My compatriot, Jeff Rose-Martland, has explained how important Eric Rebiere’s advocacy is on behalf of RCMP and military veterans, so I quote him in this introduction to Eric’s protest submitted today. BONNIE
This is a VERY important issue. PTSD rates in the RCMP are higher than in the Forces (Think about it: there are more fatal car accidents than battles) but there is no support for the Mounted Police. Officially, the reason is the RCMP can avail of civilian services and that ‘the RCMP promotes a healthy workplace.’ PTSD is heavily stigmatized within the Mounted Police and suffering Members are frequently accused of faking.
If the government and RCMP brass refuse to address the problem, and the Mounted Police has a common belief that tough-cops can bully their way through anything so only fakers and the weak claim PTSD, then where are the sufferers going to turn?
They won’t go to outside help and support, for “fear of being put on the rubber gun squad.” (Quote from a veteran who’s name I’ve forgotten.) They likely won’t even take time off, for fear of being branded a lazy-arse-faker.
Now think about who is patrolling our streets. Does it worry you?
This has been an important week for bringing out the truth about the deliberate lack of funding by the Harper Government for the OSISS program, a program I have been advocating to the Harper Government and RCMP for years. I sent a letter to then Commissioner Elliot the lawyer Harper made Commissioner in order to get the RCMP back on track after the previous Commissioner resigned in disgrace and it was said that the RCMP need to be fixed.
In reality, what happened was Harper replaced one autocratic boss for another. I sent a long letter to the then Commissioner Elliot some years ago about the liabilities the RCMP will face if they do not deal with PTSD, which is rampant in the RCMP sooner than later because there will be unnecessary human tragedy ending up in the news media. I emphasized that the OSISS program is urgently needed because I personally know it works. It saves families, marriages and lives.
Well, the autocratic Mr. Elliot could do nothing because Harper could care less. An example of what Commissioner Elliot tried to do was to submit a request to Prime Minister Harper asking that the VIP program, which was desperately needed by the elderly and disabled RCMP veterans, be funded and the Prime Minister said, “NO.” Why??
The lack of action by Prime Minister Harper speaks for itself. An example of how hard I tried to reach out to Prime Minister Harper was a letter I sent to him four times: one by registered mail, a copy by mail, a copy by email and the last copy I asked NDP MP Peter Stoffer to hand to Prime Minister Harper personally in parliament, which he did for me. Never a response from the Prime Minister.
Why does the Prime Minister take this indifferent attitude towards the RCMP and ignore the desperate need to address the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? I believe it’s all about balancing the federal budget by 2014. What else could be the reason?
Well, the inevitable happened. Just recently, an RCMP officer committed suicide as a result of duty-related PTSD, which ended up on Global National. How many PTSD-related suicides have occurred within the RCMP ranks and have been kept quiet? A fair question to ask.
When I saw RCMP staff relations representative, Staff Sgt. Mike Casault, talking to Global National about his friend and fellow RCMP officer, who committed suicide because of PTSD, I felt very angry. Please understand it is unusual for an RCMP officer to speak to the media without authorization, but in this case, I can really feel the anger and frustration from Staff Sargent Casault not to mention his pain in losing a friend.
As far as I am concerned THIS DEATH WAS PREVENTABLE. IF THE HARPER GOVERNMENT AND COMMISSIONER ELLIOT TOOK MY LETTERS TO THEM SERIOUSLY YEARS AGO!!
They were warned that this would happen if they did not join the OSISS program that the RCMP and Veterans could easily integrate into. I explained in detail to the RCMP Health and Occupational Safety about how this could be done and that it would be very cost-effective because the OSISS program is already well-established right across Canada. I explained this to the RCMP officer involved in the initiative to analyse the cost etc., but as shown on Global National, this study costing was halted and not pursued. Why?
MONEY. There is a huge cost to morally providing seriously needed programs like OSISS and VIP to all those RCMP officers and Veterans suffering from PTSD, other disabilities and age-related problems.
I would ask RCMP staff relations representative Staff Sgt. Mike Casault to pass on the Letter I sent to the Prime Minister that is on line, as well as my detailed letter to Commissioner Elliot imploring him to seriously look at the OSISS program because of the very possible liability the RCMP would face if nothing is done to the spouse of the RCMP officer and friend who committed suicide. I am incensed by this because I personaly know the OSISS program works. As a trained volunteer for OSISS, I have assisted a seriously suicidal peer through the appropriate protocol learned during my OSISS course. The peer in question got the help, support needed and is now stabilized and living a better life.
Should the spouse of this fallen RCMP officer decide to take civil action, I would be more than happy to give evidence in court under oath in regards to the efforts I made in vain for the Harper Government and RCMP to accept the invaluable OSISS program, which saves lives, because as I stated during my interview with Global National, the OSISS program saved my marriage and my life.
As a lot of you out there know, I served in the RCMP for 24 years and since my return from Croatia in 1993 have dealt with undiagnosed PTSD for approximately 10 years. My wife and kids have suffered as a result of my PTSD-related anger, which injured them emotionally.
I bring this up because the OSISS program has a Family Peer Support program as well to help the spouses and families of an injured soldier or veteran to help them heal from the PTSD-related fallout they are subjected to.
When I saw in a second interview done by Global National of a wife of an RCMP officer who was telling her tale of the violence she and the rest of her family faced with her husband, an active RCMP officer, is a prime example that there is not just one victim of PTSD. It affects the immediate families of the RCMP officer and members and veterans of the Military as well.
This is the other valuable thing about the OSISS program. It has a Family Peer Support program. I really felt for this wife of the this RCMP officer who has been traumatized. I sympathize because I subjected my wife and kids to a lot of verbal abuse. I will always feel the guilt of hurting those I love. Getting diagnosed and the right medical help along with Peer Support, my life and that of my family is a lot better than it has been by a long shot.
The culture in the RCMP needs to change in regards to education at all levels of the force. Similar to what the Canadian Military has been doing for a long time so that the issues of denial, the stigma of being perceived as weak resulting in scapegoating by fellow officers, (which is common in the RCMP) and is a big factor in driving one to suicide, needs to be addressed.
What has happened to the the VRAB member and disabled Canadian Military Veteran Harold Leduc is an example of an individual being harassed by colleagues driving him to thoughts of suicide.
I HOLD PRIME MINISTER HARPER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE UNNECESSARY SUICIDE OF THIS RCMP OFFICER WHO COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED IF THE OSSIS PEER SUPORT WAS TAKEN SERIOUSLY AND MADE AVAILABLE TO THE RCMP.
The real crime is that Mr. Harper lets this happen but still demands that the RCMP provide volunteers to fulfill the mandate for numerous UN missions Canada has committed to, especially Afghanistan. Prime Minister Harper knows perfectly well there will be those returning injured with PTSD, not to forget those RCMP officers already suffering from PTSD as a result of being exposed to traumas here in Canada, which are really not that different from what the Canadian Military experience.
Eric Rebiere (Former Cst. RCMP 37515 LSGC and Canadian Military Veteran)