Veter­ans Af­fairs re­sponds

Of­fi­cial re­sponse to Veter­ans Af­fairs threats says sit­u­a­tion was han­dled ap­pro­pri­ately

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - THE GUARDIAN

Fed­eral depart­ment says it takes safety se­ri­ously and re­sponded ap­pro­pri­ately to Wed­nes­day’s bomb threats.

Veter­ans Af­fairs Canada says it takes safety se­ri­ously and be­lieves it re­sponded ap­pro­pri­ately to Wed­nes­day’s bomb threats at its na­tional head­quar­ters in Char­lot­te­town.

The Guardian asked the depart­ment for a re­sponse to con­cerns raised by Veter­ans Af­fairs em­ployee and union rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jody LaPierre.

LaPierre told The Guardian there was con­fu­sion, tears and even­tu­ally frus­tra­tion and anger as the day of the bomb threat went from warn­ings, wait­ing out­side, and even­tu­ally hav­ing the of­fice closed and all employees sent home.

“Veter­ans Af­fairs Canada takes the safety and se­cu­rity of our staff and all visi­tors to our sites very se­ri­ously,” said Jan­ice Sum­merby, Ot­tawa-based me­dia re­la­tions ad­vi­sor for the depart­ment.

“Upon re­ceiv­ing the threat we took all ap­pro­pri­ate steps, ac­cord­ing to es­tab­lished se­cu­rity pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing im­me­di­ately evac­u­at­ing the build­ing(s) and en­gag­ing po­lice au­thor­i­ties,” said her state­ment.

Guardian read­ers on the web­site, how­ever, pre­sented their view.

One anony­mous com­ment said there was no panic or may­hem.

“At no point dur­ing the en­tire sit­u­a­tion did I feel un­cer­tain of what was go­ing on or where I should be,” said the com­ment.

“As a fi­nal note, thank you to all of the se­cu­rity staff, health and safety and fire com­mit­tees, Char­lot­te­town po­lice and man­age­ment at Veter­ans Af­fairs for treat­ing the threat as se­ri­ous and ex­e­cut­ing a re­sponse plan with­out hes­i­ta­tion. It is much ap­pre­ci­ated.”

In con­trast, an­other com­menter go­ing by the name of Tim said the depart­ment has ex­pe­ri­ence with this kind of sit­u­a­tion.

“I’m pretty sure if you look through news sto­ries over the past few years there has been more bomb threats at VAC through­out the coun­try than ev­ery other depart­ment com­bined,” he said.

Veter­ans Af­fairs head­quar­ters was open and op­er­at­ing as nor­mal Thurs­day.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the bomb threat is on­go­ing.

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