Saturday, March 14, 2015

Canada Faces Scandal Over Military Suicides Too

Secret military suicide report blames soldier
The Canadian Press
By Murray Brewster
March 12, 2015
The 1,434 pages contain little analysis of what the military did to help him, blaming his suicide on the end of his relationship with his common-law spouse and his addictions, which it attributed to the break-up of his parents.
A photo of Cpl. Stuart Langridge is seen along with his beret and medals at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday October 28, 2010.
Adrian Wyld Canadian Press

OTTAWA – A previously secret military investigation into the suicide of Cpl. Stuart Langridge blames not only Langridge himself for the tragedy, but also his biological parents, who divorced when he was five.

The board of inquiry report released Thursday was written nearly six years ago, a few months after the 28-year-old was found hanged in his Edmonton barracks.

National Defence had refused to release the findings to his parents, one of the reasons his mother Sheila and stepfather Shaun Fynes complained to the country’s military police watchdog.

It dismissed what he witnessed Bosnia and Afghanistan as not relevant to his mental health, even though he told military doctors it bothered him.
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‘They took our son away': The Canadian military’s war against a dead soldier’s family
National Post
Published Thursday, March 12, 2015

It’s hard to see Sheila Fynes as threatening.

The diminutive 67-year-old has a pleasant demeanour and likes to serve homemade cookies to guests.

But for some in the Canadian Forces, she became one of the most hated individuals in the country.

Fynes’s crime was that she wouldn’t shut up. She, and her husband Shaun, refused to stop speaking out about the suicide of their Afghan veteran son, Stuart Langridge. For seven years they continued to ask embarrassing questions and push for accountability from the Canadian Forces and military police.

In response, some in the Canadian Forces conducted a behind-the-scenes smear campaign. In more than 25 years covering the military, I’ve never seen such a vindictive attack.

The catalyst was a two-part series in the Ottawa Citizen in June 2009 which detailed the roadblocks the couple faced in trying to uncover answers about their son’s death.

Langridge, a model soldier and veteran of Bosnia and Afghanistan, was suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder when he killed himself at CFB Edmonton in 2008. He had attempted suicide five times before his death.

His parents claimed he was dismissed as a drunk and an addict and ill-treated by his superiors.
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