Another Canadian soldier dies of apparent suicide
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013 10:08PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 3, 2013 11:13PM EST
Another Canadian soldier has died of an apparent suicide, after three veterans were found dead last week.
Master Cpl. Sylvain Lelievre, 46, was a member of the Royal 22e Regiment at CFB Valcartier in Quebec.
Friends say he was a decorated soldier who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan. His body was discovered Monday near the base.
One friend said Lelievre was “an outstanding soldier, always proud to serve his country.”
Alain Brunet, who served with Lelievre in Germany more than two decades ago, told CTV News his friend was known for his “contagious” smile.
“The guy just wanted to please everybody. Will do anything for any friends or anything that needs help,” he said.
Brunet’s wife, Tracy, said she wanted Lelievre to be remembered as “somebody that had a huge heart, a heart of gold."
She said he was loved by everyone who knew him.
News of his Lelievre’s death came as Sen. Romeo Dallaire, a retired lieutenant-general, said he was so troubled by recent military suicides that he’s had trouble sleeping.
Dallaire, who served as commander of the ill-fated UN peacekeeping mission to Rwanda, fell asleep at the wheel Tuesday and crashed his car into a lamp post on Parliament Hill.
He later told his Senate colleagues and reporters that he was sleep-deprived because he’s been troubled by the Canadian Forces suicides and the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.
Dallaire has been open about his struggles with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning from Rwanda.
Last week, the apparent suicides of three other Canadian soldiers raised questions about the services and care offered to troubled veterans.
Warrant officer Michael McNeil died last Wednesday at the Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in Ontario.
Earlier in the week, Master Cpl. William Elliott died at his home just outside CFB Shilo in Manitoba, while Master Bombardier Travis Halmrast died in Lethbridge, Alta., following a suicide attempt at a corrections facility.
It’s believed that all of them suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Veterans groups say the deaths only hint at the magnitude of the problems facing returning soldiers.
Meanwhile, a soldier who survived a suicide attempt has come forward with his story, saying he was devastated when the military told him he was being discharged because of his PTSD.
Master Cpl. Kristian Wolowidnyk told CTV News he felt that he was being "thrown away like trash."
He spent a week in a mental health wing of an Edmonton hospital and is now getting professional help.
The Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program has a confidential 24/7 toll-free telephone advisory and referral service for all military personnel and their families. The number is: 1-800-268-7708.
With a report from CTV’s Richard Madan and files from The Canadian Press