The alleged infractions include ‘ignoring established law’ on the right to privacy, informed consent, and the right to choose medical treatment.
Current and former soldiers have launched a lawsuit against the top leadership of the Canadian military and the Department of National Defence, alleging abuse of power and violation of charter rights with regard to COVID-19 policies.
The lawsuit involves 128 individuals who say they were coerced into taking injections due to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) COVID-19 vaccine mandate, with some refusing and being expelled from the military and others complying and allegedly suffering from severe adverse effects.
The list of alleged infractions include “ignoring established law” on the right to privacy, informed consent, and the right to choose medical treatment, and “allowing the physical and/or psychological torture of members under the command of CAF commissioned officers.”
The statement of claim was filed in late September by attorney Catherine Christensen of Valour Legal Action Centre. It alleges different forms of abuse, including soldiers being told to stay in a tent in winter and being denied heating unless they get vaccinated.
Ms. Christensen filed a similar lawsuit in June on behalf of 330 current and former CAF members.
The defendants include former defence minister Anita Anand, former deputy minister of defence Jody Thomas, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Wayne Eyre, Vice Admiral Augus Topshee, and Chaplain General Brig.-Gen. Guy Belisle, among others.
“The CAF shirked its own purpose and rushed an untested product onto its members, mislabeled this experimental gene therapy a ‘vaccine’, knowingly made false statements of safety and efficacy, and facilitated its mandate with no option to refuse except for mandatory permanent removal from service,” says the statement of claim.
It adds that COVID-19 represents a low risk for healthy young adults, whereas that demographic faces a higher risk of vaccine injury.
Jurisdictions like Ontario have recommended the Pfizer vaccine over Moderna for young people due to a risk of heart inflammation. Moderna was overwhelmingly used to vaccinate CAF members.
The statement of claim says commanding officers “acted aggressively to coerce members to accept the biologics through acts that, in some cases, were criminal in nature.”
It alleges CAF members were forced to “spend unnecessary extended periods of time outside in extreme winter conditions with no shelter or protections as well as forcibly confining members to small, cramped spaces with no respite for meals or personal hygiene needs.”
One plaintiff alleges he was told those who do not take the injections should be “shot and killed.”
Gen. Eyre issued his first directive imposing vaccination in October 2021, around the same time the Liberal government was imposing a mandate on the public service and federally-regulated sectors.
Although CAF is outside the public service, Gen. Eyre said the reason for mandating vaccination was in part to “demonstrate leadership” to other government departments and to Canadians.
Ottawa suspended the public service mandate in June 2022, and months later Gen. Eyre issued a new directive relaxing the mandate. As of October 2022, COVID-19 vaccination was no longer a requirement to serve, but it was kept in place for operational roles and deployments.
The lawsuit notes that the temporary measures were meant to deal with a public health event, but the impact on some members was permanent.
The plaintiffs all had different experiences, but most fall under the following status categories.
Some were released from the CAF under item 5(f), “unsuitable for further service,” a discharge usually reserved for someone who “either wholly or chiefly because of factors within his control, develops personal weakness.” Others released voluntarily to avoid being expelled under 5(f), by pulling the plug early on their military careers, for example. Some also obtained medical releases.
Others participants in the lawsuit were able to maintain employment due to administrative release processes not running their course, or by complying with the vaccine mandate against their will, they say. Thirty-one of those allege a vaccine injury, some severe.
One soldier stationed in Valcartier suffered health issues after receiving the two doses and attempted to take his own life, according to the lawsuit.
Another based in Edmonton who was denied a medical exemption took one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine to save his career, the lawsuit says. “He now suffers from life-threatening adverse effects” and is in the process of a medical release due to “being disabled and impacted from the diagnosed severe vaccine injury,” says the statement of claim.
Others reportedly suffered from Bell’s Palsy, neurological issues, and heart problems after getting vaccinated.
A previous investigation by The Epoch Times published in November 2022 determined there had been more vaccine injuries than hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the military. At that time the CAF tallied 324 adverse reactions to vaccination, with 23 being severe.
The Epoch Times has requested updated information from the Department of National Defence, which hasn’t been received so far.
Defendants: Charter Rights Not Breached
The federal government has yet to file a statement of defence in relation to the September lawsuit, but it has responded to the previous one filed in June, which is similar.
Counsel Barry Benkendorf for the Attorney General called the lawsuit “scandalous, frivolous, and vexatious.”
“It consists of bald allegations without any material facts necessary to support the causes of action alleged.”
Mr. Benendorf said COVID-19 vaccination was “safe” and “effective” and part of accepted measures to respond to the pandemic.
“The Defendants deny that the Plaintiffs, or any of them, suffered as a result of being vaccinated or that they can be liable to the Plaintiffs for any negative effects from taking a vaccine.”
Mr. Benendorf also says the defendants did not breach any of the plaintiffs’ charter rights. He said the plaintiffs had proper recourse through the military grieving process.
The Military Grievances External Review Committee (MGERC) processed a number of grievances from the plaintiffs and determined that the CAF infringed upon the members’ charter rights.
Decisions from the administrative tribunal, which are not binding, were released last spring.
“I conclude that the limitation of the grievers’ right to liberty and security of the person by the CAF vaccination policy is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice because the policy, in some aspects, is arbitrary, overly broad and disproportionate,” said MGERC in one decision.
Gen. Eyre is the final authority on those grievances, but he has yet to address them. Among the things sought by the lawsuit is removing the authority the Chief of the Defence Staff has over the grievance process.
‘The People You Want’
The CAF lost hundreds of soldiers due to the vaccine mandate, along with extensive experience from highly specialized trades.
Four pilots are part of the 128 lawsuit, including a former member of the elite Snowbirds Squadron. There are also three snipers, including one who was part of the secretive anti-terrorism unit Joint Task Force-2. Four other plaintiffs were part of special operations units JTF-2 or the Canadian Special Operations Regiment.
Former Air Force Maj. Serge Faucher had 39 years of service and was doing his course to be promoted to lieutenant-colonel when he chose to retire rather than comply with the mandate. Mr. Faucher, a high-level athlete, is featured in the CAF video “One of the fastest CAF-Men on the Planet” in 2021.
“Man oh man, these are the people you want in the armed forces,” he said about the individuals in the two abuse-of-power lawsuits. “Canada is less safe due to the actions of the CDS.”
Mr. Faucher, who is part of the first lawsuit, said in an interview he avoided the impacts of the policy by retiring, but as a result he was denied three additional years of service and a promotion. He initially didn’t think of joining the lawsuit, saying he was just mad with the situation and “done with this outfit.”
But later he had second thoughts.
“I was aggrieved, because I was a good performing officer,” he said. “I was a role model to a lot of people in the armed forces altogether. … They wanted to promote me, and suddenly, I’m not good enough for them, and I’m being coerced and forced out.”
Logan White is a plaintiff in the second lawsuit who was forced out under 5(f) after 17 years of service for refusing COVID-19 vaccination. He worked as an avionics systems technician out of CFB Shearwater in Nova Scotia.
“My hope is that I can feel some small sense of justice, that people will be held accountable,” he told The Epoch Times about his reason for joining the lawsuit.
“And maybe some of the ordinary people who weren’t directly involved in any of the military stuff might reflect on some of the awful things they said and did to the unvaccinated people in their lives as well.”
Plaintiffs are seeking different declarations from the defendants, including that they breached the public trust, that the CDS issued an unlawful order, and that the defendants caused harm to the plaintiffs.
They also want those who were released under the mention 5(f) “unsuitable for further service” to be changed to a voluntary release under item 4(c). The dishonourable discharge can impact future employment opportunities and is a stain on one’s record.
Plaintiffs are also asking for $1 million each for general and aggravated damages, on top of other damages for CAF’s alleged failure to follow the National Defence Act (NDA) and other policies.
Soldiers were expelled from the organization through an administrative process, rather than being court-martialled for disobeying an order to get vaccinated in accordance with the NDA. The latter would have involved a court process, and the chance for the soldiers to present their side.
The plaintiffs also seek declarations that various top leadership figures in the CAF allegedly violated different rights protected by the charter, such as liberty and security of the person and freedom of conscience.
Ms. Christensen says she’s now preparing another lawsuit specifically for soldiers who have been vaccine injured. She’s awaiting a decision from Veterans Affairs Canada in the coming months as to whether or not they will pay compensation for vaccine injuries.