purpose and describes the information to be disclosed;
- under an agreement or arrangement between the Government of Canada or an institution thereof and the government of a province, the council of the Westbank First Nation, the council of a participating First Nation — as defined in subsection 2(1) of the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act —, the government of a foreign state, an international organization of states or an international organization established by the governments of states, or any institution of any such government or organization, for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation;
- to a member of Parliament for the purpose of assisting the individual to whom the information relates in resolving a problem;
- to officers or employees of the institution for internal audit purposes, or to the office of the Comptroller General or any other person or body specified in the regulations for audit purposes;
- to the Library and Archives of Canada for archival purposes;
- to any person or body for research or statistical purposes if the head of the government institution
- (i) is satisfied that the purpose for which the information is disclosed cannot reasonably be accomplished unless the information is provided in a form that would identify the individual to whom it relates, and
- (ii) obtains from the person or body a written undertaking that no subsequent disclosure of the information will be made in a form that could reasonably be expected to identify the individual to whom it relates;
- to any aboriginal government, association of aboriginal people, Indian band, government institution or part thereof, or to any person acting on behalf of such government, association, band, institution or part thereof, for the purpose of researching or validating the claims, disputes or grievances of any of the aboriginal peoples of Canada;
- to any government institution for the purpose of locating an individual in order to collect a debt owing to Her Majesty in right of Canada by that individual or make a payment owing to that individual by Her Majesty in right of Canada; and
- for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution,
- (i) the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or
- (ii) disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates.
Where personal information may be disclosed
(g) to a member of Parliament for the purpose of assisting the individual to whom the information relates in resolving a problem
Section 8(2)G is noteworthy in that you have a specific problem and you request help from a member of Parliament for assistance with that problem. It does not imply that if you are seen to be the problem, bureaucrats can access your medical profile and personal history to find out who that Government institution is dealing with. The key word in this section is ASSISTING.
This section is not an open consent for a Member of Parliament or his or her staff or any other person in authority within the Conservative Government to dive into a disabled Veteran’s personal/medical VAC file because of an individual being an outspoken disabled veteran criticizing government policies as they relate to disabled Veterans issues. We four have.
When I had a long-fought disability claim denied by the VRAB involving a 1997 physical injury while on duty as an RCMP officer, I had sent the local Minister of Parliament in my riding, Scott Reid, a letter explaining the reasons why my disability claim should have been approved by the VRAB.
Contained in my letter were appendices relating to the provided specific medical documents/evidence that I wished to disclose to MP Scott Reid in order to back up my reasons. This was not consent by me to go into my VAC medical file to look at the rest of my personal/medical information involving other claims/ disabilities when I had provided the information I wished to disclose to him in the first place.
I am not saying Minister of Parliament Scott Reid intruded into my VAC file because I do not have proof as I am still awaiting the results of my ATIP/Privacy request for more information. I am simply using this example of why there would be no reason for a Minister of Parliament or any of his or her staff to take the further step of going into my VAC medical file.
In 2009, I had written a letter to the Prime Minister (sent four times) asking him why he does not acknowledge on his website the role and the sacrifice the RCMP are making in Afghanistan along with the Canadian Military? This is another example of why they the Government would not have a reason as defined in Section 8(2)g to intrude into my personal VAC medical file even if the said letter got forwarded to the Minister of Veterans Affairs or anyone else in authority for that matter.
I allege a conspiracy as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada by persons of authority within Veteran’s Affairs Canada who have accessed personal/medical information held by Veterans Affairs Canada of outspoken Veterans advocates, proactively fighting for disabled veterans rights without their consent in contravention of the legislation within the Privacy Act. As a matter of fact, all four agree and allege this conspiracy.
The following are the relevant sections pertaining to conspiracy, parties of offences and Person counselling offence contained within the Criminal Code of Canada.
465. (1) Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, the following provisions apply in respect of conspiracy:
- every one who conspires with any one to commit murder or to cause another person to be murdered, whether in Canada or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a maximum term of imprisonment for life;
- every one who conspires with any one to prosecute a person for an alleged offence, knowing that he did not commit that offence, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
- (i) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, if the alleged offence is one for which, on conviction, that person would be liable to be sentenced to imprisonment for life or for a term not exceeding fourteen years, or
- (ii) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, if the alleged offence is one for which, on conviction, that person would be liable to imprisonment for less than fourteen years;
- every one who conspires with any one to commit an indictable offence not provided for in paragraph (a) or (b) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment as that to which an accused who is guilty of that offence would, on conviction, be liable; and
- every one who conspires with any one to commit an offence punishable on summary conviction is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Parties to Offences
21. (1) Every one is a party to an offence who
- actually commits it;
- does or omits to do anything for the purpose of aiding any person to commit it; or
- abets any person in committing it.
(2) Where two or more persons form an intention in common to carry out an unlawful purpose and to assist each other therein and any one of them, in carrying out the common purpose, commits an offence, each of them who knew or ought to have known that the commission of the offence would be a probable consequence of carrying out the common purpose is a party to that offence.
- R.S., c. C-34, s. 21.
Person counselling offence
22. (1) Where a person counsels another person to be a party to an offence and that other person is afterwards a party to that offence, the person who counselled is a party to that offence, notwithstanding that the offence was committed in a way different from that which was counselled.
(2) Every one who counsels another person to be a party to an offence is a party to every offence that the other commits in consequence of the counselling that the person who counselled knew or ought to have known was likely to be committed in consequence of the counselling.
Definition of “counsel”
(3) For the purposes of this Act, “counsel” includes procure, solicit or incite.
- R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 22;
- R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 7.
Offences of negligence — organizations
22.1 In respect of an offence that requires the prosecution to prove negligence, an organization is a party to the offence if
- (a) acting within the scope of their authority
- (i) one of its representatives is a party to the offence, or
- (ii) two or more of its representatives engage in conduct, whether by act or omission, such that, if it had been the conduct of only one representative, that representative would have been a party to the offence; and
- (b) the senior officer who is responsible for the aspect of the organization’s activities that is relevant to the offence departs — or the senior officers, collectively, depart — markedly from the standard of care that, in the circumstances, could reasonably be expected to prevent a representative of the organization from being a party to the offence.
Other offences — organizations
22.2 In respect of an offence that requires the prosecution to prove fault — other than negligence — an organization is a party to the offence if, with the intent at least in part to benefit the organization, one of its senior officers
- acting within the scope of their authority, is a party to the offence;
- having the mental state required to be a party to the offence and acting within the scope of their authority, directs the work of other representatives of the organization so that they do the act or make the omission specified in the offence; or
- knowing that a representative of the organization is or is about to be a party to the offence, does not take all reasonable measures to stop them from being a party to the offence.
When I was employed by the RCMP, I spent most of my career in the drug enforcement field. In order to enforce the then Food and Drugs Act, the Narcotics Control Act and then later the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, an officer had to know the provisions within the said act in order to responsibly enforce the Law properly.
A police officer is a person in authority. So is the Minister of Veterans Affairs and any other person subordinate to the Minister acting on the Minister’s behalf as well as anyone in the Canadian Government holding a position of authority.
As in all other branches of the government, those employed within Veterans Affairs also have to know and understand the legislation pertinent to their function within their scope of responsibility that, in this case, is the Privacy Act – especially those safeguarding personal/medical information that is entrusted in their care.
There is no excuse for ignorance of the law especially if one is a government employee and in a position of authority no matter to what degree. Absolutely no excuse.
Presently, the four of us – Dennis Manuge, Derrick Zimmerman, Sylvain Chartrand and I, Eric Rebiere – have made detailed Access to information requests to the ATIP coordinator for all information both written and emailed, etc., that have been obtained from our VAC medical files without our consent . We want to know what happened to the said personal/medical information and how it was used. We are making a formal complaint to the Privacy Commissioner as a group that alleges we have been targeted as a result of a conspiracy as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada, which relates and contravenes the legislation contained within the Privacy Act and also the Canadian Charter of Rights.
Like the Privacy Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is very clear as to the rights of Canadian citizens.
CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:
Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms
Rights and freedoms in Canada
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Life, liberty and security of person
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Search or seizure
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Section 8 of the Charter of Rights was not written just for police officers but applies to anyone in authority and that means persons in authority within the Canadian Government. The Charter of Rights was written in a way that all Canadians, including disabled Military and RCMP veterans, can understand. Everyone has the right to be SECURE against unreasonable search and seizure i.e. the unreasonable search of all our personal/medical information and the illegal seizure of said information.
When I was working as an RCMP Drug Enforcement officer, I had to provide the “Reasonable and Probable Grounds” to a Justice of the Peace or Federal Court Judge in order to satisfy the requirement in order to obtain a Search Warrant in order to obtain personal information: for example, a phone number or information from a VAC personal/medical file. This is the legal process to do this and provisions within the Privacy Act confirm this in regards to VAC personal/medical files. We four are of the opinion that our Section 8 Charter Rights have been violated.
We are asking the Privacy Commissioner to investigate these alleged illegal intrusions into our personal/medical VAC files by those employed in Veterans Affairs Canada and by persons employed in other branches of the Federal Government.
If there is evidence in the Privacy Commissioner’s findings that the laws of Canada have been broken and there is further evidence to support an alleged conspiracy indicating that we are in fact the victims of being targeted as a group i.e. alleged illegal intrusions into our personal/medical information as it pertains to the Privacy Act and the Criminal Code of Canada, then the Privacy Commissioner can exercise authority under section 64(2) of the Privacy Act to disclose the evidence of this alleged offence(s) to the Attorney General of Canada.
Here it is:
Disclosure of offence authorized
(2) The Privacy Commissioner may disclose to the Attorney General of Canada information relating to the commission of an offence against a law of Canada or a province by a director, an officer or an employee of a government institution if, in the Commissioner’s opinion, there is evidence of such an offence.
- R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 64;
- R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 187;
- 2006, c. 9, s. 186
If the Attorney General is satisfied that there are “reasonable and probable grounds” to initiate a criminal investigation, the RCMP will be tasked to investigate this allegation because the Privacy Act is Federal, not to mention the Canadian Charter of Rights.
Dennis Manuge, Sylvain Chartrand, Derrick Zimmerman and I, Eric Rebiere, demand that this be investigated thoroughly by the Privacy Commissioner and if warranted by the Attorney General of Canada. We want those involved dealt with by law. We have this right under the protection of this law.
It is clear that all four of us have to submit separate complaints to the Privacy Commissioner and it is important that this investigation cross reference all four of us, and I attach the email authorizations by Denis Manuge, Derrick Zimmerman and Sylvain Chartrand stating that I have their authorization to speak for them in this group complaint.
All Military and RCMP officers swear an oath to protect Canada from threats both here and abroad. Those of us who have served Canada faithfully and, as a result, have ended up injured and disabled have kept the faith and our promise to the people of Canada and the Canadian Government to protect our society here and abroad. We four are disabled because we made sacrifices for our country. Our only crime has been exercising our constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech, so we all ask why is this happening to us? The even bigger question is: how many more disabled veterans like us as have been allegedly treated this way?
No one is above the law. No one.
The motto of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is “Maintiens Le Droit” — Maintain the Right. This is their function in Canadian Society. We ask that the RCMP “maintain the right” in our case as well.
If the Privacy Commissioner needs to contact the four of us in regards to this group complaint, our email information is as follows:Eric Rebiere firstname.lastname@example.org Dennis Manuge email@example.com Derrick Zimmerman firstname.lastname@example.org Sylvain Chartrand email@example.com