TORONTO, Dec. 23, 2019 /CNW/ - Canadian diplomats and their families who suffered acquired brain injuries while serving their country in Havana are reacting to the announcement that their U.S. counterparts are set to receive long-term, emergency care, while they continue to face unfounded and offensive allegations that they have "exaggerated" the harms suffered by them.
"The claim that we somehow have exaggerated the damages suffered to us while we served our country is a real slap to the face," said Diplomat Allen. "To us, the legal positions taken by the government of Canada shows yet again that it does not take seriously the health and safety of its diplomats."
"These men and women are international diplomats who are experienced, committed, and highly trained professionals", said Paul Miller, lawyer for the Plaintiffs. "To allege that they have exaggerated their claims is offensive and uncalled for, and frankly is an insult to the entire diplomatic community."
The Plaintiffs and their lawyers are concerned that the legal position taken in court documents appears to contradict public statements made by both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland.
On February 7, 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau stated that "There is no question that the health impacts on diplomats in Cuba have been visible and real," and that "We've been taking it very, very seriously from the beginning and we will continue to take very seriously the health and safety of all Canadians who serve anywhere overseas."
Minister Freeland has also been public of her support of the diplomats and their families. On February 6, 2019 she stated, "I've met with some of the affected Canadian diplomats who had been serving in Cuba and they told me about their situation. I'm really concerned about them and they have Canada's utmost sympathy and support. They were in Cuba representing us and representing our country and their health and safety absolutely needs to be a priority,"
A spokesperson for the department has also publicly stated that it is "deeply troubled" by the "health problems" of the diplomats and their families, and is "exploring any and all possible causes" through an investigation led by the RCMP and other agencies. "We know that this has been a harrowing experience for the affected diplomats and their loved ones and they have our unwavering support," […] "We will continue to do all we can to provide advice and support to them under these difficult circumstances."
"It has been over two years since the onset of symptoms and the government of Canada's position in its Statement of Defence continues to make us feel abandoned by Canada. In our view, the government has failed to make any real efforts to thoroughly investigate the potential cause of the symptoms," said Diplomat Allen.
In the meantime, the plaintiffs remain concerned that the multiple delays in treatment and testing they experienced continues to impact their ability to recover. Medical treatment at the University of Pennsylvania was abruptly stopped by Canada, and the plaintiffs are concerned that the government of Canada continues to interfere with the ability of the diplomats and their family members to obtain their own medical records from the University of Miami, where they also obtained treatment.
Some of the children of these diplomats who were in Cuba continue to suffer tremendously from their injuries, which has had a devastating impact on their schooling and their futures. Most of the diplomats' future overseas postings are now in question or ruled out, due to their ongoing health problems.
"It is time for the government of Canada to do what is right and take care of its diplomats, just like the U.S. has done with theirs" said Mr. Miller. "The lawsuit provides an appropriate vehicle for Canada to right its wrongs in order to restore the diplomats' faith and trust in its government."
Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP and Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation are the lawyers for the Plaintiffs and can be reached using the contact information below for further information regarding the lawsuits.
About Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP
Howie, Sacks & Henry advances mass tort claims and class actions on behalf of people injured by dangerous products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. These include victims who have suffered exposure to asbestos, cancer caused by the use of baby powder, the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, and those adversely impacted by defective medical devices, including St. Jude Defibrillators, Hernia Mesh and Transvaginal Mesh.
About Waddell Phillips PC
Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation is a boutique law firm, specializing in plaintiff-side class actions. The principals of the firm have helped victims in a wide range of cases, including product liability, consumer protection, aboriginal residential schools, franchise disputes and securities misrepresentations.
SOURCE Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP