Oh, yes. Sorry about that.
James Brun lied to the school board and said that I had 17 requirements left and not enough time and so they should kick me off the course. That wasn't true. I only had four requirements, and I had a book showing the truth. I put that in my grievance, and they did find that I was telling the truth and he wasn't. But I lost my job. He got away with it.
Karen Belhumeur, at that board meeting, told me that based on that information, effective immediately they were ceasing my training; I had too many family matters to deal with. My son was thousands of miles away at that time. I was kicked off the ship and I lost my pay raise, my promotion, and I was removed from the ship's roster. I submitted a harassment complaint against James Brun, and a grievance, but years ago it was found that they weren't going to do anything about it.
I then went to the BPSO, who was the human resources person who helps us switch trades. I told her that I had an unsustainable cost flying my baby back and forth for day care and that I would like to have any other trade. I would do any other job in the forces. There were a hundred other jobs I could have done, even though it broke my heart that I could no longer sail, because that was what I wanted to do. The BPSO told me that the CAF does not recognize a baby to switch trades and she wouldn't help me.
I went to Karen Belhumeur, the head of the department at my school, and another female superior, Kim Chu, for help. They brought me into their office and told me behind closed doors that if I didn't get rid of my child, I would be fired. I couldn't believe that my own Canadian government would force me to give away my baby, or terminate my employment if I didn't, when all I wanted to do was serve my country.
I was willing to do any job that I could. I had already missed that second whole year of my child's life so that I could serve in the navy and be at sea, and I was threatened with loss of employment if I didn't get rid of him on a more permanent basis. It was a catch-22. I didn't want to live without him, but I didn't know what to do without a job, so I started at that point becoming suicidal.
I volunteered for logistics and I worked there for a year, hoping to get a trade transfer into that trade because it sails much less. I told the female CO of base logistics there, Commander Roberts, that there was a lot of discrimination going on against me. She told me that I should have had an abortion and that these problems were my own fault for having a baby too early in my career. She also told me that being on the wait-list for military day care for two years was just the way it is for everybody and she would not help me.
After asking the padre for help and receiving none, I then went to the mental health unit and told them that my chain of command was trying to force me to give away my child. The doctor put me on a temporary medical category. This prevented me from going to sea. I thought this would be a good opportunity to fill out my paperwork and hopefully get to Cornwall back in Ontario, to train as an air traffic control officer so that I could be close to my family, my support network. I would no longer sail with these erratic schedules that are impossible for a single parent. I was ready to switch trades, but my female doctor, Dr. Boylan, told me that she was not signing my transfer papers because I had been to mental health for three different reasons.
I was stuck in the military without a trade, without belonging to a unit fully, without any chance of promotion or advancement for four years. I was a pariah, and it took a very big toll on my health.
The only thing I could do was volunteer again, so I worked at public affairs. I made much less money than everyone in the office because I was stuck for seven years at the lowest rank possible. I did a really good job there. I waited for my medical chit to expire so that I could transfer to public affairs because I was doing a good job, but Dr. Boylan wouldn't sign my medical papers. I was trapped.
I went to work every day stuck in that lowest officer rank, for seven years. There was just no chance of me developing my career. All around me all of my peers were advancing in their career. They were getting promotions and they were earning more money. I was stuck.
Depressed and trying to push suicide from my mind, I tried to use my leave travel assistance, which Natalie mentioned, to fly home for Christmas to see my family. I found that when I gave birth, I lost that benefit to be flown home to see my family because my son became my next of kin. All of my single friends in the military had two free flights per year, but I had to pay because I gave birth.
I got an email saying that because I had a baby, I was bumped down to a second-tier category to fly on the military Airbuses to go home for Christmas, while everyone else who was single got free rides. I waited. A month later I applied, and then I was denied because all the flights were full.
I was denied the benefits, based on my family status, and the discriminatory policies are still in place today.
The military also took $700 off my paycheque for day care when my son finally got in after the wait list, and $915 for my rent. However, a male officer who sat next to me on the same course got his room and board paid for by the military because he had a wife and a house back in New Brunswick, pursuant to the policy called “furniture and effects”. There was a $3,000 pay gap between me and my married male counterpart who didn't have a child. That was not even including salary.
Suicide became an everyday battle for me as I was surrounded by enemies in the workplace. My training officers ganged up on me. Those whose job it was to help me switch jobs refused, and the medical support basically stabbed me in the back. If I had never gone to the mental health unit for help, I wouldn't have lost my job because they would have switched me into a trade.
Everything I went to the mental health unit for was actually a direct women's issue, and there was no support for any of it.
I knew that I hit rock bottom as I was biking to work because I was crying, and I had tears streaming down my face. I was sobbing and gasping for air while I was biking, so I knew that I was in trouble. At night, I would wake up doing the same thing, in a panic because I was forced to choose between my child or losing my career and my home because the military was providing a home for me and I knew that I was going to lose that, too. The choices were too hard.
The navy was trying to force me to go back to sea, where I had been harassed by James Brun, and I knew that I had to empty my bank account once again to fly my child across the country to say goodbye to him so that I could sail. That was the only way.
At that point, I made up my mind that if I got on a plane one more time to give my child away for the military that was torturing me, I would give my boy to my parents one last time and end my life—