The Independent Investigations Office left Prince George on Friday, having completed its preliminary investigation into the RCMP shooting death of Greg Matters on Monday.
As Tracey Matters made crystal clear in her statement to Prince George news media Thursday, she has her own specific questions that she wants the investigation into her brother's death to address.
Why was it necessary to use lethal force on a man on his own property who was not holding and did not have a firearm?
Why wasn't Greg allowed to talk to his doctor, his mother or family friends during the standoff?
As Greg explained in his emails to Citizen staff in the days leading up to his death, he was a 15-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who had served in Bosnia, he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was receiving treatment from Dr. Greg Passey from the Operational Stress Injury clinic at UBC in Vancouver.
Greg's death came just 36 hours before federal defence Minister Peter MacKay announced an additional $11.4 million had been budgeted to pay for more at least 51 more doctors, nurses, addictions counsellors and social workers to work in mental health clinics at Canadian military bases to help reduce wait times.
With Canadian troops having served in the former Yugoslavia as well as through the horrors of Rwanda in the 1990s, closely followed by a decade-long presence in Afghanistan, the incidences of PTSD -- what was once called "shell shock" -- in returning veterans has risen, leading to the increased funding for treatment.
Yet the funding doesn't necessarily mean there is a greater acceptance or understanding of the disease within Canada's military.
And in Canada's paramilitary organization, the RCMP, there appears to be a complete disregard for PTSD and its effects, particularly on their its members.
In May, a retired RCMP officer f filed a complaint with the Auditor General of Canada demanding members of the federal police force have access to more mental health treatment programs.
Eric Rebiere left the police force in 2006 after 24 years. He said the federal government has refused to fund treatment for RCMP officers suffering PTSD and other occupational stress injuries.
One of the sources for an article in the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper on Rebiere's complaint was Dr. Passey, the doctor treating Greg Matters, and he was sharply critical of the RCMP.
"It's beyond disappointing. They are basically putting their head in the sand," he said. ""The whole organization, from a psychological health point of view, is very dysfunctional."
Passey complained that the RCMP had not done any meaningful research into stress injuries among members of the force.
The article went on to quote a 2010 research paper called Trauma and PTSD in the RCMP: An Underground History, written by Dr. Jeff Morley, a psychologist and RCMP staff sergeant in B.C. that confirmed Passey's assessment.
"Is there trauma in the RCMP? How could there not be!" the article quotes Morley's report. "Police officers are exposed to natural disasters, accidents, crimes, deaths, suffering, atrocities and all the evil that humans can do to each other."
As sure as trauma exists in the RCMP, so too does the stigma around it, Morley wrote.
The RCMP is about two decades behind the Canadian Forces in its treatment of stress injuries, Passey noted, adding that he fears budget cuts may further reduce the number of programs available to officers.
Passey told the Kingston newspaper that the RCMP needs to educate its officers from the beginning of their training to recognize stress injuries and know how to intervene when a colleague, subordinate or superior officer needs help.
You can will your way out of a stress injury as well as you can will your way out of a heart attack, he added.
If the RCMP can't recognize stress injuries and PTSD among their own members, how could they possibly deal with someone like Greg Matters during an emotional standoff that saw his home surrounded by an Emergency Response Team?
Hopefully, the Independent Investigations Office also addresses those broader questions in its final report.
-- Managing editor Neil Godbout