ARCHIVED - Allegations Against the Canadian Forces Complainant: Captain Bruce Poulin

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

PART THREE: Harassment, retaliation and reprisal within Public Affairs at National Defence Headquarters

Summary of assessment of findings to allegations of harassment, retaliation and reprisal against members of Media Liaison Office within National Defence Headquarters

At the time that his July 9, 1996 memorandum became public, Captain Poulin worked as a public affairs officer within the Media Liaison Office at National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ). His immediate supervisor was Lieutenant-Commander Denise LaViolette. The written complaint Captain Poulin submitted to this Office states he was subjected to numerous instances of harassment by his immediate chain of command and other staff within Director General Public Affairs (DGPA) as retaliation and reprisal for making the allegations contained in the July 9, 1996 memorandum. Captain Poulin also indicates that the members of his chain of command failed to adequately respond to his complaints of retaliation and that ultimately the resulting stress and tension led him to request a transfer out of the Media Liaison Office and into another section within Public Affairs at NDHQ.
 

It should be noted that this Office does not normally investigate complaints of harassment. The Ombudsman's Office agreed to investigate Captain Poulin's complaints at the request of the Chief of Review Services, pursuant to paragraph 7 of this Office's mandate, based on the fact that the specific complaints constituted allegations of retaliation and reprisal stemming from Captain Poulin's identification as the author of the July 9, 1996 memorandum, which was not addressed or acknowledged when he submitted it to Lieutenant-General Leach, at that time Deputy Commander of Land Forces.
 

It is evident that the relationship between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin was not always characterized by mutual professional respect. While Captain Poulin's attitude toward Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette appeared civil, there is evidence to indicate that Captain Poulin harboured a negative impression of her from very early on in their working relationship. Captain Poulin's diary entries capture his thoughts of not wanting to continue working in the Media Liaison Office, and for Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette in particular, months before the events of June 1998.
 

The beginning of the conflict between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin can be traced to the beginning of their working relationship in March 1998, three months prior to the public release of Captain Poulin's memorandum alleging inappropriate behaviour on the part of Colonel Labbé. Captain Poulin's hand-written diary contains many entries that are critical of Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. These entries occur both before and after June 17, 1998. I do not consider it necessary to relate the specifics of the diary entries recorded by Captain Poulin. They are remarkable only in conveying the degree to which Captain Poulin seemed to monitor and record the details of Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's daily activities. The number of entries critical of her suggests that Captain Poulin did not respect Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's leadership and management style and that he was privately contemptuous toward her.
 

The nature of Captain Poulin's employment also contributed to the lack of trust that became apparent between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. Captain Poulin's job while a member of the Media Liaison Office required him to have routine daily contact with members of the media. After his memorandum of July 9, 1996 became public on June 17, 1998, Captain Poulin personally became the subject of considerable media interest. This caused Captain Poulin's superiors to immediately consider moving him out of the Media Liaison Office. The consideration was that his position as a public affairs officer might conflict with his right to converse with members of the media and to express his personal views about his experiences. This option was rejected however, because it was feared moving Captain Poulin might outwardly be perceived as punishing him.
 

The decision to retain Captain Poulin in the Media Liaison Office appears to have been motivated more by external concerns than by sensitivity to the individuals involved and the unique circumstances. Consequently, Captain Poulin was held in a position where his professional responsibilities as a public affairs officer were in conflict with his personal involvement as a subject of considerable media interest. Retained in the Media Liaison Office, Captain Poulin and his activities fell under heightened scrutiny by his superior, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, and to a lesser extent by the senior captain in the office, Captain Jean Morissette, out of a desire to ensure that Captain Poulin's professional obligations were not compromised.
 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed several current and former staff members of the Media Liaison Office and it became apparent that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette favoured a rather close style of managing subordinates.
 

While Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's supervision was characterized as sometimes excessive, she was also described as a caring supervisor who tended to make administrative problems and the general welfare of her subordinates her personal concern. Captain Poulin's reaction to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's style of management contributed to the problems that developed between her and Captain Poulin and were in fact documented by Captain Poulin prior to the July 9, 1996 memorandum having been made public. Specifically, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's tendency to attempt to "look out for the welfare of one of her subordinates" served as a source of hostility for Captain Poulin, who clearly did not welcome Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's involvement in this matter.
 

It is clear that the relationship between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin was not a perfect one and that there were tensions on both sides. It is also clear that during the period immediately following the release of the July 9, 1996 memorandum, Captain Poulin was the subject of much media attention. This obviously caused additional stress and tension to be placed upon him, particularly in his workplace and I am certain that, at times, he found his position very frustrating.
 

I am satisfied, however, that neither Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette nor other members of the Media Liaison Office within NDHQ abused their authority or engaged in a course of harassing behaviour designed to retaliate against Captain Poulin for his role in bringing the allegations contained in the July 9, 1996 memorandum forward.
 

I view the ongoing stress and tension Captain Poulin suffered during this time and his feelings that he was being targeted and subjected to retaliation as directly related to the fact that serious allegations he had brought forward to the chain of command in 1996 had not been acknowledged or responded to. As I have previously indicated, when members present serious problems and issues of concern to their chain of command, they deserve a response. When this does not happen, it is reasonable that such individuals will suffer a loss of confidence in the intentions of the organization and its leadership to treat them fairly.
 

Table of Contents
 

A. Allegations against Lieutenant-Commander Denise LaViolette

Captain Poulin indicates in his written complaint that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, his former immediate supervisor, harassed and retaliated against him and abused her authority over him after his memorandum dated July 9, 1996 became public.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette responded to the relevant sections of the interim report in writing on March 12, 2000. Her response has been carefully reviewed and clarifications added to this final report where appropriate. At the conclusion of her response, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette thanked my staff "for their sensitivity and thoroughness in dealing with this issue."
 

Allegation 1: Use of intimidation and request that Captain Poulin reveal information that was the subject of an ongoing CFNIS investigation

In the written complaint submitted to this Office, Captain Poulin states:
 

On or around June 17, 1998, beginning at approximately 15:00 hrs, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette tried to intimidate me using  “emotional blackmail”  to reveal information when I had been specifically told not to discuss this matter as it was all being investigated by the NIS. Specifically, on the evening of June 17, 1999, she stated:  “I'm not convinced by your (meaning me) answers and that I'm going to lose a lot of sleep over our whole conversation tonight ...” 

 
Further, Captain Poulin alleges that:
 

On or around June 18, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette, who was my immediate supervisor, used her rank and  “emotional blackmail”  against me so that I would reveal more information relating to the case being investigated by the NIS. Specifically, she said that she could no longer  “trust me.” 

 
Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette on audiotape on February 17, 2000.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette acknowledged calling Captain Poulin twice at his residence during the early evening of June 17, 1998. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated her purpose for calling Captain Poulin at home was two-fold. First, she stated she called Captain Poulin after a question was raised by her superior, Colonel Ralph Coleman, about whether Captain Poulin had responded to media queries about having hand-delivered his memorandum of July 9, 1996 to Lieutenant-General Leach. Secondly, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated she needed to clarify her own understanding of the situation so she would be in a position to  “represent [her] subordinate's case to superiors.”  
 

Ombudsman's investigators questioned Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette about her meeting with Captain Poulin that took place in her office on June 18, 1998. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated her questions pertained to Captain Poulin's comments to members of the media on June 17, 1998 and how his July 9, 1996 memorandum made its way to Scott Taylor of Esprit de Corps magazine. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette offered that she believed neither question was the subject of the ensuing investigations by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS).
 

On February 8, 2000, Ombudsman's investigators also interviewed retired Colonel Ralph Coleman as a witness and subject of Captain Poulin's complaint. Mr. Coleman was the Acting Director General Public Affairs when Captain Poulin worked in the Media Liaison Office. As the Acting Director General, Mr. Coleman was in a position to take steps to deal with workplace issues referred to him. Both Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin were his subordinates. Mr. Coleman stated he recalled directing Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette to phone Captain Poulin at home to ascertain when Captain Poulin had provided interviews to the media. Mr. Coleman recalled that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette reported that Captain Poulin was offended his integrity was being questioned and that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette seemed to doubt whether Captain Poulin was being honest with her.
 

On December 14, 1999, Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Captain Jean Morissette on audiotape as a witness and subject of Captain Poulin's allegations. Captain Morissette was Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's second-in-command and served in the Media Liaison Office from January 1997 until March 1999.
 

Captain Morissette related that prior to June 17, 1998, the atmosphere in the workplace at the Media Liaison Office was very good but that, after Captain Poulin's memorandum became public, the tension between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin caused the atmosphere to deteriorate. Captain Morissette further offered that he did not perceive Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette as treating Captain Poulin unfairly. Rather, Captain Morissette stated he felt Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette tried to avoid confrontation with Captain Poulin and avoided assigning him extra tasks.
 

Captain Morissette described Captain Poulin as a very intelligent and professional officer. Captain Morissette related, however, that he believed Captain Poulin to be very absorbed by the situation that pertained to his memorandum and Lieutenant-General Leach's press conference of June 17, 1998. Captain Morissette stated that he believed Captain Poulin enjoyed being the subject of media attention and that he recalled Captain Poulin trying to illicit interest in his case on at least one occasion when speaking with a member of the media.
 

Captain Morissette described Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette as a very professional and dedicated officer who, while very demanding, was also sincerely interested in the welfare of her subordinates. Captain Morissette believed that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette sought to help Captain Poulin but felt Captain Poulin did not welcome her help and that as a result a rift developed.
 

Ombudsman's investigators asked Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette about the meeting she held with Captain Poulin in her office on June 18, 1998. Captain Poulin alleges that, during this meeting, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette  “used her rank and 'emotional blackmail' against [him] so that [he] would reveal more information relating to the case being investigated by the NIS” and stated that she could no longer trust him.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated to the Ombudsman's investigators that she did recall having a discussion with Captain Poulin on June 18, 1998. She also documented her version of this event in a memorandum dated June 26, 1998. Her memorandum was drafted in response to allegations raised about this incident by Captain Poulin in his memorandum to Mr. Coleman of June 25, 1998.
 

As documented in her memorandum of June 26, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was adamant her discussion with Captain Poulin was not an attempt to have Captain Poulin reveal information under investigation by the CFNIS. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette related that her discussion with Captain Poulin sought to address contradictions between media reports and what Captain Poulin had reported to his supervisor about his comments to the media.
 

Assessment

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette acknowledged that she did question Captain Poulin about statements he had made to members of the media and whether he had provided a copy of his July 9, 1996 memorandum to Scott Taylor of Esprit de Corps magazine. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's questioning of Captain Poulin was done in her capacity as Captain Poulin's immediate supervisor.
 

Pursuant to Defence Administrative Order and Directive 2008-2, Canadian Forces (CF) members and employees of the Department of National Defence (DND) are authorized to speak publicly about their own jobs provided certain parameters are respected and supervisors are informed of such activities. However, Captain Poulin's status as a public affairs officer in the Media Liaison Office also entrusted him with responsibilities as a CF spokesperson. In this capacity, Captain Poulin was required to register media queries handled by him in the computer log maintained by the Media Liaison Office. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's questioning of Captain Poulin was in response to a query by Colonel Coleman because, in their view, it appeared that Captain Poulin might have spoken to the media without informing his superiors. I am satisfied that it was not an abuse of authority for Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette or Colonel Coleman as Captain Poulin's supervisors to question him with a view to determining whether he had spoken to a member of the media and not informed his superiors as required by the policy.
 

I am also satisfied that the questions Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette asked Captain Poulin about whether he had spoken to members of the media in relation to the July 9, 1996 memorandum did not constitute intimidation or an attempt to interfere with the ongoing CFNIS investigations. As noted elsewhere in this report, the CFNIS was in fact investigating the allegations of misconduct against Colonel Labbé contained in the July 9, 1996 memorandum and the alleged failure of Lieutenant-General Leach to take appropriate action.
 

Allegation 2: Interference with Captain Poulin's right as a CF member to speak to the media about what he does in his official capacity

Captain Poulin alleges that:
 

On or around June 22, 1998, between approximately 08:00 hrs and 08:15 hrs, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette held a meeting in her office. During that meeting she said that, henceforth, (1) there were to be no longer any  “sidebar”  conversations with the media, we were to be courteous but prompt and to the point, (2) every media request, no matter how silly, was to be registered in the MLO Daily Log, (3) we must never entertain any calls from people working in the media at home (friends who may work for the media included), and (4) we were to follow the rules of the little Public Affairs aide-memoir hand-out to the letter.
 

The directions given to me by Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette stands in stark contrast to the Public Affairs Defence Administrative Orders and Directives dated March 1, 1998. It states:  “This DAOD empowers and encourages DND employees and CF members to speak to the media about what they do in their official capacity as a valuable and important way to provide Canadians with a richer understanding of the day-to-day operations and contributions of the CF and DND.”  It also states:  “It is important to nurture and maintain open and positive relations with the media as a way of reaching out to Canadians and providing them with information about how the CF and DND make a difference.” 

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette recalled the meeting and confirmed that she had called her subordinates, Captain Lynne Chaloux, Captain Morissette and Captain Poulin, into her office to address what she described as her staff  “becoming too casual with members of the media.” Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated that both Captain Chaloux and Captain Poulin were overly familiar with the media whereas she did not feel this was a concern for Captain Morissette. Nonetheless, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette indicated she had issued instructions to all three subordinates rather than single out any individual.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette commented further that she found it interesting that Captain Poulin felt this action was directed at him when she had addressed her instructions to all three captains. Furthermore, she recalled Captain Chaloux coming to see her minutes after the meeting to object because she believed Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's instructions were directed primarily at her.
 

When interviewed by Ombudsman's investigators, Captain Chaloux provided additional comments about this event. Most noteworthy was the fact that, immediately following the general meeting, Captain Chaloux went to see Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette alone in her office to object to her instructions. Captain Chaloux related that she told Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette that she very strongly disagreed with the direction to adopt a  “less friendly” and  “strictly business” tone. Captain Chaloux argued that her  “casual style” worked for her and that she had no intention of changing it. Later that same day, Captain Chaloux recalled, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette came to see her privately and confided that Captain Chaloux's casual style with the media did work for her and that Captain Poulin's approach with the media was her main concern.
 

Captain Poulin indicated to Ombudsman's investigators that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's direction to her staff contradicted Defence Administration Order and Directive 2008-2 which sets out the right of individual members to speak to members of the media about what they do.
 
Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette related that:
 

... if [my staff] received calls from the media ... or conduct interviews related to the DND or the CF they had a responsibility to ensure that these calls were logged in and that I was made aware. I also asked all staff members to re-familiarize themselves with current DAOD's and other Public Affairs hand outs which make it clear that members must advise, either before or after having conducted a media interview, either their chain of command or Public Affairs that an interview will or has taken place. (sic)

 

Assessment

As described by Captain Poulin, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette did direct her staff to be less casual with the media. It is unlikely that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette raised the issue of staff relations with the media independent of events involving Captain Poulin and the release of his July 9, 1996 memorandum. As Captain Poulin's supervisor within the Media Liaison Office, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette had a responsibility to ensure he logged contacts with the media as a representative of DGPA and that any contacts that took place on Public Affairs time were consistent with CF policy and orders and regulations. I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions as a supervisor in this case did not constitute an abuse of her authority.
 

Allegation 3: Checking phone calls received within Media Liaison Office

Captain Poulin alleges that:
 

On or around July 7, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette specifically targeted me by checking all phone calls received in the MLO and insinuating, in front of my peers, that I had failed to carry out all of my responsibilities as a public affairs officer in the MLO.
 

On or around July 7, 1998, at approximately 15:45hrs, I left my cubicle to go to the washroom. When I returned to the MLO, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette asked me how come the list of callers on the call display of the common phone (996-2353/2354) listed a call from Southam News, among others, but there was no such entry in the MLO daily log? She wanted an explanation. I informed her that, indeed, we had received a call from Southam News, but I had logged it in as the Ottawa Citizen because David Pugliese often wrote for the Citizen.

 

Ombudsman's investigators reviewed Captain Poulin's hand-written diary entry for July 7, 1999 and confirmed it describes this event as represented above.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette could not recall this event but asserted that if she had concerns about subordinates' performance, she would discuss the concern with them  “behind closed doors” and not in front of their peers. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette further commented that it was part of her duties to be aware of media queries and issues of media interest and she would review the media query log on a regular basis to brief senior management. Other Media Liaison Office staff commented that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette routinely maintained a close eye on all activities within the Media Liaison Office. As one former subordinate described, she watched office activities  “like a hawk.” This characteristic was echoed by all of Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's subordinates. Some current and former staff remarked Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette did  “micromanage” on occasion and gave examples; for instance, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette would point out that the message-waiting indicator was flashing or direct subordinates to place scrap paper in the recycle bin rather than the trash. Despite considerable commentary surrounding Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's meticulous supervision, however, she was consistently described as  “by the book,”  “fair” and  “professional” in dealing with subordinates. No current or former staff member in the Media Liaison Office recalled her treating anyone, including Captain Poulin, in an unprofessional manner.
 

Assessment

Although Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated she has no recollection of questioning Captain Poulin about an apparent discrepancy between the common media phone's call display feature and the media call log, there is no reason to conclude that Captain Poulin's diary entry did not accurately describe this event.
 

I am not satisfied, however, that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's discovery of a discrepancy between the call display feature of the media phone and the media call log would likely be attributable only to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's meticulous supervision. The volition required to check the call display feature of the media phone and check it with the media log extends beyond Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's usual vigilance. More probably, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette elected to check the call display and verify this information against the log because she held suspicions about whether Captain Poulin had respected the requirement to report discussions with members of the media.
 

It is probable that suspicions surrounding Captain Poulin's interaction with the media caused his activities to be monitored more closely at times than those of his peers. I am satisfied, however, that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions did not constitute an abuse of her authority or that they were intended to harass Captain Poulin as a form of retaliation. Her actions appear to have been consistent with her responsibilities to ensure that subordinate staff respected their obligations to log media inquiries.
 

There is also no evidence to suggest that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's questioning of Captain Poulin was done in an abusive or improper fashion or in such a way that would cause other staff members to notice Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette treating Captain Poulin in other than a professional manner. Although Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's former staff members in the Media Liaison Office indicated that the tension between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was evident, they unequivocally described her as professional in dealing with Captain Poulin.
 

Allegation 4: Failure to correct mistaken impression by Captain Poulin that he was on standby to go to Bosnia

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around July 8, 1998, at approximately 15:30 hrs, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette left her office with Capt. Lynne Chaloux (MLO) and came over to my cubicle. Capt. L. Chaloux said that Capt. Tom St-Denis (public affairs officer) might have mononucleosis and if so, then I would be going to Bosnia instead of him within the next nine days. I informed her it was my understanding that Capt. James Simiana (Public Affairs Materiel) had been placed on stand-by. So, I reasoned, he would be the most likely candidate to go and not me. Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette was standing close by and overheard our conversation but made no effort to reassure me or support my deduction that it should be Capt. J. Simiana who should go if Capt. St-Denis could not.
 

Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette waited until July 15, 1998 before denying the rumour that Capt. Chaloux had told me. The stress my family and I had to endure during that week was unacceptable.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions, as my immediate supervisor and given my situation at the time, was a direct violation of her responsibilities as an Officer under QR&O 4.02(c). It states:  “An Officer shall promote the welfare, efficiency and good discipline of all subordinates.” 

 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Captain Lynne Chaloux at her current place of duty in 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters, Winnipeg on February 29, 2000. Captain Chaloux first met Captain Poulin in the autumn of 1997 and worked in the Media Liaison Office with him from March 1998 until her deployment to Bosnia in June 1998. Captain Chaloux described having a friendly working relationship with Captain Poulin.
 

When Ombudsman's investigators questioned Captain Chaloux, she could not understand how Captain Poulin could have concluded he would be deployed to Bosnia. Captain Chaloux related that there was a primary and alternate candidate designated for each deployment and that Captain Poulin was not even an alternate. Captain Chaloux opined that it just did not make sense for Captain Poulin to believe he was to be deployed under the circumstances he described.
 

The Ombudsman's investigators also related the details of Captain Poulin's diary entry to Captain Chaloux. In an entry dated July 8, 1998, Captain Poulin wrote:
 

At approximately 15:30 hours after spending almost forty minutes behind closed doors with Commander Laviolette, Lynne Chaloux said that Captain St. Denis may have mono. If so, she asked what I thought of going to Bosnia.

 
Captain Chaloux vaguely recalled an issue involving Captain Tom St. Denis being ill during his pre-deployment training, but Captain Chaloux did not believe it had threatened Captain St. Denis' deployment. Captain Chaloux did not provide any information related to Captain Poulin's assertion that he was led to believe he might be deployed to Bosnia on short notice. Subsequently, the Ombudsman's investigators asked if she had ever joked with Captain Poulin about his going to Bosnia. Captain Chaloux did not have a specific memory of doing so, but related that she and Captain Poulin appreciated humour in the workplace. Consequently, Captain Chaloux speculated that, within the context of their working relationship it was  “very possible” that she had joked with Captain Poulin about his having to be on the next plane to Bosnia.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated that she was never aware of any rumours that Captain Poulin was being considered for deployment to Bosnia. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette added that Captain Poulin had not brought any such concerns to her attention nor was she privy to the conversation that Captain Chaloux might have had with Captain Poulin.
 

Captain Poulin did not indicate to Ombudsman's investigators or record in his diary that he sought relief or brought this concern to the attention of any CF or DND authority.
 

An Ombudsman's investigator spoke with Captain St. Denis via telephone on September 1, 2000. Captain St. Denis began pre-deployment training in March 1998 and was deployed to Bosnia from July 1998 to January 1999. Captain St. Denis stated that he was never suspected to have mononucleosis or any other illness and he was unaware that his suitability or fitness for deployment was ever questionable for any reason.
 

The investigator also spoke with Captain James Simiana by telephone on September 7, 2000 regarding his deployment to Bosnia and whether he had been an alternate candidate for Captain St. Denis. Captain Simiana responded that he was not. He was the alternate for Captain Chaloux and that he deployed to Bosnia to replace her at the conclusion of Captain Chaloux's deployment.
 

Assessment

I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette did not unfairly leave Captain Poulin to believe that he would be deployed to Bosnia on short notice.
 

There is no reason to conclude that Captain Poulin's diary entries are not a true record of this event as he perceived it. I do not conclude, however, that his interpretation was a reasonable one. Captain Poulin related that he believed that he would be deployed to Bosnia as a result of a casual comment from a peer, despite the fact that he was aware that there was another person designated as an alternate for the individual in question. Captain Poulin's allegation is based on his assertion that he believed he would be deployed to an operational theatre for a period of six months on as little as nine days' notice.
 

One would clearly expect that the first thing a person would do when confronted with such a rumour would be to speak to a supervisor or another member of the chain of command to attempt to verify the information. Although Captain Poulin indicated he and his family endured considerable stress as a result of his belief that he would be deployed to Bosnia, there is no indication that he brought this matter to the attention of any of his supervisors to attempt to verify the information or that he sought relief from any agency or person (i.e., clergy member or social worker) available to him.
 

Allegation 5: Searching Captain Poulin's office space

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around July 9, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette conducted a clandestine inspection of my cubicle after I had left the office at the end of the day. The next morning she stated that I had not kept my taxi "chits" report up to date so she relieved me of that responsibility immediately thereupon.

 

Captain Poulin also refers to this incident in a paper he wrote for the 1998 Defence Ethics Conference. Specifically, he writes:
 

Some people were going through my office space unbeknown to me, for example, and then told me that they had found something, which led them to conclude I was not carrying out my responsibilities correctly. As a result of this surprise inspection, I was rebuked and relieved of certain responsibilities.

 

Ombudsman's investigators questioned Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette regarding this allegation. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette responded that she had not conducted an inspection of staff work areas. Rather, she related that Captain Poulin's secondary duty was to administer the section's taxi chits. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette contends that the chits and the consumption register were kept in Captain Poulin's overhead storage area and that all staff members were aware of this location so they could access the chits when required. Other members of the Media Liaison Office intereviewed by Ombudsman's investigators corroborated this information and the existence of this practice.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated that on July 9, 1998 she had worked late and missed the last bus home as a result. Consequently, she proceeded to get a taxi chit and noticed that the register had not been updated since June 18, 1998. On July 10, 1998, after informing her superior Colonel Coleman of her intention, she spoke to Captain Poulin about his administration of the taxi chits. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette informed him that she was responsible for the section's taxi chits and, as this was the third occasion she had discussed the issue with Captain Poulin, she was assuming control of the chits.
 

Assessment

While the events described did occur, I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions did not constitute an abuse of her authority. They were not motivated by a desire to retaliate or inflict reprisals upon Captain Poulin. As Captain Poulin's supervisor, she was entitled and had the responsibility to exercise her discretion to deal with matters of job performance and to ensure that Captain Poulin and other subordinates fulfilled their responsibilities. Although Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette could have taken different action in this case, I am satisfied that her exercise of discretion to relieve Captain Poulin of the duty to administer taxi chits was not improper. Other than re-allocating this duty, there is no indication that any other measures were taken against Captain Poulin by Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette.
 

All staff members of the Media Liaison Office interviewed by my investigators, including Captain Poulin, indicated they were aware the taxi chit vouchers and the consumption log was located in the overhead storage area within Captain Poulin's work area. It was not uncommon for the chits to be required after Captain Poulin had left work for the day and for members of the office to go into this storage area and retrieve a chit. Captain Poulin typically reported earlier for work in the morning and departed at 1500 hours. Accordingly, I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's after-hours access to a taxi chit could not be characterized as a  “clandestine inspection.” 
 

Allegation 6: Attempt to prevent Captain Poulin from giving statement to the CFNIS during ongoing investigation

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around July 29, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette tried to prevent me from testifying before the NIS. It eventually took the intervention of her immediate supervisor (the then Cdr B. Frewer) to allow me to attend my own interview with the NIS. Her lack of support in this matter was inappropriate.
 

Making it difficult for me to testify before the NIS was a direct violation of QR&O 4.02(c). It states:  “An Officer shall promote the welfare, efficiency and good discipline of all subordinates.” 

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette acknowledged that she no doubt was frustrated to learn, at the last minute, that Captain Poulin would be required to leave his work responsibilities in order to be interviewed by CFNIS investigators. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette admits it was likely she had asked Captain Poulin if he could reschedule this interview because he was the only individual on the media phones that day. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette asserts that she spoke to Captain (Navy) Barry Frewer to request he designate a replacement for Captain Poulin on that afternoon.Ombudsman's investigators questioned Captain (Navy) Frewer about this allegation during their interview with him on January 31, 2000. He stated that, while Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette had informed him of Captain Poulin's need to meet with the CFNIS, he did not recall any suggestion that such a meeting should be cancelled. Captain Poulin's interview with the CFNIS was conducted as scheduled.
 

Assessment

I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's request for Captain Poulin to reschedule his interview as a result of staffing issues within the Media Liaison Office did not constitute an attempt to prevent Captain Poulin from being interviewed by the CFNIS or to interfere with his participation in the ongoing CFNIS investigations.
 

Allegation 7: Chastising Captain Poulin for not informing her of his whereabouts

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint that:
 

On or around October 9, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette chastised me for not keeping her informed as to my whereabouts. Her actions were uncalled for given that the incidents she had referred to had been passed on to either Cdr Frewer and/or Capt. Morissette. The latter, you will note, had even put most of my scheduled activities on the MLO monthly calendar.

 

When interviewed by Ombudsman's investigators in response to this allegation, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated she had discussed with Captain Poulin the need for him to keep her informed when he would be away from the office and of activities he would be participating in that related directly to the CF. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette further stated that this requirement was expected of everyone in the office. Captain Morissette confirmed to Ombudsman's investigators that this was standard practice and just common sense.
 

During his interview with Ombudsman's investigators, Captain Morissette stated that Captain Poulin would often inform him, rather than Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, of his activities. Captain Morissette described Captain Poulin's actions in this regard as a  “bit of a game.”  Specifically, Captain Morissette related that, although Captain Poulin could have simply sent an e-mail to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, who was his direct supervisor, he would inform Captain Morissette or Captain (Navy) Frewer instead.
 

Assessment

Captain Poulin, like other members of the office, was expected to keep his immediate supervisor, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, informed of his activities and his whereabouts in general. If Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette felt Captain Poulin was not meeting this expectation, it was not inappropriate for her to raise the issue with him, regardless of whether Captain Poulin had informed Captain Morissette or Captain (Navy) Frewer. This allegation is a trivial matter attributable to the ongoing personality conflict that existed between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin. I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette did not abuse her authority in this instance.
 

Allegation 8: Discussing conflict with Captain Poulin with other members of Media Liaison Office

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

Between June 17 and my departure from the MLO on or around November 2, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette often called my colleagues at their residences at night to inquire about me and my activities during the day in the MLO. This tactic frustrated my colleagues and contributed to an increasingly unhealthy working environment in the MLO. This whole matter was only brought to my attention on or around October 22, 1998 at approximately 08:25 hrs.

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated that Captain Morissette and Captain Chaloux were friends she had known socially for 12 and 6 years respectively and acknowledges that she likely called them dozens of times between June 17, 1998 and November 2, 1998. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette asserts, however, that on only one or two occasions did she discuss Captain Poulin with Captain Morissette during a phone call to his home after hours.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated that she spoke with Captain Morissette about the situation in the office and solicited his feedback as her second-in-command. During one such conversation, when she shared some of her concerns regarding her strained relationship with Captain Poulin, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette first realized that other staff members were being negatively affected by the tension between herself and Captain Poulin. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated that Captain Morissette told her that he felt  “caught in the middle” and that he had also related this feeling to Captain Poulin.
 

Captain Morissette related to Ombudsman's investigators that he had felt caught in between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin and that he had striven to remain neutral and not take sides in their differences.
 

Captain Morissette recalled Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette calling him at home a few times to  “let off steam” and to solicit his opinion regarding the way she was conducting herself with Captain Poulin. Captain Morissette also recalled telling Captain Poulin that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette had phoned him at home and that he had conveyed to Captain Poulin that he felt frustrated at being caught in between him and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette.
 

Assessment

Without any question, the ongoing conflict that existed between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette contributed to an atmosphere that, as Captain Poulin describes,  “frustrated [his] colleagues and contributed to an increasingly unhealthy working environment in the MLO.”  
 

It is apparent that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was unable to resolve the ongoing conflict between herself and Captain Poulin. In fact, many of the efforts she made served only to exacerbate the situation. It is unfortunate that the ongoing personality conflict with Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette appears to have prevented Captain Poulin from accepting comments of support from his immediate chain of command.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette clearly was exasperated in her attempts to deal with the conflict between her and Captain Poulin to the point that she sought the advice of Captain Morissette, the second-in-command in the Media Liaison Office, regarding her working relationship with Captain Poulin. At this time, it first became evident to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette that the conflict was affecting the working environment and other members on her staff. Understandably, Captain Morissette tired of the conflict between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and it is evident that Captain Morissette struggled not to take sides between them.
 

The personality conflict between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin was aggravated by the increasing tensions related to Captain Poulin's identification as the author of the July 9, 1996 memorandum and his airing of his concerns about his subsequent treatment by CF leaders to members of the media. It is clear, however, that this personality conflict existed well prior to the press conference during which Captain Poulin's memorandum was made public.
 

As noted previously, many members of the Media Liaison Office described Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette as a very committed and devoted supervisor who genuinely tried on many occasions to solve this ongoing conflict and who openly sought the advice of others with a view to trying to ameliorate the situation. It appears, however, that she was sufficiently occupied by the ongoing conflict with Captain Poulin that she was not sensitive to how her other subordinates might be affected.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's efforts to improve her working relationship with Captain Poulin were unsuccessful. I am satisfied, however, that her discussions of this matter with her second-in-command did not directly contribute to an unhealthy work environment or that they represented acts of retaliation or reprisal resulting from Captain Poulin's authorship of the June 9, 1996 memorandum.
 

Allegation 9: Failure to inform Captain Poulin of the CFNIS press conference to release results of ongoing investigations into allegations against Lieutenant-General Leach and Colonel Labbé

Captain Poulin alleges that:
 

In contrast to the support given by DGPA to Lt.-Gen. Leach on or around October 26, 1998 when the NIS prepared to issue their News Release (NR CFPM-98.044) about the two relevant NIS investigations, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette would not even show me the subject News Release until after it had been distributed to the media.
 

Fearful that I would make a comment to the media about the NIS News Release (CFPM-98.044) she deliberately withheld information from me to the effect that the media were at NDHQ in the concourse at approximately 15:30hrs on or around October 26, 1998. As an officer in the MLO I, like everyone else in the MLO, should have been informed of the subject news conference. Instead, I was singled out and ostracised by the Head MLO.
 

Her actions also violated the Public Affairs Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (2008-2) dated March 1, 1998,  “... empowers and encourages DND employees and CF members to speak to the media about what they do in their official capacity as a valuable and important way to provide Canadians with a richer understanding of the day-to-day operations and contributions of the CF and DND.” 

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette provided a written statement regarding this allegation:
 

At approximately 0815 on 26 Oct, I spoke to Captain Bissonnette from the NIS who advised me that they would be putting out a release on the findings of an investigation that morning. I was provided with this information as I am the person responsible for the distribution of releases to the media. [Captain Bissonnette] advised me that other individuals would be told of this release as they were directly implicated in the investigation. Captain Poulin was to be one of these individuals. Later that morning, at approximately 0940 Captain Bissonnette provided me with a copy of the release. I asked him if I could advise my superior that it was going to be issued today and he said yes. Shortly afterwards I advised Cdr Frewer of such.
 

At 1135, I asked to speak to Captain Poulin in my office. I wanted to ensure that he had received a call from the NIS before the release went out. He told me that the NIS had advised him. The CFPM is independent and it was not up to me to show Captain Poulin the release. I did however make sure he had been briefed by the NIS previous to the document being sent to media. (sic)

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette also strongly disagreed with Captain Poulin's assertion that, because she was fearful of him making a comment to the media, she withheld information regarding the results of the CFNIS investigations. In response, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette states:
 

In the discussion I had with [Captain Poulin] earlier that day, I told him that I thought it would be inappropriate for him to be answering media calls directly as he was a major player in the issue. I told him that the MLOs would answer calls and any request received asking to speak to him would be passed on to him and it would be up to him to decide if he would speak to them or not.

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette further indicated she believed the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) was involved in the media scrum and that it was organized by staff from the CFPM's office. The CFNIS employs a military police officer who has undergone training as a media spokesperson to conduct relations with the media. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette did not recall whether Media Liaison Office staff assisted, but asserted that Captain Poulin's participation in the press conference to release results of the CFNIS investigations would not constitute  “what he does in his official capacity.”  
 

Captain Morissette also described to Ombudsman's investigators the procedures implemented regarding Captain Poulin's media liaison activities. Captain Morissette stated that Captain Poulin was instructed not to answer the media lines directly for the reason that Captain Poulin had himself become the subject of considerable media interest. Consequently, it was not considered appropriate for Captain Poulin to be answering media calls directly in his capacity as a public affairs officer for the CF. Calls were to be fielded by other staff members and those queries that were not related to Captain Poulin, Colonel Labbé or Lieutenant-General Leach were referred to Captain Poulin to handle in his capacity as a public affairs officer.
 

Captain Morissette related that, in an effort to balance Captain Poulin's role as a public affairs officer with his right to communicate with the media on matters that pertained to him personally, media queries that concerned Captain Poulin personally were referred to him to respond to if he wished.
 

Assessment

I am not satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions as head of the Media Liaison Office constituted an abuse of her authority in this instance.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was provided with a copy of the CFNIS press release solely in her capacity as the head of the Media Liaison Office and not as the supervisor to an individual involved in the investigations. I am satisfied with Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's explanation that, as supervisor in the Media Liaison Office, she made the decision that media inquiries related to this matter would be referred to other members of the office and not to Captain Poulin because of his involvement in this matter. As the supervisor, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was entitled and indeed had the responsibility to designate which staff members were assigned to deal with specific media issues as she deemed appropriate. I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette did not act improperly by not giving Captain Poulin an advance copy of the CFNIS press release prior to its release to the media. I am not satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette had any obligation to give Captain Poulin an advance copy of the CFNIS press release, nor am I satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette sought to prevent Captain Poulin from speaking to the media about his experiences as the author of the July 9, 1996 memorandum.
 

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

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around October 27, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette deliberately withheld information from me to the effect that my wife had called and said that I needed to call home ASAP because there was a  “family emergency.” 
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions in this instance was also a direct violation of QR&O 4.02(c). It states:  “An Officer shall promote the welfare, efficiency and good discipline of all subordinates.” 

 

Captain Poulin also states in his written complaint:
 

In [Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's] memo dated November 13, 1998, addressed to the then Cdr. Frewer she stated that:  “All three confirmed that I had not been made aware that the call from his wife was urgent ... ”  was incorrect. In fact, she had been told that it was a  “family emergency.”  Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Lieutenant (Navy) Ken MacKillop as a witness to this allegation on December 1, 1999. In October 1998, Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop had been in the Media Liaison Office for about one month as an on-job-training candidate under Captain Morissette and Captain Poulin.

 

When asked by my investigators whether he had information relating to an emergency call that was received from Captain Poulin's wife, Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop stated he had been the one to receive this call and that he was the only one in the office at that moment. Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop stated:
 

... this particular morning I believe I was in the office by myself. A call came in and I answered it. It was Captain Poulin's wife who indicated that she'd like Captain Poulin to call her as soon as possible because it was an emergency. I then hung up the phone and started walking around the floor - I knew he had been in the office already - to see if I could locate him.

 

Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop recalled that he was  “asking a few people around the floor if they had seen Captain Poulin because his wife wanted him to call her right away ...” but he did not find Captain Poulin. Upon returning to the Media Liaison Office, Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop stated, he found that Captain Morissette had arrived and informed him of the telephone message for Captain Poulin. Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop stated he believed Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was not in the office when he returned. He was uncertain if Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was made aware of the call but assumed she was because he had  “... been running around telling folks so I assumed folks were aware ... but I couldn't say that [Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette] knew or not.”  
 

In a memorandum dated 28 October 1998, outlining his concerns about this incident, Captain Poulin wrote:
 

Subsequent to the above-cited 27 October meeting, I was told that my wife had called earlier that morning while I was away saying that there was a  “family emergency”  and that I needed to  “phone her immediately.”  The reason I did not know about the urgency of my wife's request was that L.-Cdr. Laviolette had arbitrarily decided that her meeting with me to discuss her displeasure with my performance was more important than my family. Consequently, L.-Cdr. Laviolette told Lt(N) Ken MacKillop to keep quiet about the phone call until she had spoken to me.

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette told Ombudsman's investigators that when she initially received Captain Poulin's memorandum dated October 28, 1998, she informed him that she was unaware that the call had been urgent. Based on this discussion, Captain Poulin agreed to rewrite his memorandum.
 

In his written complaint, Captain Poulin further asserts:
 

Later that week, two civilian employees (Paul Burbridge and Tim Dickman) who worked in the MLO (media monitoring) when this incident occurred approached me and said they distinctly heard Lt(N) MacKillop tell L.-Cdr. Laviolette that it was a  “family emergency”  and that she had directed that she would see me first before I was to be given that message. When I approached Lt(N) MacKillop with this information provided by other witnesses, he stated to me that he never said he had not told her it was a  “family emergency”  but now he simply could not recall whether he had told her or not.

 

When interviewed by Ombudsman's investigators, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette maintained that, while she absolutely recalled Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop informing her Captain Poulin's wife had called, she did not know the call had been urgent. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette further stated that, after speaking with Captain Poulin, she asked him to pass this information along to his wife as well. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette stated that she believed at the time that they had resolved this issue.
 

Investigators from this Office asked Captain Morissette if he recalled the issue of Captain Poulin's wife leaving a message for Captain Poulin about a family emergency. Captain Morissette responded that he remembers that happening but it was not him who took the call. Captain Morissette stated that either Lieutenant (Navy) MacKillop or John Coppard was present when Captain Poulin's wife called. Captain Morissette also recalled the meeting in Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's office in which Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette addressed her concerns about Captain Poulin's personal communications with the media. He related that, at the conclusion of the meeting, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette informed Captain Poulin that his wife had called.
 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Mr. Paul Burbridge as a witness to this allegation on November 19, 1999. Mr. Burbridge performs electronic media monitoring within Public Affairs. His work area was co-located within the Media Liaison Office during the time Captain Poulin worked as a member of the staff of the Media Liaison Office. Mr. Burbridge stated that he perceived Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette to scrutinize Captain Poulin's activities more closely than she would others' activities.
 

Mr. Burbridge stated that he recalled the issue of Captain Poulin's wife leaving a message for Captain Poulin to call home because of a family emergency. Mr. Burbridge stated that he believed Captain Morissette had taken the call and announced to the office that there was a family emergency and Captain Poulin should phone home immediately. Mr. Burbridge stated:
 

... Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, when she overheard this, asked everyone that when Captain Poulin returned to the office, that he not be told about this message because she needed to see him urgently ... that she'd tell him about the message after their conversation.

 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Mr. Tim Dickman as a witness to this allegation. Mr. Dickman is a computer system administrator and his office was co-located with the Media Liaison Office at the time Captain Poulin was a member of the staff of the Media Liaison Office.
 

Mr. Dickman stated:
 

I believe it was Captain Jean 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, 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.” 

 

Both Mr. Dickman and Mr. Burbridge indicated their support for Captain Poulin and they both stated Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette had directed that Captain Poulin was not to be told of the call but, rather, she would inform him once she had completed her meeting with him.
 

When Captain Poulin returned to the Media Liaison Office, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette immediately spoke with him about a media interview he had allegedly given and not reported to his chain of command. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette informed Captain Poulin at the conclusion of the meeting that his wife had called. In her response to the interim report, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette noted that she had waited for Captain Poulin for close to one hour, that his wife had not called back during this time, that her meeting with Captain Poulin and Captain Morissette lasted less than 10 minutes and that Captain Poulin was able to call his wife at the end of the meeting.
 

Assessment

Although Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette appears not to have been in the Media Liaison Office at the time of the phone call from Captain Poulin's wife, clearly she was aware there was a message for Captain Poulin to call home. There is conflicting evidence as to whether she was aware of the fact that Captain Poulin's wife had said that there was a  “family emergency.”  
 

Whether or not Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was aware of the fact that Captain Poulin's wife had called in relation to a family emergency, there appears to be no justification as to why he was not given the message and an opportunity to call his wife prior to the meeting with Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. A number of staff members were aware of the message and proceeded to search for Captain Poulin to give it to him. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette clearly directed staff not to pass the telephone message to Captain Poulin. I am satisfied that, in doing this, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette went beyond the limits of her authority. There was no justification provided as to why the meeting could not have waited until Captain Poulin was given an opportunity to receive the message and return his wife's call.
 

It should be noted that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions do not appear to have been made in bad faith or out of any deliberate desire to harass or inflict reprisals on Captain Poulin. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's omission in this instance, although not to be condoned, appears attributable to the ongoing conflict between her and Captain Poulin and the increasing tensions it produced.
 

Allegation 11: Indicating that Captain Poulin was a liar in front of another member of the Media Liaison Office

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint that:
 

On or around October 27, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette called me a  “liar”  in front of one of my peers. As a superior officer and my immediate supervisor, her action in this instance was unacceptable.

 

Captain Poulin clarified for Ombudsman's investigators that the peer referred to in Captain Poulin's statement was Captain Jean Morissette.
 

Captain Morissette recalled being present at a meeting with Captain Poulin in Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's office, in which Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette sought confirmation from Captain Morissette about whether Captain Poulin had been speaking to the media without entering the media contacts into the media log as required by media liaison policy. Captain Morissette stated:
 

... at a certain point, [LaViolette] said ... Jean, do you get the feeling [Bruce has] been speaking to the media without entering it into the log book? I said yes because I could hear him sometimes talking to the media and trying to elicit some interest in his story. So then [LaViolette] asked me, Jean, do you know for sure ... yes or no whether he spoke to the media? The truth was that I had really noticed ... that happened. (translation of interview conducted in French)

 

Captain Morissette recalled that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette suggested  “...[Captain Poulin] was a liar because [he was] not telling [her] everything that's going on the way it's been happening ...”  Captain Morissette related further that the meeting was  “tense but controlled.”  
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette provided a written reply to the allegation during her interview with investigators from this Office on February 17, 2000. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette writes:
 

At 1120 on 27 Oct, I asked to see both Captain Morissette (my 2iC who I wanted there as a witness) and Captain Poulin. I asked Captain Poulin to clarify points that had appeared in the media that morning.

 

I asked him why he had told me the day before that he did not receive media calls on his personal line when the Citizen article indicated otherwise. He repeated that he did not. I then asked him how media would have gotten his direct line. He told me I would have to ask them. I then asked Captain Morissette if he had ever seen Captain Poulin receive calls on his direct line. Captain Morissette answered yes. I also told Captain Poulin that I myself had seen him receiving media calls on his personal line. I asked Captain Poulin why he appeared to be lying to me. He said he was not lying.
 

Assessment

I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette clearly indicated during her meeting with Captain Poulin and Captain Morissette, the second-in-command of the Media Liaison Office, that she believed Captain Poulin was lying to her when he indicated he had not been receiving calls from the media on his personal line while working in the Media Liaison Office. The basis for this meeting was Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's concern that Captain Poulin was engaging in contact with members of the media during office hours and in his professional capacity as a CF public affairs officer without logging the media inquiries as required by media liaison policy or reporting any personal comments made to the media as required of all CF members.
 

As supervisor in the Media Liaison Office, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was acting within her authority when she confronted Captain Poulin, who was a member of her staff, with her belief that he had been violating the policies. Her indication to him that she did not believe his denial and that she felt that he was lying was based on her own observations and the observations provided by Captain Morissette. Captain Morissette was the second-in-command of the Media Liaison Office and was present during the meeting. I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's actions in this instance did not constitute an abuse of her authority.
 

Allegation 12: Change in Media Liaison Office policy to require that logs of media inquiries about Captain Poulin record what line the call was received on

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around November 4, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette unilaterally changed the MLO policy regarding media queries for me. She told her staff that they would have to include what phone line was used by media seeking to interview me was unacceptable and contrary to MLO policy. She deliberately chose this tactic in her attempt to discredit me.

This was the first time in 1,729 requests (since March 1998) that it was now deemed necessary to include which phone line the media had used to make a request.

 

Captain Poulin further stated that, when he learned of this entry in the media request log, he brought this to the attention of Captain (Navy) Frewer, who agreed it was inappropriate and indicated he would speak to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette about Captain Poulin's concern.
 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette provided a written response and was also questioned by the Ombudsman's investigators regarding this allegation. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette states:
 

I recall having a conversation with the MLOs (new personnel) which included reminding everyone of my directive that I did not want media calls to come in on personal lines. Once again this was a long-standing procedure in the MLO. There are two media lines equipped with voice mail that are designated for media....I do not recall telling anyone to log in which line the call came through when receiving a request to speak to Captain Poulin.
 

... Captain Poulin did not come to see me with regards to this issue. This item refers to a media request dated 04 Nov 98 14:44, from Michael McAuliffe. The call was received by Lt(N) Vanier and handled by him. On the initial request form a line was included that indicated that this call had come in on the desk officer's personal line. As soon as Cdr Frewer brought this to my attention I had the line removed and spoke to Captain Poulin about it. This matter appeared to be closed.
 

There was nothing malicious about this incident and you will note that no other media calls from Captain Poulin ever included what phone line the call had come through. This was simply a misunderstanding possibly caused by my reiterating the policy of not receiving media calls on personal lines.

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette further maintains that:
 

At no time did I initiate, approve or was told to initiate any such policy. Direction given to Media Liaison Officers remains as it has always been; media queries are logged in, processed and answered in a timely fashion.

 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Lieutenant (Navy) Yves Vanier in the Conference Room of the Ombudsman's Office located at 185 Sparks Street in Ottawa on January 11, 2000. Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier began working as Media Liaison Officer in February 1999 under Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. In November 1998, Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier attended a month-long period of on-job training in the Media Liaison Office. Captain Morissette was responsible for Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier's on-job training.
 

Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier stated that all media requests were treated in the same manner and that the direction given to him as a new member of the Media Liaison Office was to treat media queries for Captain Poulin like any others. He further stated that the media interest in Captain Poulin was well known. Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier related that, for media requests that pertained to Captain Poulin personally, a request to speak with Captain Poulin would be referred to Captain Poulin or his immediate supervisor.
 

The procedure described by Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier is consistent with how all media requests to speak with any CF member are handled by the Media Liaison Office. Once a referral is made, individual members may decide whether they wish to speak to the media or not. If a member chooses to speak to the media, however, the member is required to adhere to Defence Administration Order and Directive 2008-2, which defines the scope and responsibilities governing CF members' communications with members of the media.
 

Ombudsman's investigators also interviewed Captain Marc Thériault as a witness to this allegation in the boardroom of the Ombudsman's Office located at 55 Murray Street in Ottawa on October 26, 2000. Captain Thériault had undergone on-job training in the Media Liaison Office in November 1998. Captain Thériault also stated that he had subsequently worked with Captain Poulin in another section for an 11-month period concluding in November 1999. Captain Thériault commented that, while he was sensitive to some tension between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette during his time in the Media Liaison Office, he did not recall observing any specific interaction between the two.
 

When asked about the process regarding the logging of media queries pertaining to Captain Poulin, Captain Thériault indicated that requests concerning Captain Poulin were treated in the same manner as any other media request. Ombudsman's investigators asked if the line on which an incoming call was received was recorded in the media request. Captain Thériault responded it was not and that the log did not include space for that information. Captain Thériault could not recall having received any direction to record the line used for incoming calls nor could he recall Captain Poulin questioning him about this event.
 

Assessment

I am satisfied the allegation that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette unilaterally changed the Media Liaison Office policy to log whether Captain Poulin received media calls on his personal line is not substantiated.
 

My investigators found one occasion on which the specific phone line was noted in the media query log. On this one occasion, an incoming media call had dialled in on Captain Poulin's designated line rather than on one of the two phones dedicated to media queries. When Captain Poulin became aware of the note in the media query log, he reported it to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's immediate supervisor, Captain (Navy) Barry Frewer. Captain (Navy) Frewer had agreed there was no need to record the phone line used for a media query and had spoken to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette agreed and deduced that the entry was attributable to a misunderstanding on the part of Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier, possibly caused by Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's recent reminder to her staff to ensure media queries were received on the designated media lines rather than on staff members' personal lines.
 

While it is understandable that Captain Poulin was sensitive to Media Liaison Office staff recording the receipt of calls on his personal phone line, I am not satisfied that this action was a result of a change in office policy motivated by an intent to discredit Captain Poulin.
 

Allegation 13: Change in Media Liaison Office policy not to log calls from members of the media who requested to personally speak with Captain Poulin

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint to this Office:
 

On or around December 8, 1998, I spoke with Capt. Scott Lundy (OJT- MLO). He asked if I had received a phone call from a journalist earlier in the morning? I said no but that would not be a problem because I would come over to the MLO and get the pertinent information from the MLO Daily Log. Capt. Lundy said that that would not be necessary because he had not registered the call. I asked him to explain his actions. He responded stating that for the last 1 1/2 weeks he had been instructed to no longer register the call whenever a journalist or other person called and asked to speak with me personally.
 

On or around December 10, 1998, at approximately 09:00hrs, I approached Capt. J. Morissette in the DGPA Conference room and asked him about what I perceived to be a new policy (within) the MLO regarding phone calls for me from journalists (see entry on or around December 8, 1998). He said that the MLO were using their  “discretionary powers”  whether they needed to register any calls from journalists.
 

Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette's initiation or tacit approval of a policy (on or around December 10, 1998) to grant more  “discretionary powers”  as to whether her MLO staff should register media phone calls for me in the MLO Daily Log directly contravened the MLO Office Functions - Detailed Procedures for MLO and DGPA DO checklist. It states under  “Media Queries”  that:  “Update the Daily Media Query Log upon reception of the request.”  
 

Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette's actions in this instance was also a direct violation of QR&O 4.02(c). It states:  “An Officer shall promote the welfare, efficiency and good discipline of all subordinates.” 

 

In response to this allegation, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette provided the following information in a written statement to Ombudsman's investigators:
 

This statement is absolutely false. At no time did I initiate, approve or was told to initiate any such policy. Direction given to Media Liaison Officers remains as it has always been; media queries are logged in, processed and answered in a timely fashion.

 

Captain Morissette also stated to Ombudsman's investigators that all queries, including those concerning Captain Poulin, were handled in the same manner.
 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Captain Scott Lundy as a witness to this allegation on December 2, 1999. Captain Lundy underwent on-job training in the Media Liaison Office in December 1998. Captain Lundy is a Public Affairs officer currently working as the editor of the Maple Leaf, an official CF newspaper.
 

Captain Lundy was asked about the procedure for logging in media calls and whether the same practice applied in handling media requests concerning Captain Poulin. Captain Lundy responded that all queries were logged in. Captain Lundy was asked if he was ever instructed that calls concerning Captain Poulin were not to be logged in. Captain Lundy responded he  “was not specifically given direction to that effect ...”  
 

When interviewed by Ombudsman's investigators, Lieutenant (Navy) Vanier recalled one occasion on which a media query related to Captain Poulin was not logged in. The media query had concerned Captain Poulin's private activities as a minor hockey coach and the call was forwarded to Captain Poulin and not logged in because it did not pertain to the CF or DND.
 

In a review of the media logs from November 4, 1998 through January 13, 2000, Ombudsman's investigators located 13 entries indicating media queries concerning Captain Poulin.
 

Assessment

A review of the media logs during the time period in question clearly indicates that media inquiries addressed to Captain Poulin were being logged. In light of Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's concerns, described previously, that Captain Poulin might be liaising with members of the media and not recording these contacts as required by the directive, it seems unlikely that she would order a change in policy to make it discretionary for staff to log any media inquiries in relation to him.
 

I am satisfied, based on the totality of the evidence collected by my investigators, that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette did not approve or initiate any change in the Media Liaison Office policy regarding the logging of media inquiries.
 

Allegation 14: Sanctioning or participating in destruction of official Media Response Lines

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around July 21, 1998, Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette sanctioned and took part in the altering and/or destruction of Media Response Lines (MRLs). The latter were official DND/CF documents used in the Media Liaison Office.

 

The allegation of destruction of the Media Response Lines was investigated under the Access to Information Act and deemed to be unfounded on December 21, 1999. Ombudsman's investigators obtained a copy of the Information Commissioner's letter of findings. The results of the investigation concluded:
 

There is no evidence that anyone altered or destroyed MRLs which were relevant to an access request, or ordered anyone else to do so. A number of MRLs were removed from the MLO binders. This was part of a re-organization of the various MLO binders to make the MRLs more easily accessible as well as to ensure the MLO MRLs coincided with the master MRL file. Some unnumbered MRLs were also removed and sent back to account managers to undergo the approval process or were verified with the Director Public Affairs Plans Operations Secretary as having been assigned a number.
 

However, there is some confusion amongst DGPA staff about whether or not an access request for MRLs encompasses draft MRLs. In my view, a request for MRLs for a specific period covers, as well, all draft MRLs on the relevant topic in existence at that time. While it is possible that a draft MRL could undergo changes during the sign-off process, it should be forwarded for processing in response to the access request as it existed on the day the request was received. In the cases we reviewed, some draft MRLs that should have been provided and process as relevant were not. It is my view that this failure was the result of a lack of understanding of the requirements of the Act and not due to bad faith. (sic)

 

Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette further provided that:
 

Captain Poulin's concerns with regards to this subject were never brought to my attention or, as far as I know, to the attention of anyone in DGPA. Instead, a complaint was made to the Access to Information Commissioner several months after this event.

 

Captain Poulin's diary entry of July 21, 1998 reflects the circumstances leading to the complaint which was submitted to the Information Commissioner. Captain Poulin wrote:
 

Yesterday I opened my email and found a request by Simone Mcleod for several MRLs because there had been an ATI requesting them. In my attempt to be helpful, I went and got some MRLs we had in the MLO binders and gave copies to Simone.
 

Today, I saw Simone and we talked about the MRL without a number by Ed King on the Poulin memo. She said that Maj. Mackie had expressed concerns over it. I then went and saw Mackie and he said he went to the NIS and compared ours with theirs. In the end he considered Ed King's version as a  “draft”  and therefore it should not be included in the current ATI request. I replied that this MRL had already been given through another ATI and it was considered  “official”  in the sense that we have used it in the MLO and consequently it should be given in the current ATI request.
 

L.-Cdr. Laviolette showed up and supported my position saying the whole matter was a VCDS issue and all MRLs in the MLO and placed in the binders were deemed official. Maj. Mackie did not agree but he said he would call Ed King and find out how this MRL was approved.
 

In the meantime, Laviolette, Leblanc and I went through every binder in the MLO and looked to see if there were any MRLs without numbers. We found approx. 20 and (three were Ed King, two Maj. Tremblay). At approx. 1200 hrs Mackie saw Laviolette in her office. After 15 min she came out and said that Ed King told Mackie that the MRL was prepared at end of day and Col. Coleman had seen it and got the necessary approval from his end of day DM meeting. At the 1520 hrs meeting the unnumbered MRLs were given back to the account managers and they were asked to track down sign-off sheets and numbers. I asked if she had kept a copy of the MRLs. She said she has a copy and Simone kept a copy of them. Slowly we began receiving some by end of day.

 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Lieutenant-Commander Ed King as both a subject and witness to this investigation on January 24, 2000. Lieutenant-Commander King stated he was interviewed by investigators from Access to Information regarding this issue during their investigation two months earlier. Lieutenant-Commander King informed the Ombudsman's investigators that a Media Response Line is only used to respond to media queries once all sign-offs are received from various authorities. Once this approval is received, Media Response Lines are passed to Ms. Simone McLeod, secretary to the Director of Public Affairs Planning and Operations, who would assign a unique Media Response Line number. Lieutenant-Commander King stated to Ombudsman's investigators that he has, upon receiving all requisite sign-offs, used a Media Response Line and forgotten to pass the document to Ms. McLeod to have a Media Response Line number assigned.
 

My investigators spoke with Ms. Simone McLeod on January 14, 2000 as a witness to this allegation. Ms. McLeod works as the secretary to the Director of Public Affairs Planning and Operations. Ms. McLeod is the individual responsible for appending a unique tracking number to the completed Media Response Lines. Ms. McLeod related that at one time, Lieutenant-Commander King seemed unaware that he was supposed to obtain a Media Response Line number from her. After speaking with him, she noted that Lieutenant-Commander King began obtaining a Media Response Line number as required.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer related that as a result of the Information Commissioner's investigation, procedures concerning the administration of Media Response Lines were implemented to ensure draft copies were retained.
 

Assessment

I am satisfied that the allegation that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette took part or sanctioned the destruction or altering of Media Response Lines is not substantiated. Rather, the evidence appears to indicate that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was supportive of Captain Poulin's assertion that Media Response Lines used to provide responses to media queries should be retained whether or not they contained the appropriate number.
 

Table of Contents
 

B. Allegations against Colonel (Retired) R. Coleman

In his written complaint submitted to this Office, Captain Poulin indicates that then Colonel Coleman, while he was Acting Director General Public Affairs and, as such, a superior to both Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin, failed to take action upon receipt of Captain Poulin's complaints regarding Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. Captain Poulin also suggests that Colonel Coleman leaked information about Captain Poulin's medical status and military performance.
 

Mr. Coleman responded to the interim report by telephone on March 20, 2001, indicating that he had no comments in response.
 

Allegation 1: Failure to deal with harassment complaints

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around June 25, 1998, and again on October 28, 1998, I reported incidents of harassment to my superiors to no avail. Col. Coleman had a duty, under QR&O 4.02 (c) to promote the welfare, efficiency and good discipline of all that are subordinate to them. Consequently, COs and supervisors at all levels must endeavour to provide work environments free from harassment.
 

Under CFAO 19.39 (para. 37), Col. Coleman also had an obligation to Inform Capt.(N) Harper:  “A military superior who receives a formal complaint directly, or from another person, shall advise his or her CO immediately (i.e. Capt.(N) Harper) that a complaint has been made and take immediate action necessary to correct the situation.”  
 

While Col. Coleman did not believe that this was a case of unacceptable conduct on the part of Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette, Capt.(N) Harper clearly felt otherwise in her memo(5000-2/99-46 (SO Corp Svcs) dated August 10, 1999. In fact, she cited two incidents that I had brought to the attention to Col. Coleman as  “... behaviour contrary to that required IAW CFAO 19-39.” 

 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Mr. Coleman as a subject of and witness to this complaint. The interview was conducted in the boardroom of the Ombudsman's Office located at 185 Sparks Street, Ottawa, on February 8, 2000.
 

Mr. Coleman recalled that when Captain Poulin's memorandum first became public, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette had suggested he call Captain Poulin in to reassure him he had done the right thing and that Public Affairs supported him. Mr. Coleman stated he believed this to be good advice and he did have this discussion with Captain Poulin. During his interview with Ombudsman's investigators on March 8, 2000, Captain Poulin confirmed that Mr. Coleman made such comments to him.
 

Mr. Coleman told Ombudsman's investigators that he was aware of problems between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. Colonel Coleman had sought to determine whether Captain Poulin had advised his superiors of media interviews that were televised on 17 and 18 June 1998. Mr. Coleman recalled:
 

... when I asked [LaViolette] to call [Poulin] ... and ask about those interviews she reported back to me the next day that he was quite incensed that we were challenging his integrity ... every time she would do something as a supervisor, he would interpret it as being some kind of harassment ... It got to the point where she felt he was lying to her and he felt she was persecuting him. [LaViolette] came to see me; I talked to her. I brought [Poulin] in and talked to him ...

 

Mr. Coleman recalled both Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette were also submitting memoranda in relation to the ongoing conflict between the two at this time.
 

Copies of Captain Poulin's memoranda dated June 25, 1998 and October 28, 1998 and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's memorandum dated June 26, 1998 were provided to Ombudsman's investigators by Mr. Coleman's successor at DGPA, Captain (Navy) Frewer. In his memorandum dated June 25, 1998, Captain Poulin states,  “I will interpret any further interaction with Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette related to my July 9, 1996 memorandum, addressed to Major-General Leach, as harassment of me by her.”  Mr. Coleman's hand-written note on this memorandum dated June 26, 1998 indicates that he spoke to Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and informed them that the topic was  “off-limits” while the CFNIS investigations were ongoing and that they must find a way of working together. Mr. Coleman noted that both had acknowledged their agreement and there is no evidence of any further intervention by Mr. Coleman.
 

Captain Poulin's memorandum dated October 28, 1998, entitled  “Request immediate transfer from Media Liaison Office,” was addressed to Captain (Navy) Frewer through Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. Captain Poulin's memorandum states  “the aim of this memorandum is to formalize my request for an immediate transfer from the Media Liaison Office.” Captain Poulin states that he "will interpret any further inaction on your part as a policy to continue subjecting me to a hostile and unhealthy work environment."
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer provided a copy of Captain Poulin's memorandum dated October 28, 1998 to Ombudsman's investigators. This document includes hand-written minutes by Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain (Navy) Frewer, both dated October 28, 1998. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's minute to Captain (Navy) Frewer dated October 28, 1998 states,  “I fully support Captain Poulin's request for a transfer.”  Captain Frewer's minute to Mr. Coleman states,  “As requested by Captain Poulin and supported by his supervisor, I am making the strongest recommendation that Captain Poulin be transferred from the media liaison office now.”  Captain Poulin was transferred to the Y2K Public Affairs section at the beginning of November 1998.
 

On July 5, 1999, Captain Poulin submitted an application for redress of grievance in response to a Performance Evaluation Report he was contesting. At that time, he referred to the fact that his rating officer, Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette,  “had criticized me and belittled me on several occasions for what they considered to be inappropriate behaviour on my part.” This redress of grievance was submitted to Captain (Navy) Judith Harper as the Commandant of the CF Support Unit (Ottawa) and Captain Poulin's commanding officer, pursuant to CF Organization Orders.
 

Upon receipt of the application for redress of grievance, Captain (Navy) Harper responded in a memorandum to Captain Poulin:
 

In your application you have referred to two incidents between yourself and L.-Cdr LaViolette (sic) wherein you have described her to have criticised and belittled you. As such actions would constitute, if founded, behaviour contrary to that required IAW CFAO 19-39, this part of your grievance will be severed and addressed as a harassment complaint. (emphasis added)

 

Upon review of the information provided by Captain (Navy) Frewer in relation to Captain Poulin's complaints of June 25 and October 28, 1998, Captain (Navy) Harper subsequently concluded that the incidents described did not support prima facie identification as harassment but rather reflected the proper use of authority by leaders and supervisors. In her memorandum to Captain Poulin dated October 5, 1999 she writes:
 

Additionally, the wording of your memos was too unspecific to have had them considered to be bona fide harassment complaints and you did not make reference to CFAO 19-39 at all. It is considered that an officer, whose occupation relies principally on communication, should be able to put forth a clear and coherent complaint pursuant to the policy, that is recognizable as such a complaint, if that is his intention. Your memos did not do that.
 

However, I am assured that the issues you refer to were investigated during informal interviews, personally, by Col Coleman, who determined that these matters had been related to normal differences of opinion within the staff or to administrative matters and have been addressed some time ago.

 

Captain Poulin subsequently requested his application for redress of grievance be submitted to the next level of adjudication, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and it is currently being held in abeyance at the CF Grievance Board at Captain Poulin's request pending the outcome of this investigation. When this Office agreed to investigate the allegations brought forward by Captain Poulin and referred to it by the Chief of Review Services, it was agreed by both the Chief of Review Services on behalf of the CF chain of command and Captain Poulin that all internal CF and DND investigations and inquiries related to Captain Poulin's complaint would be put on hold until this Office had completed its investigation.
 

Assessment

In his memorandum dated June 25 1998, Captain Poulin states,  “I will interpret any further interaction with Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette related to my July 9, 1996 memorandum, addressed to Major-General Leach, as harassment of me by her.”  This wording in and of itself tends to suggest that no formal complaint of harassment was being made at the time, but that any further conduct or inaction would be viewed as such and consequently would be the subject of an actual harassment complaint in the future.
 

I am satisfied that Captain Poulin's memorandum of June 25, 1998 would not reasonably be viewed as a formal complaint of harassment that required investigation pursuant to CF policy. His complaints, in fact, appear to be framed as complaints about the exercise of Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's supervisory authority and were treated as such.
 

The October 28, 1998 memorandum appears to indicate that Captain Poulin felt his current work environment within the Media Liaison Office constituted a hostile and unhealthy work environment. This memorandum is framed, however, as a request that Captain Poulin be transferred out of the Media Liaison Office - a resolution that was agreed to by his supervisors and which appears to have been implemented immediately.
 

I am satisfied that a reasonable person, having read Captain Poulin's October 28, 1998 memorandum, would not conclude that he wished the memorandum to be treated as a formal complaint of harassment and to be investigated as such. I am also satisfied that Mr. Coleman, as the supervisor responsible for both Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette (Captain Poulin's immediate supervisor), did not fail to take appropriate action in response to Captain Poulin's complaints.
 

Allegation 2: Access to Captain Poulin's personnel file

Captain Poulin complains that:
 

On or around June 25, 1998, Col. Coleman asked the Administration Officer for DGPA, Capt. J. Kalhous, to request my military personnel file (CF 728(03-90) form confirms request). He received the subject document on or around June 29, 1998.
 

This request stood out for several reasons. First, normally, my immediate supervisor (i.e. Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette) should have asked for my military personnel file. Second, this request did not coincide with any evaluation. Finally, this request stood out because, according to other official documents, the file was returned on or around June 30, 1998 - so Col. Coleman had my military personnel file for one working day (CF 728(03-90) form confirms date file was returned).
 

Why did Col. Coleman request my file only a week after my memo dated July 9, 1996 was made public on or around June 17, 1998 and during the same period that there were numerous leaks about my medical status and military performance? How does his request for my military personnel file relate to the statements by the then Maj. Tremblay on or around July 2, 1998 and the then Capt. Stéphane Grenier on or around July 7, 1998?

 

Captain Poulin's personnel file was forwarded from CF Support Unit (Ottawa), Personnel Support Centre on June 25, 1998 to the attention of Captain John Kalhous, the Administration Officer for DGPA. This is confirmed by a Document Transit and Receipt form obtained from CF Support Unit (Ottawa).
 

Captain Poulin provided a copy of an e-mail communication he sent to Captain Kalhous on August 30, 1999. In his e-mail, Captain Poulin asks Captain Kalhous:
 

On or around June 25, 1998 you asked for and later (June 29, 1998) received my military personnel file. Clearly, you would not have asked for the file for yourself. Rather you would have requested it for someone else - somebody in my chain of command (most likely candidates would have been either Col. Coleman, Cdr Frewer or L.-Cdr Laviolette).
 

Given my situation at the time, this has become an important issue that I would like to have resolved. So, can you help me out by remembering who asked you to get my pers file?

 

Captain Kalhous responded to Captain Poulin's e-mail on August 31, 1999 as follows:
 

I do remember getting your Pers File. I don't remember the exact dates but I do remember getting it for Maj. Mackie, which was probably a lot later than those dates you quoted. I vaguely remember, a long time ago, Col Coleman reviewing the file but I couldn't even give you a ball-park date.

 

Captain Kalhous was interviewed by Ombudsman's investigators on December 2, 1999. When asked if he had requested Captain Poulin's military personnel file at any time, Captain Kalhous recalled two occasions. The most recent occasion is addressed under the section of this report concerning Captain Poulin's allegations against Major George Mackie. On the earlier occasion, Captain Kalhous vaguely recalled giving Captain Poulin's file to Mr. Coleman but could not provide any timeframe.
 

When interviewed by Ombudsman's investigators, Mr. Coleman did not recall accessing Captain Poulin's personnel file. When asked if there would be any reason to pull the file, Mr. Coleman stated that the only times he had requested access to personnel files was while conducting merit boards for individuals applying to the branch, when such files are provided by career managers.
 

During Ombudsman's investigators' review of this allegation, it became apparent that Captain Poulin's concerns about access to his personnel file are directly related to his belief that, in the days following the June 1998 press conference at which his memorandum was made public, senior officials within DND leaked information concerning his involvement in a traffic accident to the media to discredit him. Captain Poulin maintains that he made these concerns known to Lieutenant-Commander Moore of the CFNIS. Captain Poulin's complaint regarding the leaking of his personal information to the media and his complaint that Commander Moore did not further investigate his allegations are addressed elsewhere in this report.
 

Table of Contents
 

C. Allegation against Captain (Navy) Barry Frewer

Allegation: Failure to appropriately respond to complaints of harassment and to agree to transfer Captain Poulin out of the Media Liaison Office

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On or around June 2 and October 28, 1998, I reported incidents of harassment to my superiors to no avail. Cdr Frewer had a duty, under QR&O 4.02 (c) to act. It states: An Officer shall promote the welfare, efficiency and good discipline of all subordinates." (QR&O 4.02(c)).
 

Normally, in cases of alleged harassment, the parties involved should be separated until the subject investigation is completed. Despite asking on August 25, September 28, and October 22, to be moved out of the MLO because of the unhealthy working environment, Cdr Frewer remained steadfast in rejecting my requests until October 28, 1998. Cdr Frewer's actions also violated CFAO 19.39, paragraph 9. It states:  “No member of the CF shall subject any person in the workplace or in matters related to work to any form of harassment. Any member who subjects another person to harassment is liable to disciplinary and administrative action.” 

 

Captain Poulin further indicates in his written complaint that:
 

Despite my numerous pleas to leave the MLO because of the unhealthy working environment and my June 25, 1998 harassment complaint against Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette, the then Cdr Frewer did not acquiesce to my request until November 2, 1998. His actions were in direct violation of CFAO 19.39 para. 10.
 

It states:  “It is the responsibility of all persons involved in the processing of a complaint to ensure that a complainant does not suffer any prejudice as a result of making a complaint. Retaliation against any individual for reporting harassment will not be permitted or tolerated. This prohibition extends to retaliation against those individuals who are not themselves complainants but who assist in the harassment investigation. A member who engages in such retaliation is liable to disciplinary and administrative action.” 

 

Captain (Navy) Frewer is currently the Director of Public Affairs Plans and Operations. As such, Captain (Navy) Frewer remains in Captain Poulin's direct chain of command and additionally serves as the Branch Advisor to uniformed public affairs personnel across the CF. During the time that Captain Poulin served in the Media Liaison Office, Captain (Navy) Frewer was the Deputy Director of Public Affairs Plans and Operations. Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, who was the head of the Media Liaison Office, reported to him.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer responded by telephone on March 20, 2001 that he had no comments in response to the interim report.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer stated to Ombudsman's investigators that Captain Poulin had, on a number of occasions, indicated his wish to move out of the Media Liaison Office. Captain (Navy) Frewer recalled telling Captain Poulin that he hoped that Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette would be able to establish a working relationship.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer stated he had spoken with either Mr. Coleman or Mr. Rioux, Director General Public Affairs and urged they consider moving Captain Poulin out of the Media Liaison Office because of the continued tension between him and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. Captain (Navy) Frewer related, however, that their discussion had included concerns that moving Captain Poulin out of his job would be perceived as penalizing him. Captain (Navy) Frewer also indicated that Mr. Coleman had met with both Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette in an effort to have them find some way of working together.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer stated that, upon receipt of Captain Poulin's memorandum dated October 28, 1998, he felt that the situation had progressed to the point where Captain Poulin should be transferred out of the Media Liaison Office without delay. Captain (Navy) Frewer recalled that he met with Mr. Coleman and Mr. Rioux after receiving Captain Poulin's memorandum and Captain Poulin was moved within two days.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer acknowledged the difficult situation that Captain Poulin would have been in as a member of the Media Liaison Office at the same time as he was a subject of active media interest in relation to the July 9, 1996 memorandum that he had authored.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer stated to Ombudsman's investigators:
 

... this was all part of the tension situation. The fact that he, in his own right, was a news maker by being the author of that [Labbé] document and still expected to do his job as a Media Liaison Officer on many other issues. So each time that he would talk on another issue, there was the instinct ... to say  “how's it going. What's happening on this other thing?”  ... by the same token his boss, LaViolette, she was knowingly suspicious at the time seeing all these calls that he was responding to in, at times, legitimate course of his duties. And she would come out and question  “who are you speaking to?”  ... a fair comment. However, I can also see from [Poulin's] perspective, saying I'm doing my job. Please back off.

 

Captain (Navy) Frewer indicated that the decision not to move Captain Poulin out of the Media Liaison Office immediately after his July 9, 1996 memorandum was made public was influenced predominately by concerns that DND would appear to be penalizing Captain Poulin if they transferred him out of his job. It was also hoped that the ongoing conflict between Captain Poulin and his supervisor Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette could be resolved. Captain (Navy) Frewer acknowledged that in hindsight this decision may have not been the best course:
 

... having recognised now and looking back [on] how potentially explosive a working relationship which had that undercurrent of distress and suspicion ... I probably should have taken action with my superiors earlier to move him out of there. I guess as we were all wrapped up with so many other issues that were going on and talking to Poulin and talking to LaViolette that ... each time there was a discussion on this, we seemed to talk ourselves through it. But it was still lying there and it is ... with that element of hindsight ... I suspect I would have been a lot harder in recommending that we move him out of there earlier on. But ... in all the investigations going on, we did want to just keep the status quo until the outcome of the investigations and then ... make a decision.

 

Mr. Coleman also told Ombudsman's investigators that there was discussion concerning whether Captain Poulin should be moved out of the Media Liaison Office. He stated:
 

... I remember discussing, should we take him out of the Media Liaison Office and we specifically decided no ... because it might look like somehow we were doing ... something unusual to somebody ... As long as we kept him off that story, I said I couldn't think of any reason to move him out of the Media Liaison Office.

 

Assessment

As I have previously indicated, I am not satisfied that Captain Poulin's June 25, 1998 and October 28, 1998 memoranda were framed in such a fashion that they imposed a requirement on the chain of command to treat them as formal harassment complaints. These complaints did, however, raise significant issues and concerns about the ongoing tensions within the Media Liaison Office and the ongoing conflict between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, his supervisor. I am satisfied that the members of the chain of command within DGPA, including Mr. Coleman and Captain (Navy) Frewer, attempted to deal with these concerns in good faith. Ultimately, Captain Poulin was transferred out of the Media Liaison Office in October 1998, at his request, since the increasing tensions and ongoing conflict had escalated to the point where he could no longer cope in his existing work environment. It is unfortunate that the situation progressed to this point and it is recognized that Captain Poulin and his family must have suffered from considerable stress and anxiety during this time.
 

Captain (Navy) Frewer has acknowledged that, in hindsight, the chain of command ought to have taken the decision earlier to move Captain Poulin out of the Media Liaison Office. I am not satisfied, however, that Captain (Navy) Frewer or any other members of the chain of command within DGPA delayed moving Captain Poulin out of the Media Liaison Office in bad faith or in an effort to subject him to harassment or reprisals. I am also not satisfied that the chain of command failed to take reasonable steps to attempt to resolve Captain Poulin's complaints in relation to the conflict within the Media Liaison Office. In fact, the decision not to move Captain Poulin was initially taken in hopes that the situation within the Media Liaison Office would be resolved to his benefit and to avoid the appearance that he was being penalized for his role as the author of the July 9, 1996 memorandum.
 

Table of Contents
 

D. Allegation against Captain Jean Morissette

Allegation: Monitoring Captain Poulin's activities and reporting to Captain Poulin's supervisor without his knowledge

In his written complaint to this Office, Captain Poulin states:
 

Capt. Morissette behaved in a scandalous manner when he made several clandestine reports, without my knowledge, on my daily activities to Lieutenant-Commander D. Laviolette over the phone from his personal residence at night, even if these phone calls may have been initiated by Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette.
 

Capt. Morissette behaved in a scandalous manner when (he) submitted clandestine e-mails, once again without my knowledge, on my daily activities to Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette.
 

Capt. Morissette's actions, in both cases, also violated QR&O 4.02 (c). It states:  “An Officer shall promote the welfare, efficiency and good discipline of all subordinates.” 

 

Captain Morissette worked within the Media Liaison Office at NDHQ during the time that Captain Poulin was assigned to that office. He functioned as second-in-command to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette, Captain Poulin's immediate supervisor within the office.
 

Captain Morissette responded by telephone on March 27, 2001 that he had no comments in response to the interim report.
 

Ombudsman's investigators asked Captain Morissette if Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette called him at home to talk about Captain Poulin. Captain Morissette responded that was the case but that he consistently tried not to take sides in the ongoing conflict between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. Captain Morissette stated:
 

[Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette] called me a few times. I can remember once I told Bruce that yes she had called me ... I couldn't say specifically what ... generally, most of the calls when ... the few times she called to talk about Bruce, it was to let off steam, nothing more, nothing less. She'd had it up to here and she was fed up with being stressed out with that whole story.

 

Ombudsman's investigators also asked Captain Morissette if he had ever reported Captain Poulin's activities in writing. Captain Morissette responded:
 

Once, Denise [LaViolette] had asked me to write something ... When she asked me again to write something else afterwards I said no. I refused because after having done it the first time, I said no I don't want to get into that ... I did it once and I was sorry I had done it. I don't want to be perceived as ... taking sides for one or the other. (translation of the original French manuscript)

 

Captain Morissette provided Ombudsman's investigators with a copy of the report he wrote to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette dated October 27, 1998. It reads:
 

Events surrounding the release of the CFNIS investigation in regards to the conduct of Colonel S. Labbé and the treatment of the memo written by Captain Poulin.
 

Prior to the release of the investigation (at 11:43 a.m.), at noon Monday the 26th of October, 1998, L.-Cdr Laviolette clearly indicated to all personnel of the MLO that it would be appropriate, because of the circumstances, that Captain Poulin not respond directly to the calls made by the media. By this temporary measure, it was understood by her clear explanations, that she wanted to ensure that the PAO present (Capt. Morissette, Lt(N) MacKillop and Coppard) would be the ones answering the calls on the lines 2353 and 2354, and that they would communicate all messages destined to Capt. Poulin if this was the case. This would enable him to prepare or to have the opportunity to decline all requests that he was not interested in answering.
 

Only one request followed this chain, the one made by Sean Poulter. The other calls were made directly to Capt. Poulin's personal line.

 

Captain Morissette related that on a subsequent occasion Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette asked him to provide her with another written record relating to Captain Poulin, but he refused. No further electronic or written correspondence concerning Captain Poulin between Captain Morissette and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette was located by Ombudsman's investigators.
 

Assessment

Captain Morissette conveyed regret at having documented, at Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's request, that Captain Poulin may have received calls from members of the media directly on his assigned phone contrary to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's direction. It is evident that Captain Morissette did not wish to take sides in the ongoing and escalating conflict between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin.
 

As I have previously indicated, I am satisfied that Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's monitoring of Captain Poulin's activities within the Media Liaison Office was not an abuse of her authority. The ongoing workplace conflict in the Media Liaison Office clearly presented challenges to all staff members. Captain Morissette was in the doubly difficult position of second-in-command, hence was directly in the middle of the conflict between Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin. I am satisfied, however, that Captain Morissette did not act inappropriately or abuse his position by reporting Captain Poulin's activities within the Media Liaison Office to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette as she requested. As the second-in-command within the Media Liaison Office, it is not unreasonable that Captain Morissette would be requested by Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette to monitor and report on Captain Poulin's activities in light of her concerns that Captain Poulin may not have been conforming to policies that required reporting of media contacts.
 

I am also satisfied that Captain Morissette's actions were not conducted in a scandalous or clandestine manner. Indeed, Captain Morissette was forthcoming with Captain Poulin and had confided to him that he was growing frustrated at receiving Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette's calls at home and did not wish to be drawn into the ongoing conflict.
 

Table of Contents
 

E. Allegation against Captain (Retired) Andrew Pope

Allegation: Harassment in the workplace

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

On no less than five occasions, Capt. Pope dropped off National Lampoon calendar quotes that were, given my situation at the time, inappropriate thereby contributing to an unhealthy working environment. Capt. Pope's actions may be defined as harassment in accordance with CFAO 19.39 para. 3.
 

It states:  “... means conduct exhibited once or repeatedly, that offends, demeans, belittles or humiliates another person and that the person exhibiting the conduct knew or ought reasonably to have known would be unwelcome.”   (CFAO 19.39, paragraph 3).

 

 

Mr. Pope is a former public affairs officer who worked in Public Affairs at NDHQ at the same time as Captain Poulin. Captain Poulin's complaint of harassment in relation to Mr. Pope is based on the fact that, on a number of occasions, then Captain Pope displayed pages from a National Lampoon calendar in Captain Poulin's work area.
 

Mr. Pope responded by telephone on March 20, 2001 that he did not have any comments in response to the interim report.
 

In all, Captain Pope displayed five pages of a day-per-page calendar in Captain Poulin's work area, each containing a cynical brand of humorous commentary plus some infamous historical references.
 

For example, one caption from January 9 and 10, 1999 warns:
 

Turn around. That guy in dark glasses? He's following you. Oh, and your phone's tapped, your bedroom's bugged and there's a tiny camera watching your every move in the bathroom. You're not paranoid. They really are out to get you.

 
Another for February 24 recommends:
 

Accept criticism in the spirit is given - mean and nasty. What do they know anyway? You're smarter than they are; better looking too. They're just jealous. You're right, they're wrong. Screw 'em.

 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Mr. Pope in the boardroom of his current place of employment on April 11, 2000. Mr. Pope related his perception of events as follows:
 

I didn't view it as harassment or, of course, I wouldn't do it. Bruce (Poulin) is my friend. Having gone though ... similar situations in a toxic work environment ... I found that humour was the best thing to do ... People had sent me similar such cartoons, it lifted my spirits and allowed me to get a better perspective from things ... (the calendar page read)  “it's not paranoia when they are out to get ya”  ... so it fit quite perfectly for the situation I had been through (and I figured Bruce would) find it quite amusing. He laughed at it. Seemed quite happy with it. No comment adverse to that ... He was someone who I felt would appreciate it, so I gave it to him in the course of doing other such office humour type things from throwing paper balls over the cubicle (at each other) and such.

 

Mr. Pope stated that Captain Poulin  “seemed to appreciate the humour at the time ... and didn't say anything to say that there was a problem with it.”  Mr. Pope believed that the cynical messages contained in the calendar pages reflected aspects of Captain Poulin's situation and that he would find them humorous.
 

Captain Poulin's hand-written diary records three entries involving Mr. Pope:
 

January 11, 1999
 

Started receiving little note put on my desk to read. I found out who it was and he said it was just a joke.
 

Pope
 

 

 

February 15, 1999
 

Andrew Pope asked me to help him draft a memo requesting his release from the CF. He found a job with CIDA (1 March 99). He said that I should look on the website www.jobs.gc.ca

  

February 25, 1999
 

Went to Andrew Pope's farewell luncheon today.

 
There is nothing in Captain Poulin's written diary entries to indicate he was offended by Mr. Pope's actions at the time or that he considered the actions to be  “demeaning, belittling or humiliating.” In his written complaint, Captain Poulin stated that he:

... tried to play the whole incident down in an attempt to try and make a fresh start. After all, I had just changed jobs on or around November 2, 1998 and I did not need to alienate any more of my colleagues at work.

 
Captain Poulin did not complain to anyone about Mr. Pope's actions prior to submitting his complaint to this Office.
 

Assessment

I am satisfied that Mr. Pope's conduct did not constitute harassment towards Captain Poulin. Apart from Captain Poulin's written complaint to my Office, there were no other indications that he perceived Mr. Pope's calendar pages as "demeaning, belittling or humiliating" at the time. I am also not satisfied that Mr. Pope knew or ought reasonably to have known that the conduct was unwelcome.
 

The calendar pages themselves do not appear to be objectively demeaning, belittling or humiliating such that one ought reasonably to know that they would be found offensive. I am satisfied that Mr. Pope believed that Captain Poulin would find them humorous. Captain Poulin gave no outward indication that he found this material objectionable. It is my view that Mr. Pope intended the calendar pages to be perceived as a gesture of alliance and friendship. It is unfortunate that Captain Poulin did not voice his objection to Mr. Pope at the time; given Mr. Pope's demeanor and friendly disposition towards Captain Poulin, it is likely that the matter could have been resolved amicably.
 

Table of Contents

 

F. Allegation against Ms. Maureen Bruyere

Allegation: Failure to perform required duties as the Harassment Complaint Advisor

Captain Poulin states in his written complaint:
 

At no time between June 17, 1998 and August 16, 1999, did Maureen Bruyere provide me with any support although she did for Lieutenant-Commander Laviolette (the alleged aggressor).
 

At no time did Maureen Bruyere register any of my complaints in accordance with CFAO 19.39 (para. 31), for the annual harassment statistical report. In part because she says that Col. Coleman did not forward any of my complaints (June 25, and October 28, 1998) to her.
 

At the same time, however, on or around August 16, 1999, she also admitted that she  “... was aware that (I) had raised some concerns to the chain of command and that the chain of command was looking into them.”  She was also an info addressee on the memo written by DGPA on or around January 12, 1999 (1000-1(pers)).
 

Maureen Bruyere's actions were also in direct violation of QR&O Vol. 1, Chapter 4.02 (e). It obliged her to  “... report to the proper authority any infringement of the pertinent statutes, regulations, rules, orders and instructions governing the conduct of any person subject to the code of service discipline when the officer cannot deal adequately with the matter.” 

 

Ms. Bruyere is a senior public affairs advisor within DGPA and also functions as the Harassment Complaint Advisor for employees and members within Public Affairs. Captain Poulin complains that Ms. Bruyere did not properly fulfil her role as the Harassment Complaint Advisor in regard to his complaints of harassment.
 

Ms. Bruyere responded by telephone on March 20, 2001 indicating that she had no comments regarding the relevant portion of the interim report.
 

Ombudsman's investigators interviewed Ms. Bruyere in the Ombudsman's Office located at 185 Sparks Street in Ottawa on January 12, 2000. Ms. Bruyere confirmed Captain Poulin's assertion that she had discussions with Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette about the ongoing conflict between her and Captain Poulin. She stated that she had been involved in attempts to canvas the option of mediation or some other form of conflict resolution as a potential means to resolve the situation between Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. However, discussions about potential mediation or conflict resolution were overtaken by the formal investigation into Captain Poulin's complaints of reprisals.
 

On August 16, 1999, Ms. Bruyere received an e-mail from Captain Poulin that stated:
 

Assuming that you were/are the unit member responsible for preparing the annual harassment monitoring report since at least June 17, 1998. Did Col. (ret'd) R. Coleman ever forward any of my formal harassment complaints to you post-June 17 1998.

 

Ms. Bruyere responded the same day, stating in part:
 

... I am still the Branch Harassment Advisor. Not only do I prepare the annual statistical report, I am a resource person for all members of DGPA on harassment and workplace conflict issues from explaining departmental policies and procedures, assisting with resolving workplace conflict, assisting individuals in filing format complaints if required, and liaising with the DGPA (Training and Professional Development) on anti-harassment training requirements. I report directly to the DG and advise him on issues/situations that required his attention.
 

To date I have received no written correspondence from Col Coleman (ret'd) concerning any formal harassment complaints filed by you since 17 Jun 98. I was aware that you had raised some concerns to the chain of command and that the chain of command was looking into them. I do have a copy of DGPA memo 1000-1 (Pers) dated 12 Jan 99 signed by DGPA (Mr. Rioux) as I was an info addressee on this correspondence.

 

Mr. Rioux's letter of January 12, 1999, addressed to both Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette and Captain Poulin, acknowledged that they had both threatened to charge one another with harassment. In his letter, Mr. Rioux stated that the Chief of Review Services had retained an outside agent to investigate Captain Poulin's allegations of reprisal and he directed that Captain Poulin and Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette refrain from further discussion of this matter.
 

Assessment

I am satisfied that Ms. Bruyere did not fail to fulfil her responsibilities as the Harassment Complaint Advisor vis-à-vis Captain Poulin nor did she demonstrate bias by providing advice to Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette. It should be noted that at no time did Captain Poulin approach Ms. Bruyere for assistance, although he appeared to be aware of her role as the Harassment Complaint Advisor. Ms. Bruyere also made clear in her memorandum to Captain Poulin that she was available to provide all DGPA members with assistance in dealing with issues of harassment. It was open to Captain Poulin to approach her for advice or assistance on harassment-related matters or to request that she refer him to another harassment advisor if he felt uncomfortable discussing his concerns with her in light of the fact that he was aware Lieutenant-Commander LaViolette had already approached her.
 

There is no indication that Ms. Bruyere received any formal, written harassment complaints made by Captain Poulin. Ms. Bruyere acknowledged in her e-mail to Captain Poulin that she was aware that Captain Poulin had raised some concerns and that the chain of command was looking into them. I am not satisfied, however, that she was under any obligation to follow up with Captain Poulin to inquire whether he wished to pursue these concerns as formal complaints. It should be noted that it is clear from the memorandum that Captain Poulin forwarded to Ms. Bruyere, and from his other dealings with DND and CF officials, that Captain Poulin was fully aware of DND and CF policies and procedures and how to go about formally pursuing his concerns as a harassment complaint if he wished to do so.
 

Conclusion

In my assessment, it is apparent that the allegations concerning the conduct of members working in Public Affairs are attributable to the increased tension of the situation in which Captain Poulin found himself after having been identified as the author of the July 9, 1996 memorandum, and that this tension led him to perceive what would otherwise be considered normal supervisory actions as acts of retaliation and reprisal. My findings in relation to many of the allegations Captain Poulin brought forward should not be read as a condemnation of him or as an indication that his perceptions at the time were not genuine or were "vexatious." It is understandable, given the considerable pressure he was under at the time, that he felt alienated and isolated in many respects. Although the working conditions Captain Poulin experienced at the time were not optimal, I am satisfied that the individuals listed in his complaint to my Office were not engaged in a campaign of retaliatory actions and reprisals against him.
 

Table of Contents
 

Continue to Part Four

Date modified: