Veterans Affairs says Charlottetown bomb threat handled appropriately

Nigel Armstrong
Published on January 7, 2016

Officers meet in the back parking lot of the Jean Canfield federal building in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2015 after visually sweeping the exterior. A bomb threat against the building came in around 3:30 p.m., the second such threat of the day. Around 11 a.m. the first bomb threat was received against the Veterans Affairs Canada headquarters building nearby.

©THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

No support for union claim that there was upset, confusion, frustration, anger

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.

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“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.