Following his recent testimony before a House of Commons committee, local veteran Mark Meincke is hoping others follow suit.
On Oct. 24, Meincke testified before the House of Commons standing committee on Veteran's Affairs with information provided to him by a veteran who is said to have been offered medical assistance in dying (MAiD) by a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) case worker.
Meincke had been in contact with the veteran, who shared details of the phone call where he was said to have been offered MAiD, as well as audio recordings of two follow-up phone calls with a VAC manager.
In the original phone call, the case worker is alleged to have said that another veteran had been offered MAiD and taken up the offer.
Wanting to see action taken to prevent any other such incidents, Meincke got in contact with Foothills MP John Barlow, who put him in touch with the Minister of Veterans Affairs.
Prior to providing his testimony, Meincke attempted to notify the veteran that he'd be appearing before the committee but fell out of contact. He opted to move forward preserving the veteran's anonymity and did not provide copies of phone calls or their transcripts to the committee.
In the days after Meincke's testimony, he heard back from the veteran, who expressed "significant disapproval" of the testimony.
Meincke says those in attendance did seem to have emotional responses to the revelations, with several of them approaching him to shake his hand afterwards.
Despite that, he's unsure if any action will be taken.
"It felt more like a show trial than something of substance, and I'm not sure anything will come of it. That's disheartening because it could have been stress and aggravation for myself and the veteran that it's all about for nothing. But I'm hoping that, if nothing else, it will be a catalyst for meaningful reform with Veteran's Affairs."
He says other people have information on this incident, and there are likely others who know about the other alleged offers of MAiD to other veterans.
"There are other stakeholders in this that I'm encouraging strongly to do what I did. So far, no luck, but I'm going to continue to encourage people who have the same knowledge that I do and more, there are people who are more read into the situation than I am, to step up. I'll just keep trying as best I can."
Meincke says if more people to come forward with testimony, this issue will be much harder to ignore.
"As horrific as it is, it's just another story. There's a lot going on in the world, including whisperings of a potential World War III. To me, this is a critical story because lives are in the balance, literally. Is it the one that's going to get the attention? In politics, the squeakiest wheel is the one that gets the most grease. We're suffering through a 40-year high in inflation and everything else, so will it get enough attention that actual reform happens? I don't know. All I can do is what I think is best... I have to detach from the results."
The committee expressed a desire to hear from VAC representatives who had provided conflicting testimony the week prior, though a date has not been set.