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  1. #1
    Senior Member Doug_M's Avatar
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    'I am prepared to fight': After losing bid for compensation, air force captain takes on Bill Blair

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/kim...tion-1.5117176

    'I am prepared to fight': After losing bid for compensation, air force captain takes on Bill Blair

    reproduction-rights-sold-to-kimberly-fawcett-for-web-site-and-lo.jpg

    For Capt. Kimberly Fawcett, the personal is now political.

    The soon-to-be former air force officer ó who last week lost a court challenge of the military's refusal to pay disability benefits for a 2006 traffic accident that claimed the life of her infant son ó is now confirmed as the nominated federal Conservative candidate in the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough Southwest.

    She said she's jumping into the political fray to help protect other Canadian Forces members from going through what she did.

    "I went to Bill Blair three years ago to ask for his help and he turned me away," Fawcett told CBC News. Blair, the Trudeau government's border security minister, represents Scarborough Southwest.

    "If he is not prepared to fight for someone like me or anyone else in our riding, then I am prepared to fight him for the job."

    Fawcett, who sheds her air force uniform in June, is at a personal and professional crossroads.

    The Federal Court last week rejected her challenge of the military's refusal to pay her disability benefits for the accident that claimed the life of her nine-month-old son, Keiran, and left her an amputee.

    For more than a decade, Fawcett has fought a pitched battle with the defence and veterans departments. The federal government claims the tragic accident on Highway 401, just outside of Kingston, Ont., did not occur while she was on duty ó even though the trip was sanctioned by her commanding officer and part of an approved military-mandated family care plan.

    Over a decade ago, Ottawa refused to cover the cost of her prosthetic limb. Fawcett still returned to duty after learning to walk again. She even deployed to Afghanistan for a second time in 2008.

    She said she asked Blair to look into her case and to act as an information "conduit" with the federal government while the matter was before the chief of the defence staff.

    She said she was subsequently ignored and then told nothing could be done because the matter was before the courts.

    CBC News asked Blair for comment but the minister said he would not discuss the specifics of Fawcett's case.

    "Out of respect for the privacy of my constituents, I do not comment on individual cases that are brought forward to me," he said. "As the Member of Parliament for Scarborough Southwest I always strive to make myself available to constituents to assist them with their concerns."

    Fawcett said her desire to run is rooted more broadly in dissatisfaction with the Liberal government's treatment of veterans and military programs. Fawcett questions the fiscal sustainability of some of the Trudeau government's spending decisions and said she suspects those in uniform will be among the first to suffer in the event of budget cuts.

    Her candidacy is a little ironic in light of the fact the Liberals rode to power in 2015 partly on the dissatisfaction of veterans who saw themselves being run over by the former Conservative government in its drive to balance the budget.

    Fawcett acknowledged the political grievances of the past but said the Conservative Party has learned from them and is moving forward.

    "It doesn't matter who, or what party, is in charge of veterans. I want to see that the department does right by veterans," she said.

    Fawcett took her fight to Federal Court after her internal grievances were denied. Shortly after the accident, she was told that she qualified for disability benefits, but the decision was overturned and upheld all the way up to the chief of the defence staff.

    "My grievance started because I asked for an explanation. And to do this day, I still do not have an explanation," she said.

    "We hoped, at the end of the day, our chain of command was supportive. It was a difficult pill to swallow that they didn't and that [the decision] was very arbitrary."

    It's that sort of inconsistent treatment that Fawcett said she wants to fight from inside the government.

    She's currently weighing whether to fight the Federal Court decision all the way to the Supreme Court. She's also considering a further appeal of her denial of benefits to the federal Veterans Review and Appeal Board.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Doug_M's Avatar
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    Hmm. Not sure this was a wise choice for the CPC. Most of the commentary on various media sites felt she wasn't owed anything from DND as she was off duty in Canada.
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  3. #3
    Member awndray's Avatar
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    If she's campaigning on the premise that she's been wronged, she's starting on the wrong foot.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Doug_M's Avatar
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    ^true, and in classic military humour quite funny!
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  7. #5
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    Can someone clarify what "the trip was sanctioned by her commanding officer and part of an approved military-mandated family care plan" means exactly?

  8. #6
    Moderator kennymo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canthitathing View Post
    Can someone clarify what "the trip was sanctioned by her commanding officer and part of an approved military-mandated family care plan" means exactly?
    Her arguement was that she was taking the child to a caregiver (her parents?) as part of a contingency plan, as her position required occasionally being deployed on short notice. IIRC.
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  9. #7
    Senior Member Petamocto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canthitathing View Post
    Can someone clarify what "the trip was sanctioned by her commanding officer and part of an approved military-mandated family care plan" means exactly?
    It's definitely a grey area, and she eventually lost, but it has to do with what is considered "duty", because if you're on duty, the CAF (re: taxpayer) is on the hook for any injuries/damages.

    For example, if I am on a training exercise and my foot gets shot off, I am on duty because it was related to work and at work, so it would all be covered, and I'd likely get a VAC pension for X% of disability, based on how disabled I was.

    If I am on a range on my own time and my foot gets shot off, it is not related to duty because I wasn't at work doing work stuff, so I wouldn't get a VAC pension or other benefits, because it was not duty-related.

    The grey area that this woman was in was that in order for her to get to work, like most parents that involves driving kids around to other locations (a third party, a daycare, etc).

    In some cases the military considers that a "family care plan", because it's part of the conditions of work, but it's a very military-specific thing that other companies would laugh at.

    Essentially, it's like if you worked at Chrysler and had to drive a kid to daycare before you went to your shift, and then saying that Chrysler is responsible if you get in an accident because you being on the road was tied to getting to work.

    Presumably, Chrysler, or any other company, would look at that employee and say "Go f___ yourself if you think we're responsible for you getting into an accident on your way to work".

    It's very unpopular to say anything against someone who has been in the military, but the courts found the "family care plan" argument to be too weak to blame it on the CAF, and I agree with them.

    I know this makes me seem like a jerk, but I do not think the taxpayers should be on the hook to pay for someone who got into an accident on their way to work. If it were on base property and it was because of road conditions on the base or a tank ran her off the road then it's an entirely different argument, but she was on the 401 and the taxpayer should not have to cover it.
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  10. #8
    Canadian ForcesMember Billythreefeathers's Avatar
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    it has always been a GREY area,, like some class A soldiers are payed mileage to and from work,, some are not,,

    I think the point here is not so much the "ON DUTY / OFF DUTY" as much as her being F%$K'd off by her MP, and never being given the time of day from old Bill

    I had a situation with KENT HARE couple of years ago,, but my MP (CPC) did go to work for me and answered several questions and had his staff contact me,, it took two years+ but we did in the end get a messure of satisfaction no thanks to MINISTER HAIR

  11. #9
    Senior Member Petamocto's Avatar
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    Here's the exact write-up from her redress of grievance response (not protected):

    Subject: Nature of military service. Duty status. Purpose of the Family Care Plan.

    Case Summary: The grievor was seriously injured her way to work in a motor vehicle accident. On the day of the accident, her service spouse was required to be at work early for high readiness training. The member called her office and stated that she was undertaking her family care plan (FCP – needed to now drop off her child to daycare) and would be late for work. A Summary Investigation was conducted that concluded she was not on duty at the time and the injuries were not service related.

    Matter Grieved: The grievor states she was on duty at the time of the accident as it was in the context of executing a family care plan, and therefore her injuries should be considered service related.

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    DAOD 5044-1 CANFORGEN 014/02 CFAO 24-6 CBI 209.335

    Key Findings: The fact that a military spouse was required to report to duty early one morning to attend mandatory training and that as a result, the parental responsibility to transport a child to daycare shifted to the grievor did not make that task a military duty. In fact, the duty period that day changed to accommodate parental responsibilities - not responsibilities as a service member. The grievor’s parental duty that morning did not arise from a condition of service. The FA agreed with the Committee that one can be ordered to prepare a FCP, however one is not ordered, and could never be ordered, to execute it. Though the CAF cares about our members's; ability to look after the welfare of family members and will accommodate special needs to the point of undue hardship, the content and execution of a FPC is a personal responsibility. Therefore the grievor was not on duty at the time of the accident and the injuries did not result from an activity that arose from, or that was directly connected with, military service.

    Redress: Denied
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  12. #10
    Senior Member Grimlock's Avatar
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    I know her. Very sad story. The last time I saw her, she looked crushed.

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