Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Canadian Troops Learned of Suicide by Tweet

Jason Kenney's tweet confirming soldier's death sparked anger, frustration 
Published on: March 2, 2015
“Yeah, thanks to Jason Kenney!?!?” Perry wrote. “How is he tweeting this before the (chain of command). My soldiers had to find out from CBC.”
Canadian reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo is pictured in an undated photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Facebook
Internal emails show a minister’s tweet sparked confusion, frustration and anger as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s comrades learned about the Canadian soldier’s death on Oct. 22 from news reports rather than through official military channels.

Cirillo was standing guard with another soldier in front of the National War Memorial shortly before 10 a.m. that morning when a lone gunman shot him in the back. The gunman then drove to Parliament Hill and rushed through the main doors of the Centre Block, where he was killed in a shootout with RCMP officers and Hill security staff.

The unprecedented attack prompted an immediate lockdown of military and federal institutions across Canada, amid fears of a co-ordinated assault on Ottawa and an absence of concrete information.
But 15 minutes later, at 1:40 p.m., then-employment minister Jason Kenney became the first to confirm that the 24-year-old reservist had died, tweeting: “Condolences to family of the soldier killed, & prayers for the Parliamentary guard wounded.” Kenney has since been named defence minister.

The minister’s comment sparked a flurry of news reports. In response, Sgt. Tim Perry of the Canadian Forces’ Ceremonial Guards emailed his commanding officer, Maj. Michel Lavigne, at 1:53 p.m., saying: “I need a padre and confirmation if Cpl. (Cirillo) is dead or not. My guys are learning from CBC on his status.”
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