Army cadet Pascale Bouchard-Cannon, who had an accident while training, photographed at her home in Mississauga, Ontario on Thursday, July 19, 2012.
Credits: STAN BEHAL/QMI AGENCY
The department refuses to compensate Pascale Bouchard-Cannon, 22, after a flight accident in which she fractured two vertebrae, leaving her with permanent after effects.
The event took place when she was 16 at the Valcartier base, near Quebec City. The young woman is now asking for $788,000 in compensation.
Bouchard-Cannon's glider crashed just as she was landing after her 11th flight of the day in September 2006. The wind's direction suddenly changed, but the control tower did not tell the young woman. The plane's wing hit a tree before crashing.
‘‘I look like an 80-year-old lady, I'm [like] a granny with a hunched back... Since the accident, things are worse. I tried a lot of medication, physiotherapists, Chinese medicine, Cortisone for five years,'' Bouchard-Cannon said, adding she can't sit nor stand for too long and needs to crack her back all the time.
Three internal DND reports leave few doubts about the cause of the accident.
‘‘The glider (...) had an accident because there was not enough space on the runway for a safe landing ... the plaintiff also received contradictory information from the control tower during the accident...,'' a November 2007 DND report said.
But the department refuses to pay and its lawyers ‘‘are multiplying procedure'' to ‘‘tire the family."
"‘Since the conclusions are in the Defense's favour, it's doing everything so [the conclusions] don't end up in court,'' Bouchard-Cannon's father said.
The government's lawyers have refused to negotiate an agreement, according to the young woman's lawyer, François Marchand. ‘‘What's shocking is that they are contesting the events. That's dramatic. Imagine a 16-year-old girl who has to fight against the big machine of the Defense,'' Marchand said.
The court of appeal sided with Bouchard-Cannon early in July when it allowed her to use the accident reports as evidence, but she will have to face another year-and-a-half of procedures.
The DND declined to comment on the case.