June 10th, 2020

NDP MPP Stevens calls on the Prime Minister to recognize the work of the Canadian Armed Forces in Ontario’s long-term care homes and give them the whistleblower protection they deserve

QUEEN’S PARK – Jennie Stevens MPP, the Official Opposition NDP’s critic for Veterans, Legions and Military Affairs, has written an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety urging them to recognize the outstanding service of Canadian Armed Forces members who have put their own health at risk to save lives and deal with the worst outbreaks in Ontario’s long term care homes, and to expose the inadequate level of care that our loved ones have experienced in these facilities.

In the letter, Stevens expressed deep concern about disturbing reports that women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who have served with such distinction and have blown the whistle on the inhumane conditions in long term care homes, may face “consequences” for their actions.

“The Canadian Armed Forces have done us all so proud to step up and serve our loved ones in these facilities. What they experienced has been deemed nothing less than a great service to all Canadians. That the Department of Defense would be looking to clamp down on these brave whistleblowers speaks to a serious lack of recognition of their incredible service,” said Stevens in the letter to Trudeau and Blair.

“I am worried that the ‘consequences’ for whistleblowers the Department of Defense may be considering will detract from the incredibly needed work the frontline service men and women have provided to our long-neglected long-term care system”.

Stevens says what is needed is more attention to improving these conditions, not punishments for those with the courage to speak out about these horrendous conditions, especially as the report lagged for days without any concrete actions or repercussions.

“Had they not spoken out, Ontarians would not have known how the residents of five long-term care homes suffered from neglect and, in at least one case, potentially criminally negligent care,” said Stevens.

“We should all be incredibly proud and grateful for the work of Canadian Armed Forces members who have once again gone beyond the call of duty to serve our loved ones and keep us safe during this crisis. We count on them, and they should be able to count on us to protect them and give them the recognition they serve.”