Lionel Desmond inquiry: Veterans Affairs review cites delays, calls for changes

·1 min read

HALIFAX — An internal review of how Veterans Affairs handled the tragic case of a former soldier who killed his family and himself in 2017 says changes must be made to prevent other veterans from experiencing the delays in service that Lionel Desmond faced.

The undated review was recently submitted to a provincial fatality inquiry in Nova Scotia, which heard testimony this week from the Veterans Affairs case manager who worked with the Afghanistan war veteran during the 14 months prior to the killings.

Among other things, the document says the department's "opportunities for improvement" include reducing the amount of time it takes for veterans to be assigned a case manager once they are released from the military.

In Desmond's case, it took the department six months to appoint Marie-Paule Doucette to the job, a time lag that prompted many questions from the lawyers taking part in the inquiry in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.

During Doucette's testimony on Wednesday, she blamed the delay on a lack of resources, which she said was caused by budget cutbacks imposed in 2012 by the former Conservative government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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