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2 more instances of assisted dying discussions with veterans found, minister says – National

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Two more instances of a Veterans Affairs Canada employee discussing medical assistance in dying with a veteran have been discovered during an ongoing investigation into the department, the minister responsible told lawmakers Thursday.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay told the House of Commons standing committee on veterans affairs this brings the total number of cases involving a single VAC service agent to four, and that the RCMP has been contacted.

“I have instructed the deputy (minister) to examine all options in this investigation, including referring the matter to the police for investigation if necessary. I can confirm the RCMP have been contacted, and the department has taken steps to formally refer the case,” MacAulay said.

“If any of the veterans are watching right now, I am sorry,” he added, calling any discussion of assisted dying with a veteran seeking care “totally unacceptable.”

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Global News first reported on Aug. 16 that a VAC employee had discussed medically-assisted dying with a veteran, a case that has brought renewed scrutiny on the department and the ongoing struggle for veterans seeking support.

Sources told Global News a VAC service agent brought up medical assistance in dying, or MAiD, unprompted in a conversation with the combat veteran, who was discussing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury.

Global News is not identifying the veteran due to privacy concerns but has spoken directly with the individual, who says the service agent brought up MAiD repeatedly and even after the veteran asked the service agent to stop.

The veteran said he felt pressured as a result.

He also said that the service agent told him in the call about having helped another veteran access resources for medical assistance in dying through Veterans Affairs Canada, including support for that person’s children who were struggling with the impending death.

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