PM and defence minister skip ceremony for soldier killed during overseas training

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The body of Canadian Armed Forces Bombardier Patrick Labrie, who was killed during a NATO exercise last week in Bulgaria, was returned to Ottawa on Saturday for a memorial service. However, neither Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan were present to pay their respects.

Labrie was a non-commissioned member of the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery based at Petawawa, Ontario. He was sent to an airborne training mission in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania  called Exercise “Swift Response 19.” 

Labrie died after something went wrong during a training jump from a low altitude Monday night.

According to CBC News, his body arrived at around 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Ottawa airport.

Soldiers hoisted Labrie’s casket, draped in a Canadian flag, onto their shoulders and carried it off the plane and into a hangar. Labrie’s family members held hands and walked behind.

Afterwards, Labrie’s parents spoke about their son, his father in French and his mother in English.

The Department of National Defence is investigating what lead to Labrie’s death. Three other soldiers, including two Americans, were injured in the U.S.-led exercise. However, Labrie was under Canadian command during his exercise.

However, it seems as though neither Trudeau nor his Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was present during the soldier’s memorial service.

We contacted the PMO for comments and mentioned that the PM’s schedule doesn’t specify what he was doing on Saturday. Currently, we are awaiting a response. 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was also contacted, and according to his office, the query has been forwarded. We are also awaiting a response from him.