Are Canadian Soldiers Being Jailed Over PTSD & Mental Health Issues? – Letter to the Editor – June 17, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALetter to the editor:

It seems as though everyone who works for the Ontario Ministry of Justice, including crown attorneys, judges, prison guards and provincial police officers may conduct their duties without being held accountable for the actions or inactions?
A very close friend of mine, decorated veteran Sgt Collin Fitzgerald has been wrongfully accused and held in custody at the OCDC.  The OPP and swat team descended upon his parents house on Friday 6th of June with more firepower than what was used when UN forces killed Osama Bin Laden.
While in custody at OCDC  (Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre) Sgt Fitzgerald has not been receiving his PTSD medication as prescribed by his doctor.  Instead the staff has been dissolving his time-release medication in water, along with the other meds he is prescribed and told to consume it all at once in the form of a cocktail.  This induces vomiting.   When Sgt Fitzgerald refused to take his medication in that fashion, he was threatened with additional criminal charges for non-compliance.
We, and his parents have made several calls to the correctional facility, notorious for it’s human rights violations, with no result.   His doctor has repeatedly faxed over the order, with no change to the situation.  We have personally spoke with OCDC staff who refuse to give their name and eventually hung up on us.  On June 12th, at a hearing in Cornwall the Judge ordered that Collin be administered as described.  When Collin returned to OCDC that evening he was once again presented with this cocktail.  When he protested, he was refused his meds altogether.   For sufferers’ of PTSD these medications are a matter of life and death.
Having spoke with Sgt Fitzgerald’s attorney, a public defender because he is now bankrupt due to legal fees, we were advised to contact our local members of parliament.  Both Guy Lauzon’s office and Jim MacDonell’s office assured me that they will do whatever they can to rectify the situation for Collin.
The big question is “who is policing the police, crown attorney’s , judges, and prison guards?”… the answer, is simple… NO ONE!  I can only image what this must be like for the incarcerated soldiers suffering from PTSD and not receiving their meds.  Before this incident Collin was living at his parent’s home, with regular access to his child… He was back to his old self, and moving on with his life.   This treatment by the judicial system employees has set him back… he will now need to return to the PTSD treatment facility if the crown’s office decides to grant him bail.
Sgt Fitzgerald is a victim –  victim of the war he fought on our behalf, and a victim of our province’s corrupt judicial system.
Photo: Submitted
Adam J. Lauzon and Melissa Filion
Cornwall Ontario

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  1. On thursday morning June 19th at 09:00 am please join my wife Helene and I with Collin’s friend Adam, our military family, friends and vets at the courthouse on 2nd Street to show support for a decorated war hero at his hearing.Wear your military colors. Send a message to our government to help our vets.

  2. This is a problem for many soldiers being arrested. For one thing they think just because we are trained to kill, that is what we do and they over react. We we served to protect and the police need to remember that. PTSD is a condition that needs to be deal with and like was stated here, it has to be treated with meds in the proper form or it is not effective. The judicial system is broken and police need to be educated on how to deal with soldiers. I would send this to all Federal Members of Parliament and Provincial Members of Parliament. This is the only way to get the change we need. I have been in jail 3 times for BS charges and had to pay for lawyers, charges where dropped. It was not a good experience and aggravated my condition of PTSD 10 fold. The public need to hear about all these stories and contact whom ever will list. I find this strange that police would deal with someone with PTSD in such a manner because their people get PTSD too. The police need to sort this stuff out and give the soldiers a little respect, they are not your average Joe off the streets. People stand up and start writing the leaders of the Federal and Provincial Governments for change; that is the only way to make things happen. The justice system is broken at all levels. Education and awareness for all police forces and the courts systems is key for the necessary changes. So people please, start writing. Head Operations Officer of The United Federation of Canadian Veterans.

  3. Sgt Collin Fitzgerald is no ordinary soldier. He was the first awarded the MMV Military Medal of Valor for bravery and courage in Afghanistan by the Governor General. He has severe PTSD if treated properly could have avoided his unusual behavior. We should not be putting this man through more trauma as he is a war hero not a criminal. The charge of Harassment is no reason for him to be mistreated. Jail is no cure for PTSD.

  4. A few missing bits of key information and a correction. What were the charges? Seems excessive for a “wrongful accusation”. He’s not incarcerated for PTSD or having a mental illness, he’s been charged with something else, but just happens to suffer from PTSD.

  5. @ Dave Desjardins. Is your real name Fantino by any chance?

  6. Of course our prisons and courts are overloaded with people with mental issues. We shut down pretty much all the “mental” institutions and treatment facilities in Canada years ago. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots.

  7. Furtz, for you information, Dave Desjardins is a disabled Vet like myself and an ex law enforcement officer, his question is a legitimate question, and I agree with him, there are missing bits of information and it was only a question not an accusation. You could have taken a bit more time to find out who the comment maker is before you go off on a tangent like that, you’ve insulted an honorable and decorated Vet with your comment.

  8. Dave Genereux. True the the letter doesn’t indicate what the charges are or the reason for the arrest, but we all know that people are routinely arrested and charged for behavior resulting from mental illness, including PTSD.

  9. My feelings in regards to what the system is conducting us not fair to our soldiers who have fought for me and you. MY FATHER WW1/ BROTHER ATR FORCE WW2 SISTER WW2 BROTHRY WW2 KINGSTON. I was in school during KERION WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NOT BEING APPRECIATED AS CANADIAN CITIZENS!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Writing to an MP or MPP? Good luck.

    And as for the Minister of Defence… DND just means Do Not Disturb.

  11. Have to agree with Harumph I have been writing here at CFN(with great understanding from Jamie when our Vets were not the discussion) and am so angry that our MP guy lauzon seems silent on this issue only sending back “talking Points” from PMO. Lauzon ran around putting up signs and ribbons support our troops now he sits on the sidelines as these brave heroes come back “damaged” by this gd war that seems to have accomplished little or Nothing

  12. Author

    Peter to be fair, and people know I’m no fan of our MP, it was said at the court house today that he responded personally and stated that he’d made phone calls on behalf of Collin.

  13. Jamie thank you for being fair
    Again I deeply appreciate you letting me spout off about Veterans issues
    I have sent at least three emails and one hand written letter to our MP and NEVER got anything but talking points in return. I really hope he is trying to help out this troubled young man. War has destroyed so many young people and in USA Viet Nam Vets are still wandering the streets homeless. Now former VP Dick Cheney, who got five deferments so he didn’t have to fight in Viet Nam, is sticking his sick old nose into the fray once again trying to get more young men sent to fight an unwinable war in IRAQ…thanks again for your patience JG

  14. Hate to say this but our government will throw soldiers into the fighting to make it look good for there parties, and to get to fly around the world to go to meetings. Then if they come back broken, hurt, they will then throw the book at them or to the garbage, and yes if he is prescribed meds by a professional licensed doctor he has a right to recieve them, no matter what he did. This is why soldiers do what they do to protect our rights and freedom. If the police are doing something wrong or for there own selfishness, then they to should be held accountable, and maybe they belong in the jail system for a stay, see how they adapt to prison life. Have fun in GP

  15. Author

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  16. I went through exactly what Collins went through. I was light a infantryman was in Kabul and Kandahar. I went on 2 tours to Afghanistan, and was slotted for a third tour, when I started to lose focus on reality. When I came back to this area I was completely out of touch with reality. I had a DUI, suicide attempt, mental institution etc. Life was very hard. I had no family to help me, no media, no friends and the courts almost tried to make an example out of me. The Judge even said word for word; “this is not my war! This your war!”. What do you think is in my heart today, hate and vengeance is the only thing I think about, day in day out. A judge is representative of the people of Canada and the laws that the people wish enforced. That Judge in essence gave me the “kiss of death”. Today I’m slowly sinking under the poverty line, I’m seeing my life being dissolved into nothing, I cant even get a job, I basically got tossed away like a piece of trash by society and the law makers. People talk, but nobody is actually doing anything about this. So Collin has a long road in front of him, and if he thinks jail is hard wait until he hears the rejections trying to get a job.

  17. Mr. Duguay Even before this war ended all or our politicians,everyone at DND, Media and everyday Canadians knew that this would happen when our troops came home from war but they all stood idly by doing nothing. I am saddened by what has happened to you and Collin but I know the message is starting to get out slowly and we need more people to step up to say that what we as Canadians have done to our soldiers is wrong and we need our Country to compensate and fix our wounded warriors now. Moving from Military lifestyle to a Civilian life is very difficult without added stress or lack of support. There are not too many jobs looking for GRUNTS in civilian life. I know from experience as I served many years in the military also. I thank you for being so brave to step up telling your story to let us all know what is really going on here. Our Justice System is Broke, Our soldiers are broke because of so many tours in such a short period and we now need to train our Police, at all levels, Our Judges, Lawyers, Employers and medical staff how to properly deal with veterans suffering from PTSD and other issues due to their military service. Veterans are good reliable people and an asset to society but they have experienced a traumatic event in their life. All our veterans want after they get back home and medically released due to their PTSD or other illness is help, respect, not harassment and handcuffs.

  18. What an awesome discussion! Sharing so many thoughts, and so much experience in such a constructive, eloquent way! And managing to stay respectful of one another. Admin, your input is appreciated. Please, all hang in there.

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