'Bureaucratic Screw Up' Sends Family Of Dead Soldier One-Cent Check
Defense Minister Rob Nicholson is apologizing to the family of deceased soldier Cpl. Justin Stark after the federal government sent Stark's family a one-cent check.
Cpl. Stark died of a suicide in 2011 just months after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.
For Stark’s mother, receiving a one-cent check in the mail two-and-a-half years after her son’s death was insulting at best.
“It’s humiliating and degrading,” said Kevin Ellis, speaking on behalf of the Stark family. “It took the wind out of her sails. It’s been 2½ years and she gets a check in the mail from the government addressed to her son for one cent? This woman lost her son, and it seems like all these things keep falling on her.”
The check was labeled as “release pay.”
Defense Minister Nicholson called the check “absolutely ridiculous” and blamed it on an “insensitive bureaucratic screw up.”
“I've just learned of it now and I will take steps immediately to ensure that something like this should never happen again,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson told CTV News he will make a personal call to the family to offer his apologies and condolences.
“I extend the apologies of...everyone in the government to his mother,” Nicholson said during a recent Q&A session. “And we thank this individual for the service that he gave his country.”
Ellis told CBC News that the Stark family wants to see corrective actions, not apologies, taken by the government.
“If it had been in the first year, she would have understood. But this is inexcusable,” Ellis said. “At the end of the day, this is a young man who defended our country. He deserves better.”