ARCHIVED - Allegations Against the Canadian Forces - Appendix VI

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Appendix VI: Index of responses from subjects of complaint


Lieutenant-General Leach

National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman
Carriageway Building
55 Murray St, Suite 500
Ottawa, ON
K1N 5M3
 

Dear Mr. Marin
 

I am in receipt of your letter of 12 February, 2001 and your letter of 5 March, 2001 covering the Interim Report as it pertains to me.
 

I have nothing to say or add at this point. I appreciate the opportunity to review this part of your work to date.
 

Yours truly,
Bill Leach
 

Table of Contents
 


Chief of the Defence Staff, General Baril

 
16 March 2001
 

Mr. André Marin
Ombudsman for National Defence and the Canadian Forces
Carriageway Building
55 Murray Street, Suite 500
Ottawa ON KIN 5M3
 

Dear André:
 

I acknowledge receipt of your Interim Report into the complaints of Captain Bruce Poulin dated 5 March 2001, and thank you for giving me the pportunity to provide comment before producing your final report. As you are aware, I have provided a copy of your Report to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), who with your consent forwarded it to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM). Recommendations 5 to 9 inclusive, of the Interim Report fall within the purview of the CFPM. Out of deference to the Accountability Framework of that office, I have not dealt with these recommendations in this reply. I have no doubt you will receive comments on them directly from the CFPM. The remaining recommendations are addressed, in turn, below.
 

Recommendation 1. Senior command within National Defence Headquarters at all levels should be required to follow a procedure whereby all written memoranda which raise issues and concerns about the Canadian Forces leadership or which contain allegations of misconduct against Canadian Forces members are uniformly and routinely logged and monitored to ensure a response by the appropriate level of the chain of command.
 

Implicit in this recommendation is the requirement to establish a new and separate procedure to deal with memoranda that raise leadership "issues and concerns" or allegations of misconduct. From a practical perspective, the term "issues and concerns" lacks sufficient clarity for consistent application in policy -the concern being that such a broad categorization would result in widely varying interpretation and unequal application.
 

In any event, generally accepted office record management practices and procedures, including a system for the logging and tracking of correspondence, are already well established for all staff, including the senior command within National Defence Headquarters. Had these practices and procedures been correctly observed, the documents in question would have been properly logged.
 

While I agree that the proper document handling procedures were not observed in this case, the Interim Report only highlights problems and failings related to the logging and recording of correspondence within the office of the Deputy Commander of Land Forces at LFC Headquarters at St Hubert, Quebec in 1996. There is nothing in the Report to suggest that this particular aspect of what you aptly term "maladministration"} is systemic or widespread within the "senior command" at National Defence Headquarters.
 

Although I am not convinced that the existing procedures in this area are inadequate, the importance of ensuring that service authorities remain vigilant with respect to the maintenance of accurate and complete correspondence records system is indisputable. To that end, I have directed that current guidance be reviewed and that direction with respect to the management of recorded information be strengthened, where appropriate.
 

Recommendation 2. This procedure should provide that all Canadian Forces members have a right to receive a written acknowledgement of their complaint and a written response detailing any action taken in response, including the results of any investigation (wherever appropriate).
 

I agree in principle with this recommendation. The recommendation's underlying objective of ensuring that all CF members receive a formal acknowledgement of written complaints submitted by them is supported and has been included in the CF's primary complaint mechanisms. For example, the requirement to provide letters of response is a feature of both the new CF Grievance and Harassment policies, and military police policies require that victims be advised of the status and outcome of investigations. Additionally, formal acknowledgement and closure are features of virtually all mechanisms of oversight. That having been said, I believe there is merit in examining this issue further and I will undertake to do so.
 

Recommendation 3. There should also be provision that if no written response or follow up is logged that the matter is brought forward immediately to the attention of the Chief of the Defence Staff for response.
 

The intent of this recommendation is to ensure that a system of checks and balances exists to provide recourse to a complainant where, through neglect or intentional disregard, a letter of complainant goes unanswered. This is laudable. However, the recommendation essentially proposes to by-pass the Chain of Command to achieve this and, as such, cannot be supported.
 

As in all militaries of the world, an effective Chain of Command is fundamental to the command and control of the Canadian Forces. In resolving issues and complaints, the Chain of Command must be engaged and must be part of the solution. If there is a breakdown in trust in that Chain, this breakdown must be addressed and corrected, rather than by-passed. Failure to do so would jeopardize the ability of leaders at all levels to command effectively, and would have disastrous consequences in operations.
 

There are already numerous mechanisms, both internal and external, that are available for a Canadian Forces complainant to seek remedy or to challenge the exercise of an authority's discretion. A service member is always permitted to request an audience with his commanding officer, as a "custom of the service". Any member who believes that their complaint has not been dealt with, or dealt with adequately, may refer the complaint to an appropriate authority higher in the chain of command -normally the next superior officer in the reporting chain. In particular, the grievance process provided for by the NDA and QR&Os specifically permits a member to make an oral complaint to the Commanding Officer prior to submitting a grievance.
 

In addition, other oversight mechanisms provide more that sufficient formal, alternative avenues of recourse, including the new streamlined redress of grievance and harassment processes. Independent oversight mechanisms include the Military Police Complaints Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman. There are also informal mechanisms, such as the Executive Director Conflict Management, who provides dispute resolution services.
 

While not designed expressly for the CF, there are also several external oversight mechanisms that perform an ombudsman-like function in specific subject matter areas such as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Office of the Official Languages Commissioner and the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
 

I am satisfied that the processes now in place provide sufficient institutional access and review.
 

Recommendation 4. General Brail should, as the commander of the Canadian Forces, issue an acknowledgement of failure and regret on behalf of the chain of command to Captain Poulin and confirm to him personally the Canadian Forces' commitment to implementing procedures to ensure that when members bring forward issues and concerns to the chain of command that they will be responded to in all cases.
 

Regarding this recommendation, I am gratified to note that your investigation concluded that there was no harassment of Capt Poulin by his immediate superiors and colleagues. I deeply regret the breakdown in communications, and the fact that both he and his family suffered undue stress and anxiety as a result. In my view, it is imperative that CF members have the opportunity to bring forth any concern that may affect their well-being in the workplace, and that the processes and procedures exist to allow them a fair opportunity to do so.
 

In that light, I accept your recommendation and will be writing personally to Capt Poulin to express my regrets that the chain of command was not able to resolve his concerns early on and acknowledging the impact the breakdown in communications has had on him and his family, and on his perception of the CF leadership.
 

Recommendation 5. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service should consult with Captain Poulin and, should he wish to pursue the matter, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service should conduct an investigation into Captain Poulin's allegations that his personal information was leaked to the media.
 

Recommendation 6. The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards should re- issue the official letter dismissing Captain Poulin's military police complaints, removing the reference to "vexatious ".
 

Recommendation 7. The Chief of the Defence Staff should ensure appropriate directives are put into place to prevent actions by Canadian Forces members which constitute or which may be perceived by a reasonable person to constitute attempts to influence the course of Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigations outside of the normal investigative process and the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal should be required to report all such actions in writing to the Chief of the Defence Staff who will, in turn, cause appropriate action to be taken and will inform the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.
 

Recommendation 8. The Chief of the Defence Staff issues the appropriate directives to ensure that where incidents are referred to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal for investigation that the referral comes from persons within the chain of command who are not identified as potential subjects of any allegations to be investigated.
 

Recommendation 9. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service should issue a further press release to correct the original media release and to clearly inform the Canadian public of the complete results of its investigation into the allegations against Lieutenant-General Leach including the fact that it did uncover evidence that individuals within the Canadian Forces chain of command had seen the memorandum submitted by Captain Poulin and were aware of its contents and that the Canadian Force National Investigation Service report recommended in its conclusions that the issue should be reviewed from an administrative perspective by the chain of command.
 

As indicated above, comments with respect to Recommendations 5 to 9 inclusive of the Interim Report will be submitted directly from the CFPM, and therefore I have not dealt with those Recommendations in this reply. While I recognize that Recommendations 7 and 8 are directed to the CDS, the principles of the institutional independence of the office of the CFPM contained in her Accountability Framework must, as a matter of public policy, be supported and I therefore feel obligated to allow the CFPM to respond to you directly.
 

Recommendation 10. The Canadian Forces should issue an ex gratia payment to Captain Poulin for the amount he expended on legal representation in order to obtain advice and to attempt to resolve the issue surrounding the critical comments made by Lieutenant-Colonel Robertson about him in his letter to Colonel Labbé.
 

Your recommendation makes eminent sense and I will invite Capt Poulin to bring forward any such request for payment.
 

Recommendation 11. The Chief of the Defence Staff should direct that a review be conducted to confirm the administrative action taken against Lieutenant-Colonel Robertson and direct that the necessary steps be taken to document such action.
 

This recommendation is accepted. Accordingly, I have directed the Chief of the Land Staff to conduct a review confirming the administrative action taken against LCol Robertson and to take the necessary steps to document that action.
 

As a final matter, I am given to understand that a number of individual responses to your Interim Report are anticipated and that this may result in changes to the report's recommendations. Should this be the case, I would appreciate the opportunity to comment on any amended recommendations prior to your finalizing the Report.
 

Sincerely,
 

J.M.G. Baril
General
 

Table of Contents
 


Master Warrant Officer MacFarlane

 
2120-4-14 (CFPM)
 

Canadian Forces Provost Marshal Office
Resource Management
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General R. Pearkes Building
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A OK2
 

14 March 2001
 

Distribution List
 

OMBUDSMAN INTERIM REPORT
COMPLAINT BY CAPTAIN BRUCE POULIN
 

References:
 

a. Ombudsman Interim Report dated 5 March 2001
 

b. Ombudsman Letter dated 12 February 2001
 

As requested in the covering letter of Reference A, these are the observations and comments forwarded for your perusal and consideration.
 

Based on the information presented, the following comments are offered:
 

  • During the short meeting held with Captain Poulin (on or around 3 July 1998), he had initially requested to speak to then Lieutenant Commander Moore, who was in a meeting. I met with Captain Poulin in my office, where I did acknowledge receipt of the video cassette, written note and information supplied. I advised Captain Poulin that I would forward the information to then Lieutenant Commander Moore for his review and action as required. The further comments supplied by Captain Poulin, I cannot recall ever hearing or making comment on in return. The video cassette, written note and information supplied by Captain Poulin was passed to then Lieutenant Commander Moore;
     
  • Captain Garrick and myself were tasked to investigate the allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Colonel Labbé towards an unidentified civilian female at a Canadian Forces Base Kingston Mess. The document at Reference A, makes no mention of this investigation, which I made clear to the Ombudsman investigators, was the only aspect of the varied allegations against Colonel Labbé, that I was involved with;
     
  • I was not tasked to investigate whether Colonel Labbé was receiving legal representation and advice at public expense;
     
  • In the interview with the Ombudsman investigators, I recall relating that I did not know if there was an investigation completed as to who bore the costs of Colonel Labbé's lawyer, Mr. Hendin. If they did ask if I was aware of an investigation, I would have replied in the negative, as I did not know either way; and
     
  • As I was not involved in the interview conducted by Captain Garrick and then Sergeant Cavasin, with Colonel Labbé, I can not comment on the validity of the information supplied.
     

Based on the information I have provided above, the "Assessment" that has been reached in this matter would seem to be inaccurate, as it was not my decision to investigate pr cause an investigation resultant of Captain Poulin's queries about Colonel Labbé's receipt of legal representation at crown expense. Upon Capt Poulin delivering the video cassette, written note and information into my hands, the items were then passed to then Lieutenant Commander Moore for consideration and action as deemed necessary. That is where my involvement with this information ceased.
 

If you require further information, please contact me at the number listed below.
 

Master Warrant Officer
Deputy Provost Marshal
Resource Management
613-945-7279
 

DISTRIBUTION LIST
 

Andre Marin -Ombudsman
CDS
CFPM
 

Table of Contents
 


Commander Moore

Memorandum

28 March 2001
 

Distribution List
 

REPONSE TO INTERIM REPORT

Ref: Interim Report: Complaint by Capt Poulin 5 March 2001
 

1. I have received and reviewed the portion of your interim report observing on my actions. I appreciate the opportunity to review it and provide comment before it becomes final. In addition, please pass on my appreciation to your investigator, Bob Howard, for his assistance in extending the deadline for my response until 28 March 2001.
 

2. Please note that I have included the CDS and the CFPM on the distribution list for my reply. The CDS has been included because I have been told that he received a copy of your interim report. This report contains information that I believe is not entirely accurate therefore I felt it was important that he see my reply clarifying this information. I note that the portion of your interim report that pertains to me focuses exclusively on police investigation issues and police conduct. As the CFPM is the owner of these processes I felt that she should see these issues and my response to them.
 

3. With respect to allegation 6, paragraph 1990, on page 71: “Failure to pursue Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigation into complaint about leaked personal information” I do not concur with your assessment that my response in this instance was not adequate to address the seriousness of the allegations brought forward by Capt Poulin. Your report further states that allegations that medical or personal information on the part of Canadian Forces members has been leak~ to the public should be treated as serious and investigated wherever possible. The mandate of the CFNIS is limited to the investigation of serious and sensitive criminal or service "offences". As such, any complaints of leaking of information, as described above, must be examined with this is mind.
 

4. During his initial CFNIS interview on 22 Jun 98 Capt Poulin stated that he arrived at his house and found voice mail messages from two journalists that said anonymous sources at NDHQ had told them that he had been involved in a traffic accident thirteen years ago and was mentally unstable. There were two prominent issues that contributed to my decision not to investigate this alleged information leak. First of all, it is far from clear that Capt Poulin was making a complaint that he felt should be investigated by the CFNIS. During the course of my many contacts with Capt Poulin I continually reminded him of the mandate of the CFNIS. He talked about many issues, some of which were within the CFNIS mandate, and many which were not. On several issues he was clear that he felt there was an offence which required investigation. With respect to the leaking of information he did not state directly or indirectly that he felt this should be investigated by the CFNIS. His discussion of this issue during the interview centered on the following:
 

a. The information that was given to journalists was false and, as such, was innuendo;

b. He felt the purpose of this innuendo was "character assassination"; and

c. The only way to deal with innuendo is straight on, so when a camera crew came to his house he let them in and gave them a copy of his medical records to clearly show that there was never any question of mental instability and that the information they had was false. 
 

5. My view of the information provided to me by Capt Poulin was that false information was provided to the media; he considered the information to be innuendo; and he dealt with it in a manner that he felt was appropriate. He left his comments at that and did not provide any further information that would indicate that he felt this was a complaint that was still outstanding.
 

6. The second and most important issue is that I had no reason to believe, from the information provided, that an offence had occurred. In fact, I had every reason to believe that no offence had occurred. There are two issues here: the medical information (mental instability) and the traffic accident.
 

Medical information

 

Personal information

8. This leaves the traffic accident itself. In his complaint to you, Capt Poulin refers to the CFNIS investigation into the leak of medical documents on Pte (ret'd) Ann Margaret Dickey. It is interesting to note that in this case the CFNIS, during their investigation and subsequent legal consultation, determined that for the leaking of information to constitute an offence the information must be unpublished or classified.
 

While this may be true, the fact the information was in the public domain does preclude the laying of charges. Although, once again I believe there are ethical issues here, there is not an offence that falls into the mandate of the CFNIS.
 

9. The decision not to investigate can be summarized as: there was no complaint and there was no offence. If Capt Poulin had been as clear to the CFNIS as he was to your investigators that he felt an offence had taken place then a clear explanation as to why this incident did not fall into our mandate would have been provided to him. He was quite clear; however, that he felt the information was innuendo and he dealt with it. My perception of this was that he felt the situation was finished.
 

10. Based on this information:
 

I request that your assessment be amended to reflect that you are satisfied that my response in this instance was adequate considering that Capt Poulin was not clear that he had a complaint warranting investigation and that the actions he described did not constitute an offence falling into the mandate of the CFNIS.
 

11. I have maintained from the beginning that this situation does raise some ethical or administrative concerns that could warrant further scrutiny. I note that thus far your office has examined my conduct in this situation but, to my knowledge, has not investigated the ethical and administrative concerns associated with the passing of erroneous information about Capt Poulin to journalists. I recommend that:
 

The office of the Ombudsman conduct a full investigation into the allegations of the release of erroneous information with the intent to tarnish the reputation of Capt Poulin.
 

12. At the beginning of my interview I raised the concern to your investigators that the allegations made against me were all couched in terms of service or criminal offences which, as I understand, are not part of the Ombudsman mandate. I was not provided a clear answer as to why this investigation was conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman.
 

I request clarification as to the role of the Ombudsman in investigating criminal or service offence activity and why in this circumstance these allegations against me were investigated by your staff.
 

13. I note from your interim report that your investigators examined my actions in the context of police conduct and effective investigations. These items fall under the mandate of the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC). I also note that your mandate states that your office will not pursue any complaint where the complainant has not first availed himself/herself of the MPCC (among others). In this particular case these allegations were investigated by the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards who dismissed them. They were then investigated by your staff. It would seem from your mandate that once a complainant avails himself/herself of the MPCC you could then re-investigate police conduct issues. This issue is not clear:
 

I request clarification as to the role of the Ombudsman with respect to the investigation of police conduct issues. Is the MPCC subordinate to the Ombudsman?
 

14. I would like to express that I fully support the establishment and role of your office. It is a clear message to the members of the Canadian Forces that there is a safety mechanism to ensure that their complaints receive proper review when all else fails. I am also supportive of the need for the actions of those in authority, myself included, to be open, transparent and subject to scrutiny. The comments I have made are to ensure that the facts of this case are fairly represented, that allegations are properly investigated by those with the mandate to do so and that clarifications are made concerning your role and how it relates to the MPCC so that I may better understand and support the system.
 

S. Moore
Cdr
DPM NIS
945-7254
 

Distribution List
 

Action
 

Ombudsman

Information
 

CDS
CFPS

Table of Contents
 


Lieutenant-Colonel Cloutier

12 March 2001
 

Mr. A. Marin
DND / CF Ombudsman
55 Murray St, Suite 500
Ottawa, ON KlN 5M3
 

Interim Report: Complaint by Capt B. Poulin March 5, 2001

  1. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to comment, on the portion of your interim report that pertains to me, and that addresses Capt Poulin's complaints. First, please note that I now work for the Director General Intelligence vice the Director Joint Force Capabilities.
     
  2. Report Section 2075 -2080. Contrary to your report, I was neither informed of the content, nor provided a copy of, the allegations made by Capt Poulin against me on 21 September 2000. During the 21 September 2000 phone conversation initiated by your office to me in Sarajevo, Bosnia, I was asked if copies of the complaints could be faxed to me so I could provide comments via phone or Fax from Sarajevo. I declined the opportunity to make any comments until I returned to Canada for I needed to review the files held in my former office. Copies of the allegations were, therefore, not provided to me until 5 December 2000; more then 17 months after your office received them.
     
  3. As I stressed when interviewed by your investigators, I again must stress that Capt Poulin's complaints against me relate directly to the Military Police Complaint process. Your report does not mention that the Military Police Complaint Commission (MPCC), established under Bill C-25 and the National Defence Act Section 250, is the sole authority to deal with such issues. When interviewed by your investigators they were unaware of your (their) lack of mandate in that area. I had to explain to them that since the MPCC was not yet constituted when Capt Poulin made his complaints, the MPCC likely could not deal with the issue. It is essential that your final report indicate why you believe you had authority, what were the compelling circumstances that warranted such investigation, and from whom did you seek authority to investigate that portion of Capt Poulin's complaints, for since December 1999 the mandate is solely within the realm of the MPCC.
     
  4. Report Section 2410 to 2430. In this section of your report you provided two dictionary (Merriam-Webster and Oxford) definitions for the term 'vexatious'. You also quoted the definition, which I used and that had been approved in 1998 by the Steering Committee overseeing the implementation of the Reports to the Minister of National Defence on critical changes to DND/CF including the Military Police. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) chaired the Steering Committee. Please note the Steering Committee approved the CF definition of vexatious as well as the Interim Policy on Internal Affairs Investigations and Complaints about or by Military Police, issued on 13 October 1998.
     
  5. Had your investigators inquired they would have discovered that when the above policy was being researched the two dictionary definitions you quoted were also reviewed. It was determined that the dictionary definitions of vexatious were subjective and not measurable, thus needing further refinement. Eventually, the definition used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for their public complaint process, was adopted and approved by the Steering Committee. The approved CF definition of vexatious stated “... a complaint that is one of a number of unsubstantiated complaints from the same person, all of which share a common theme”. 
     
  6. As per your report section 2380 that states, “It should be noted that Captain Poulin was not an unsophisticated complainant and clearly had detailed knowledge of the matters...”, I too concluded that Capt Poulin was sufficiently knowledgeable to articulate against whom, and what, his complaints were about. After having been given ample opportunities to clarify his complaints and having declined to do so, I dismissed Capt Poulin's complaints and classified them as vexatious for the circumstances satisfied the measurable test of the approved CF policy and definition: 
     
    1. Capt Poulin had made a number of complaints (5);
       
    2. Capt Poulin made four complaints on 18 November and a fifth on 24 November 1998;
       
    3. although likely very knowledgeable about the issues, Capt Poulin had declined to substantiate his complaints;
       
    4. by Capt Poulin refusing to clarify his complaints, the subjects of the complaints were now likely to become 'victims';
       
    5. all complaints were made by the same individual;
       
    6. the complaints shared a common theme; and
       
    7. Capt Poulin's 24 November 1998 complaint was made after I acknowledged receipt of the four 18 November 1998 complaints, and after I informed Capt Poulin that his complaints had been forwarded to the Acting CDS for actions. In short, Capt Poulin's complaint against me was for strictly adhering and enforcing the approved CF policy in the handling of complaints against Military Police members. When viewed as a whole and with objectivity, it is difficult not to conclude that Capt Poulin's complaints lacked sufficient ground and served to annoy and cause worry thus also meeting the subjective dictionary definitions of vexatious. I strictly adhered to and enforced the then approved CF policy dealing with the Military Police Complaint process, therefore, your recommendation that the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards (DPM PS) re-issue the official letter dismissing Captain Poulin's military police complaints, removing the reference to "vexatious" is unjustified and inappropriate.
       
  7. Your recommendation to issue a revised letter to Capt Poulin impacts directly on the Office of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM). I find it troublesome that you have not found it appropriate to afford the CFPM the opportunity to comment on your recommendation. This indicates that the Office of the Ombudsman lacks transparency and accountability. In light of my concern I will be forwarding a copy of my letter to both the CDS and the CFPM.
     
  8. I regret to say that not only is your interim report inaccurate, but also that the investigation (for the portion pertaining to me) was superficial, incomplete and insensitive. Your investigators were unaware of the limitations of your (their) mandate when dealing with issues relating to the Military Police Complaint process. Moreover, the investigators had not researched nor obtained the relevant information and documents relating to Capt Poulin's complaints (and referred to in this portion of your report) that held by the DPM PS (the Section responsible for complaints against MP) until I suggested to them it may be advisable to do so. Your investigators had not and did not intend to interview the RCMP Sergeant who dealt with Capt Poulin's complaints until I recommended it might be appropriate to do so. It appears the investigators and your offices were, and perhaps still are, unaware of the CF approved definition of vexatious and its background, yet you make an unjustified and inappropriate recommendation about it.
     
  9. Finally, I find it intolerable for your office to phone CF members in an operational theatre such as Bosnia and to request them to comment, by phone or Fax, about a complaint relating to issues that are nearly two years old. It is appalling for your office to make such request knowing, or ought to have known, that CF members in such conditions are unable to research properly the issues. I find it deplorable and insensitive that the Ombudsman's office would take such steps knowing, or ought to have known, the stressful conditions and environment that these CF members are working under and yet, to add to their stress through such unwarranted phone calls.
     
  10. The portion of your report that pertains to me raises unquestionable doubt about the thoroughness of your investigation, the efficiency, partiality, transparency and accountability of your office. I am worried that the portion of your report dealing with me may be but a sample of a poor investigation and an equally poor report. It is most evident that the Ombudsman's office requires significant improvement in efficiency, transparency and accountability. I intend to pursue these issues once you release your final report. 
     

P. Cloutier
Lieutenant Colonel
 

Cc:Chief of Defence Staff
Canadian Forces Provost Marshal
 

Table of Contents
 


Brigadier-General Samson

14 March 2001

 
Mr. Andre Marin
Ombudsman
National Defence and Canadian Forces
55 Murray St, Suite 500
Ottawa, ON
KIN 5M3
 

INTRIM REPORT: COMPLAINTBY CAPTAIN BRUCE POULIN
 

Reference: Ombudsman Draft Report, March 5, 2001
 

  1. The possibility of providing comments to the office of the Ombudsman as they pertain to the allegations made by Captain Poulin is appreciated.
     
  2. Remarks specific to each area are detailed below.
     
    1. General.
       
      1. The copy of the draft was correctly sent to the office of the J2/Director General Intelligence, however it is important that the allegations not be connected with this office. The allegations are associated to my tenure as CFPM and to an incident in 1998.
         
      2. The covering letter signed by Mr Marin is unclear for it implies that all of the items in the Draft Report are forwarded for review and comments. It is important to emphasize that since the undersigned is no longer the CFPM it would be improper to comment on issues that rest with that office. This lack of clarity, however, does cause some concern given the high standard that the Ombudsman office is demanding of others.
         
    2. 1st Allegation. From a personal perspective, I was very comfortable that there was no hidden intent or personal agenda behind LGen Leach's memorandum. It was also very clear that he wanted to take the high morale ground as it dealt with the allegations related to him.
       
    3. 2nd Allegation. No Comment
       
    4. 3rd Allegation. This third allegation especially the assessment portion is the cause of much personal concern.
       
      1. Page 102, line 2848. There is a phrase in quotations but no indication to whom this quote is attributed. It certainly is not mine. The words "within the chain of command" are the words used not "in the Canadian Forces chain of command".
         
      2. The assessment argues that the press release was misleading by indicating that no one in the chain of command knew of the memorandum in question. There was nothing misleading in the news release. The news release and the portion dealing with the chain of command is quite clear in its scope. The paragraph in question focused on LGen Leach and his chain of command, which was at the time the commander of the Army and ultimately the CDS. No one else was the focus of that particular paragraph. The news release was a fair and accurate comment.
         
      3. It is important to stress that the press release did not infringe on the rights of any individual concerned and did not violate any act of parliament. Further great pains were taken not to refer to Capt Poulin in the news release to ensure that he did not view the findings as prodding. It was also my understanding that Capt Poulin had been briefed on the findings of the investigation long before the news release was distributed.
         
      4. There appears to be an argument as it pertains to the words "the chain of command". The interpretation used by myself meant everyone above the rank of those involved. For instance where Capt Poulin is concerned it would be his superiors and above and the same for LGen Leach. In this report the Ombudsman also uses the words "within the chain of command." It is worth reviewing the recommendation that resulted from the first allegation (lines 2706 through to 2711). How is the term "within the chain of command" to be interpreted here? At lines 2854 and 2858 of the 3rd allegation the ombudsman appears to interpret the term to mean everyone up and down the chain of command. Given this latter interpretation is the intent here that a Cpl could do the referral to the CFPM when a CWO is involved in a situation? A Col could get a referral from a Capt? Or a Pte could do the referral for a B Gen, L Col, or MWO? Or is the intent that someone senior to the individual involved should do the referral? If it were a LGen, should it be the CDS who would do the referral or the LGen's staff officer who is a Capt? As an aside, are there recommendations in other portion of the draft report that use the terms "the chain of command" and how should each use of the term be interpreted?
         
      5. The motivating factor behind the words “this issue should be reviewed from an administrative perspective by the chain of command” was based on the fact that a search of the files did not reveal the memos whereabouts and the correspondence logs did not reflect that the memo was received. The investigators determined that there may be an administrative (information management) problem.
         
      6. The words "this issue should be reviewed from an administrative perspective by the chain of command." are important to note. The "chain of command" here was considered to be LGen's superior. The report was sent to CDS for action. It was not sent to LGen Leach's subordinates as it concerns an administrative review. There was no dual meaning or interpretation of the term. The use of the term for the news release was the same one used for the report. A verification of the distribution list to NCN 510-001-98, 23 October 1998 will confirm the distribution of the report and support the above facts. Ultimately, the term used was a legitimate and honest interpretation of what I believed.
         
      7. Line 2865 and 2866 states "in the totality of the evidence". I would like to know exactly what evidence is being referred to here. Because the ombudsman does not agree with my interpretation of the words used in the press release does not mean that there was malicious intent on my part as it pertains to the news release. Basically it is a different interpretation of the facts.
         
      8. Of concern are the lines 2868 to 2875. The ombudsman has personalized this particular allegation against myself. This was not done in the assessment of the other allegations and is not in sync with the flow of this portion of the report. It begs the question of why is the Ombudsman endeavouring to tarnish my reputation. Is there a bias against me personally or are there issues left over from other cases? Ultimately, this portion of the report not only tarnishes my reputation but also makes me a victim. As a victim I will have no option but to seek redress for this situation if it is in the final report.
         
  3. The review of this portion of the interim report has reminded me of the Ombudsman's Q&A session at the National Press Club held on 21 June 2000 that has been of concern to me for some time. The Ombudsman was asked a question about the Sharpe Report. In his answer the Ombudsman stated that “Le grand prévôt n'est pas d'accord avec ces conclusions-la et puis elle a refere le dossier a la commission qui se reporte a elle et puis il va falloir voir ce que la commission a dire. I” The National Defence Act is very clear that the MPCC reports to parliament, provides a report to the CFPM as it pertains to certain cases but when the CFPM is involved the MPCC provides a report to the CDS. The latter was the situation in the case being discussed. Ultimately, the MPCC does not report to the CFPM, they are independent. Were the comments made at the National Press Club meant to prod or mislead, were they reasonably accurate, or even a fair comment? Is this all a matter of interpretation? After reading the 3rd allegation and the assessment, questions about the motive behind the ombudsman's words (in quotes as outlined above) have surfaced in my mind.
     
  4. In the final analysis the Ombudsman cannot say that my interpretation of the words "chain of command" and the use of these is wrong. He can disagree with my interpretation, however to imply that my use of the term was malicious, ill-willed, spiteful, used with the purposeful intent of prodding Capt Poulin, or used to mislead the public is unacceptable and inaccurate. The comment was fair given my interpretation of the words. How can the Ombudsman base his findings on the totality of the evidence when the evidence is not clear and the issues he has brought forward have been refuted by the aforementioned comments. The assessment of the 3rd allegation is not valid and should be amended.
     
  5. It is my understanding that the CDS has received a copy of the draft report, therefore out of courtesy I am forwarding a copy of this letter to his office. I await a copy of your final report before deciding how or indeed if redress should be sought.
     

P. M. Samson
Brigadier-General
 

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Lieutenant-Colonel Pellicano

7 March 2001
 

Personal Delivery
 

Ombudsman
National Defence and Canadian Forces
Carriageway Building
55 Murray St., Suite 500
Ottawa, ON
KIN 5M3
 

INTERIM REPORT -COMPLAINT BY CAPTAIN POULIN
 

References:
A. Your letter 12 February 2001
B. Your letter 5 March 2001
 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review the portion of your interim report concerning your investigation of the allegations made by Captain Poulin in regard to me.
 

It is clear that Captain Poulin perceives that bias exists in his mind, due to the level of my rank and marital status, in the administrative coordination of his application for redress of grievance. However, the fact of the matter is that his application for redress of grievance was administered by the staff of the DCFGA office in a fair, just, and equitable manner. DCFGA does not have the authority to render decisions on grievances nor to deny redress, grant redress, or grant partial redress. DCFGA is responsible to present to the CDS, for the CDS' decision, complete grievance files for adjudication.
 

Since Captain Poulin's application for redress of grievance did not articulate the precise redress sought, it could not be staffed further by DCFGA for consideration by subject matter experts and adjudication by the CDS. In view of Captain Poulin's decision to not re-submit his application for redress of grievance specifying the remedy sought, no subsequent administrative action could be taken by DCFGA in accordance with the usual standing operating procedures.
 

I reiterate my assertion that my wife, who is employed in DGPA, has had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the outcome of Captain Poulin's grievance documentation that he submitted to DCFGA. All of the grievances referred to DCFGA for staffmg on behalf of the CDS were handled in a meticulously professional manner. I have total confidence in Major Morrissey's professional ethics of having dealt with Captain Poulin's grievance with the utmost care and diligence.
 

Due to the fact that Captain Poulin chose not to re-submit his application for redress of grievance with a clear redress sought for further consideration, it is indeed a moot point that he perceives a conflict of interest with respect to my rank and marital status. In reality, the investigation of his grievance was never totally coordinated by DCFGA -and, thus, not adjudicated by the CDS -because of Captain Poulin's decision to refrain from re-submitting his grievance as suggested by Major Morrissey.
 

In conclusion, I fully agree with your investigators' balanced assessment of Captain Poulin's submission to your office.
 

Yours sincerely,
 

Pierre Pellicano
 

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Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette

12 March 2001
 

M. André Marin
Ombudsman
Carriage Building
55 Murray St
Suite 500
Ottawa, Ont KIN 5M3
 

RESPONSE TO THE INTERIM REPORT: COMPLAINT BY CAPTAIN BRUCE POULIN

References:
 

A. Interim Report on Allegations Against the Canadian Forces. Portion pertaining to Lieutenant-Commander Denise LaViolette, Director General Public Affairs. 5 March, 2001.
 

B. Phone features manual
 

C. Photos (2) of Capt Poulin's desk phone and of the voice mail phone located in the media liaison office.
 

D. User guide for Capt Poulin's desk phone.
 

  1. I received ref. A on 5 Mar 2001, and although I am satisfied with the overall assessments of the allegations against me, I would like to provide further information on allegations 3 and 10.
     
  2. Allegation 3: Checking phone calls received within the Media Liaison Office.
     
  3. In the assessment portion of allegation 3 (3430) you refer to "Capt Poulin's telephone" while his statement (3395) refers to the "Common phone (996-2353/996- 2354)" . I would like to clarify that we are in fact speaking of two different phones, the desk phone that was on Capt Poulin's desk and the voice mail phone (media lines) that was located on Capt Morissette's desk.
     
  4. The report states that “More probable. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette elected to check Captain Poulin's telephone call display and verify the information against the log...” It would have been impossible for me to check the calls made to Capt Poulin's desk phone as there is no such function on his or any of the other media liaison desk phones. I have enclosed a photograph of Capt Poulin's phone as well as the user guide for that particular model of phone. The feature that does exist on the desk phones is a call display which only shows the name and/or phone number of the caller at the time of the call.
     
  5. There is one phone in the MLO (photo enclosed), which was located on Captain Morissette's desk, that has a caller display function and the capability of storing the names and/or phone numbers of previous callers. This phone is related to the media lines (996-2353 /996-2354) and not to a specific desk phone. All personnel had access to this phone. If an individual were to check the incoming calls on this phone it would not be possible to tell who had taken the call.
     
  6. As detailed in my testimony I do not recall the particular event described by Captain Poulin nor do I recall checking the voice mail phone for previous callers. My purpose in responding to this allegation is to request that the text of the report be amended to reflect the fact that we are speaking of two separate phones (Capt Poulin's desk phone and the voice mail phone) and that it would have been impossible for me to check calls made to his desk phone. The specific paragraph I would like amended is on page 125 and numbered 3430/3435.
     
  7. Allegation 10, Withholding message from Captain Poulin's wife in relation to a family emergency until meeting to discuss unreported comments to the media was concluded, and false statement in subsequent memorandum relating to this incident.
     
  8. In the case of allegation 10, I simply would like to reiterate some of my testimony as well as clarify certain statements made by witnesses. The most important fact is that I was not present in the Media Liaison Office when Capt Poulin's wife called. I arrived at work much later than usual due to an appointment outside of the Headquarters building. Upon arriving on the 15th floor, before going to my office, I was told to see my supervisor. I would therefore not have witnessed any members of the media liaison staff looking for Capt Poulin. I was somewhat upset following my meeting with my supervisor, as I had been told that media clippings from that day indicated that Capt Poulin had provided a news release to the media. He had not advised his chain of command that this event had occurred.
     
  9. When I entered the MLO I asked about the whereabouts of Capt Poulin and mentioned that I wanted to see him. No one knew where he was and it is at this time that Lt(N) MacKillop advised me that Capt Poulin's wife had called.
     
  10. In designator 3915, M Burbridge stated that he believed Captain Morissette had taken the call and announced to the office that there was a family emergency. In designator 3920 he is quoted as saying “... Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, when she overheard this asked everyone that when Captain Poulin returned to the office, that he had not be told about this message because she needed to see him urgently... that she'd tell him about the message after their conversation.”  In designator 3930, Mr. Dickman states that: “I believe it was Capt Morissette that received the call and he related it over to his co-worker-I don't remember who that was-that when Bruce comes in, to tell him to call his wife (because) there was a family emergency...At that point, Lieutenant-Commander Denise LaViolette came out of her office and said,  “No, don't give him the message. I want to see him first.”     
     
  11. The sequence of events in these statements cannot be accurate, as I was not in the media liaison office when Capt Poulin's wife called. Furthermore, as mentioned in paragraph 8 and continued in both Lt(N) MacKillop's and Capt Morissette's testimony, it was Lt(N) MacKillop who advised me of the call. I was not coming out of my office but rather entering the media liaison office when I had the discussion with Lt(N) MacKillop. I clearly remember both M Burbridge and M Dickman being present in the office when I came in that morning and they would have heard my discussion with Lt(N) MacKillop and my direction to staff members to have Capt Poulin see me as soon as he returned.
     
  12. I also wish to add that I waited for Captain Poulin for close to one hour, that his wife never called back during that time and that my meeting with Capt Poulin, witnessed by Capt Morissette, lasted less than 10 minutes. Capt Poulin was advised at the end of this meeting that his wife had called. He was therefore able to call his wife within ten minutes of returning to his place of work. A timeframe that I do not find unreasonable.
     
  13. I appreciate the consideration you will give to this letter. In closing, I would like to thank your staff for their sensitivity and thoroughness in dealing with this issue.
     

D. LaViolette
Lieutenant-Commander
 

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Lieutenant-Colonel Robertson

33 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters
1745 Alta Vista Drive
6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario KIA OK6
 

12 March 2001
 

Mr. Andre Marin
Ombudsman
National Defense and Canadian Forces
Carriage Way Building
55 Murray Street,
Suite 500,
Ottawa, ON
KIN 5M3
 

Interim Report -complaint
Captain B. Poulin

General

1. Further to your letter of 5 March 2001, the following paragraphs constitute my response to your interim report of findings regarding the subject complaint.
 

Captain Poulin's complaint

2. The essence of Captain Poulin's complaint is that I wrote a official military letter to another senior military officer about him. As you have concluded the letter itself it is as not an official military letter. However, you go on to state that in your view "it is conceivable that Lieutenant Colonel Robertson, anticipated that the letter could be used and referred to by Colonel Labbé as a statement of support for him during the ongoing investigation". You then conclude this section by stating" I am not satisfied that Lieutenant Colonel Robertson could not have foreseen that his critical comments against Captain Poulin may be disclosed to other persons beyond Colonel Labbé".
 

3. By so stating, it is my opinion that you are, by extrapolation, stating that anyone expressing a personal opinion in private correspondence should anticipate or foresee that any such correspondence may be made public -in general, this is not a reasonable deduction, and in this particular case, it is not supported by any factual evidence. I can categorically and unequivocally state it was my intent to express my opinion privately, and that if I had thought, foreseen or anticipated for a moment that the letter would have been made public, I would not have written it as I did. I will state this under oath or take a lie detector test if you wish, if that is what is required in order to disprove your conjecture.
 

Publication of the letter

4. When I first received notice from the counsel for Captain Poulin, I was shocked that this letter had been disclosed to him. When I contacted Colonel Labbé to determine how this came about, he was equally aghast. He related to me that during the course of the investigation he revealed the contents of the letter to the NIS under an agreement of confidentiality. He did so as I had provided information that clearly stated that I was responsible for having failed to prevent one of the incidents that Col Labbé was accused of having been responsible for, and that I would so testify if called. When asked for a copy of the letter, he further confirmed with the investigators that this would be done on the condition of confidentiality. Indeed, you will see from the letter itself that it has been stamped "confidential". I am taken aback that your investigators have not verified these facts for you with Colonel Labbé or the investigator that interviewed him on this matter. Further, it is my position that, under these circumstances, the release of portions of my letter contravened DND policy and my right to privacy.
 

My apology

5. In his complaint Captain Poulin stated that my actions were compounded by the fact that I did not write a letter of apology to him until he sought legal counsel. Further, Major General Holmes is quoted “LCol Robertson was directed to write a letter of apology through, I believe, his Brigade Commander”. In both instances the statements are incorrect. Upon receiving a letter from Captain Poulin's counsel, I retained legal counsel, and on his advice, did not respond. The legal counsel did so, categorically refuting Captain Poulin's complaint. When portions of my letter were published in the Ottawa citizen and the Esprit de corps, and then aired on TV by Capt Poulin himself, after due consultation and of my own volition. I asked my legal counsel to send an apology to Capt Poulin's counsel as a result of this private correspondence being made public. I am taken aback that your investigators have not verified this sequence of events with Captain Poulin (the dates and postmarks of both our correspondence will speak for themselves), or at the very least, reflected my statements to this effect. With regard to the statements attributed to Major General Holmes, I am completely prepared to be re-interviewed with my Brigade Commander and Major General Holmes, if this is what is required to verify this issue (and am surprised that your investigators did not attempt to verify Major General Holme's statement with my Brigade Commander).
 

Conclusion

6. Lastly, I infer from your comments, under "administrative action against Lieutenant Colonel Robertson" that I have taken retaliatory action and reprisals against Captain Poulin. This is simply not the case. I have expressed an opinion in private regarding untrue allegations made against another officer in the Canadian Forces. I have that right. I am not in a position to influence any part of Captain Poulin's military life, nor would I do so if I were. My record over the past 25 years clearly supports this statement. Moreover, Captain Poulin would not have been exposed to my personal opinion had he not requested a copy of my letter and had the Military Police not improperly released it.
 

A.F. Robertson
Lieutenant Colonel
 

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Major-General Penney

7045-71 (CRS)
 

6 March 2001
 

Mr. André Marin
Ombudsman
National Defence and Canadian Forces
Carriageway Building
55 Murray Street
Suite 500
Ottawa, ON KIN 5M3
 

Dear Mr. Marin,
 

Thank you for the opportunity to review the portions of interim report concerning complaints against me submitted by Captain Bruce Poulin.
 

After reviewing the report I find the report to be factual and I have nothing to either add or to question.
 

Sincerely,
 

K.G. Penney
Major-General
Chief Review Services
 

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Brigadier-General Mathieu

1170-1 (DGHS)
 

8 March 2001
 

Office of the Ombudsman
Carriageway Building
Suite 500, 55 Murray St.
Ottawa, ON KIN 5M3
 

REVIEW OF INTERIM REPORT -CAPTAIN BRUCE POULIN

References: A. Letter 1170-1 (DGHS) dated 15 February 2001
 

B. Interim Report on Allegations Against the Canadian Forces 5 March 200 1 (Portion pertaining to BGen Mathieu)
 

Thank you for providing me with reference B. I have reviewed its contents and have no comment to offer.
 

L. Mathieu
Brigadier-General
Director General Health Services

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Colonel Cooper

2120-20-2-3 (CFPM)
 

21 March 2001
 

Mr. A. Marin
DND/CF Ombudsman
55 Murray St, Suite 500
Ottawa, ON K1N 5M3
 

Dear Mr. André Marin:
 

A copy of your interim report, dated 5 March 2001, into the complaints of Captain Bruce Poulin was forwarded to me by the Vice Chief of Defence Staff on 13 March 2001. I welcome the opportunity to provide general comments with respect to the scope and content of the interim report and specific observations where it relates to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) and military police policies, procedures and the circumstances from which recommendations 5 to 9 have been drawn.

General Comments

After reviewing the draft report, I am concerned with the scope of the inquiries undertaken by your office relating to the conduct of the military police in the performance on their policing functions. As you are aware, Part IV of the National Defence Act establishes a mechanism for dealing with conduct complaints against members of the military police. This process, "including the Military Police Complaints Commission, was established to ensure a structured, transparent and accountable oversight process that is fair to both the public and the military police. Any investigation conducted outside the established process for dealing with military police complaints causes me great concern.
 

I recognize that the facts of this case are unique in that the complaints relating to police conduct are incidental to broader allegations of harassment and retaliation. In addition, the military police complaints process was initiated in 1998 and Captain Poulin's complaints were appropriately dismissed following reasonable efforts by the military police to clarify Captain Poulin's concerns; a decision that you found not to have been "unreasonable in these circumstances".
 

The unique circumstances of this case have resulted in your office inquiring into the conduct of military police in the performance of their policing function, something for which I have found no express authorization for your office to do in law, Ministerial Directives, or the relevant 1999 correspondence between your office and the Chief of Review Services. I am sure you will appreciate that under normal circumstances the more appropriate mechanism for considering and addressing the allegations against Brigadier-General Samson, Lieutenant-Colonel Cloutier, Commander Moore, Captain Garrick, and Master Warrant Officer MacFarlane would have been the military police complaints process.
 

I understand that individual military police members have been asked by your office to make comments with respect to portions of the interim report relating to them, Although it is not normally within the purview of individual members to observe on either the specific operations of the CFNIS or Military Police policies and procedures, I expect that these individuals will make comments with a view to suggesting changes to the recommendations in the interim report. I trust that following your due consideration of individual observations and comments, adjustments to the recommendations might be considered. As I have not had the benefit of their respective detailed reviews, I find myself unable to comment on the fullness of the circumstances giving rise to recommendations 5 to 9. However, I do have some preliminary observations to make at this time:
 

Recommendation 5. The Canadian Forces Notional Investigation Service should consult with Captain Poulin and, should he wish to pursue the matter, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service should conduct an investigation into Captain Poulin's allegations that his personal information was leaked to the media.
 

I am surprised to find a recommendation of this nature in the report as it is well outside the scope of your mandate, This recommendation pertains to a matter impacting on a specific military police operational decision of an investigative nature and is within the exclusive area of responsibility of the CFPM.
 

Recommendation 6. The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards should re-issue the official letter dismissing Captain Poulin’s military police complaint, removing the reference to "vexatious ".
 

The Interim Military Police Policy on Complaints against and by Military Police of 13 October 1998 includes a definition of the term "vexatious". This interim complaints policy was implemented to ensure that appropriate institutional safeguards and oversight mechanisms were in effect pending the passage and implementation of the military police complaint process in Bill C-25, This process was approved by Steering Committee overseeing the implementation of the reports to the Minister of National Defence on critical changes to DND/CF including the Military Police. This Steering Committee, chaired by the Chief of Defence Staff, confirmed the appropriateness of the Interim Military Police Complaints process.
 

I recommend that your final report accept the definition of "vexatious" contained in the interim policy. I also believe that the final report should reflect the fact the interim policy was only implemented after being approved by the Steering Committee.
 

Recommendation 7. The Chief of the Defence Staff should ensure appropriate directives are put into place to prevent actions by Canadian Forces members which constitute or which may be perceived by a reasonable person to constitute attempts to influence the course of Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigations outside of the normal investigative process and the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal should be required to report all such action in writing to the Chief of the Defence Staff who will, in turn. cause appropriate action to be taken and will inform the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.
 

Recommendation 8. The Chief of the Defence Staff issues the appropriate directives to ensure that where incidents are referred to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal for investigation that the referral comes from persons within the chain of command who are not identified as potential subjects of any allegations to be investigated.
 

As these two recommendations are closely related, I am dealing with them together.
 

The report concludes that persons who are subjects of Military Police investigations should be precluded from referring matters for investigation to the CFPM or MP investigators in order to prevent perceptions of improper influence (Line 2696). This finding is based on the conclusion that a reasonable member of the public would perceive a "referral" as an attempt at improper influence that would undermine public confidence (Line 2695 refers).
 

Police routinely approach suspects to obtain their side of an allegation –often going to great lengths to get a statement from a suspect. Indeed, the current regulation (QR&O article 106.03) obliges investigators to collect all reasonable available evidence bearing on the guilt or innocence of the person. A volunteered statement is often a windfall.
 

Suspects must be free to present their side of the story, regardless of their rank or position in the service. In many cases such evidence will only be known to the suspects and they need to be able to take their concerns to the police in a timely fashion in order to refute unfounded allegations. The ability of accused persons/suspects to present their side to police is consistent with the presumption of innocence that underscores our justice system. In this respect, it may be argued that unfettered access to the police helps to ensure that the investigation will be conducted fairly.
 

Typically, the perception of undue influence is not related to a suspect or potential accused but rather to high-ranking individuals who might wish to halt the investigation for reasons such as embarrassment to the institution. The solution to "undue influence" lies in institutional safeguards, notably the independent Military Police Complaints Commission. This body and process ensures that police have an external mechanism that can be resorted to where they believe that inappropriate influence is being brought to bear. In the case of the military police, including the CFNIS such safeguards are already contained in the NDA, the regulations and in the VCDS/CFPM Accountability Framework. These institutional safeguards are enhanced through access to independent dedicated legal advice within the Office of the Director of Military Prosecutions through police training, and the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct.
 

In so far as these safeguards are concerned, I note that the interim report recognizes that the office of the CFPM was established, in part, to strive to ensure the conduct of investigations would not be susceptible to influence by other CF authorities. The independent, external oversight provided by the Military Police Complaints Commission and the Military Police Complaints process is the proper means whereby any perceived inappropriate or undue influence may be addressed.
 

Recommendation 9. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service should issue "further press release to correct the original media release and to clearly inform the Canadian public of the complete results of its investigation into the allegations against Lieutenant-General Leach including the fact that it id uncover evidence that individuals within the Canadian Forces chain of command had seen the memorandum submitted by Captain Poulin and were aware of its contents and that the Canadian Force National Investigation Service report recommended in its conclusions that the issue should be reviewed from an administrative perspective by the chain of command.
 

The interim report concludes that there was evidence found that “other individuals within the chain of command had seen the memorandum [of 9 July 96] and were aware of its contents” (Line 2862 refers). The Ombudsman terms the public statement to be "grossly misleading" (line 2869 refers). My review of the interim report suggests that only one officer, Major Lavoie, had first-hand knowledge of the memorandum. Although superior in rank to Captain Poulin, Major Lavoie was not in Captain Poulin's reporting/supervisory chain of command per se.
 

While Captain Poulin had indicated (Line 2770) that his two immediate supervisors (Major Tremblay and LCol Duchesneau) were aware of the memorandum, when interviewed by your investigators, neither was able to recall the memo or its contents.
 

It goes without saying that in a large military organization not every military superior officer will be in one's direct chain of command; everyone reports to someone higher in the chain who in turn reports to someone else higher still and so on -hence the "chain" analogy. This concept defines how command is exercised in virtually all military organizations in the world as well as how reports and information about individuals are brought to the attention of those who exercise senior leadership functions over them. In the context in which this issue arises, (alleged inaction on the part of then MGen Leach) and the focus of the media interest at the time, BGen Samson's explanation, which is summarized on page 98 of the interim report, does appear to be accurate. Moreover, while Captain Poulin was aware that Major Lavoie had seen the memorandum, he does not include him in his list of officers in the chain of command who had knowledge of it. This omission may well be significant.
 

Sufficiency of Evidence

Line 1721 of the interim report correctly notes that pursuant to Ministerial Directives, the Office of the Ombudsman is not mandated to review police discretion or to determine whether Criminal Code or Code of Service Discipline charges are warranted against any individual. I am concerned that this comment in the context of the paragraph as a whole might be perceived as implying that your Office concludes that charges could have been laid against LGen Leach. I recommend that this paragraph be re-worked to ensure such a perception does not arise.
 

Conclusion

As noted, I have not had the benefit of reviewing the observations and comments solicited from individual military police members. I believe it would be appropriate for this office to be provided the opportunity to review a follow-on draft report. This would assist in bringing resolution and closure to the multitude of complaints brought by Captain Poulin.
 

Sincerely,
 

D.A Cooper
Colonel
Canadian Forces Provost Marshal
 

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Captain Poulin 

28 March 2001
 

Me André Marin
DND/CF Ombudsman
Carriageway Building
55 Murray St., Suite 500
Ottawa, Ontario
KIN 5M3
 

Dear Me Marin:
 

Further to our brief meeting on March 5, 2001, this letter acknowledges receipt of your Interim Report [the "Report"] concerning my complaints against members of the senior command at National Defence Headquarters and the National Investigative Service for various acts of reprisals and personal harassment since June 1998 when the existence of my 1996 memorandum containing allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Colonel Serge Label became public. Having given the Report anxious consideration, I now wish to provide you with the following comments.
 

At the risk of appearing ungrateful and unappreciative of the efforts and resolve displayed by you and your staff in investigating this entire matter and in finding in my favour, I must nevertheless open by noting my profound disappointment and considerable regret with, not so much the contents of the Report, but by what the Report fails entirely to address, let alone remedy. To be clear, I am speaking of the overarching failure of the Report to acknowledge, even if only in timid terms, the personal and professional damages, injuries and mental suffering this entire, prolonged, and public affair has caused, and is still causing, me and my family. To a somewhat lesser extent, I am, of course, alluding to the lack of findings and overall conclusions by yourself, as the Ombudsman.
 

Given the asymmetry and severe imbalance, in terms of power, influence and authority, between me and the principals of my complaints, may I be so bold to remind you of the enormous stakes involved for me, right from the start. Armed with much naivety but possessing a sense of duty and a sense of honour honed in during my long association with the Canadian military, despite my status as a junior officer, I felt duty bound to bring, in 1996 allegations of misconduct by a very senior army officer to my then Commander, Lieutenant General Leach. With the power of hindsight, it is now obvious, to you and I, that, from the start, the high command never had any intention to act upon my allegations. Not surprisingly therefore, as soon as the report of my allegations became public in 1998, I not only became instantly the subject of controversy within and outside the Department of National Defence but, worse, I was clearly identified as the source of embarrassment for both the army and its two highest ranking officers: the Commander of the Army and the Chief of the Defence Staff.
 

Assuming, without deciding, that these two gentlemen have acted, since then, in a very professional, detached and objective fashion, and in accordance with the strictest dictates of the CF Code of Ethics and the Code of Military Discipline, taking, initiating or authorizing, directly or indirectly, no career action against me, the fact remains that the same cannot be said for the several of their subordinates who serve in the long chain of command extending down from the Chief of the Defence Staff As you know several of these officers took offense with my actions and reacted in an adverse, if not hostile, fashion to the negative media reports about the high command. From then on, these officers, all senior to me in rank and authority, in their own collective or individual wisdom, decided to treat me as an outcast, a renegade, an unfaithful and disloyal officer. The documented defamatory and vilifying comments written by Lieutenant-Colonel Robertson to Colonel Label about me is but one certain and perfect example of this treatment.
 

In the process, I was maligned, ostracized and scarred for life. Through a thousand rebuffs, many of them subtle, most of them hushed and underhanded, and all of them independent of one another, my career suffered. My performance evaluation plummeted. My prospects for advancement vanished. To wit: the dramatic reduction in my performance evaluation reports since 1997. Professional and regimental bonds, exchanges of camaraderie and manifestations of esprit de corps, forged through a 20-year career with my fellow officers, disappeared almost overnight. The message became overwhelmingly clear: I must cut short my career in the Canadian military. The impact was deeply felt. The damage to my career, to my professional reputation and status is now irreversible. All this, sadly, because in 1996 I decided to act upon the motto which I first learned while undergoing training at the Royal Military College: Truth, Duty, Valour and put my faith in the senior leaders of the Canadian military.
 

Further, I am further astounded to note that your Report is also totally silent about the seven substantiated complaints submitted by me under the Privacy Act which were held as valid by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. These findings by the Privacy Commissioner, which have been in your possession for awhile, could and should have been incorporated in the Report if only because they result from the same set of circumstances and the same cast of characters and serve to corroborate the corrosive nature of the retaliatory actions taken by several senior members of the CF officers corps. They provide also outside objective evidence of the breath and depth to which some CF officers went to strike back against me. It goes without saying that my two complaints submitted under the Access to Information Act, which were each supported by the Information Commissioner of Canada, should also have merited an entry into the Report. Together, these complaints square the circle, indicating a systemic and wide-based pattern of harassment.
 

Allow me also to note that in my considered opinion, the Report is seriously handicapped because it conveniently sidesteps the issue of remedy for my loss. While I appreciate the recommendation that the Chief of the Defence Staff should write me a Letter of Regret acknowledging the failure of the chain of command and promising corrective measures to prevent recurrence, this would effectively do little, if anything, to compensate or mitigate my very substantial loss of professional standing and advancement in my chosen calling or begin to indemnify my family or I for the pain and suffering, indignation and loss of my reputation suffered since 1998.
 

Since 1998, my family and I have had to endure successive months of stress and humiliation and, witness the whittling away of a once-promising military career. Our dreams and hope for the realization of my career goals and ambitions evaporated every passing month. Worse -much worse -silently, we had to watch and hear senior officers and senior military police officials directly involved in the allegations, and the subject of your investigation, unabashedly and consciously mobilize the CF Public Affairs apparatus to issue official denials of any wrongdoing on the part of the senior leadership. This added, in a not inconsiderable way, to my being further denigrated, repudiated and discredited.
 

As if this torture was not enough: allow me to remind you that in the intervening three years, I was changed jobs four times, some of them ad hoc in nature, while awaiting the completion of the investigation. For three years, I have felt totally abandoned by the system: DND, the C.F. and, with respect, the Ombudsman per se. That is why, I feel that the Report has let me down, way down and this even if I were certain to see the actuation of all the key recommendations contained in the Report as it now stands.
 

Ready and anxious to see closure on the entirety and totality of the matters covered in the Report, I trust and hope, however, that the Final Report will contain your very own findings, conclusions and recommendations. This may facilitate the discreet and confidential settlement of this matter with the CF authorities in a forthright manner. It may allow me also to retire quietly, but with dignity, from my chosen profession.
 

Yours truly,

Bruce Poulin
 

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