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Canada National Defence breaks promise of extended release to soldier who attempted suicide

Master Cpl. Kristian Wolowidnyk is shown in this 2010 handout photo in the in Panjwaii District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. National Defence has done an about-face and revoked an offer that would have allowed a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder, who spoke publicly last fall about his attempted suicide, the right to an extended release from the military.

HO/THE CANADIAN PRESS

National Defence has done an about-face and revoked an offer that would have allowed a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder, who spoke publicly last fall about his attempted suicide, the right to an extended release from the military.

Master Cpl. Kristian Wolowidnyk's story made headlines across the country in November when it was revealed he tried to take his own life after the army put him on the fast-track for dismissal.

The military backed down after his case became public, but just last week reversed itself and said he doesn't qualify for the program.

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He was given the latest news last Tuesday by officials at the Edmonton Joint Personnel Support Unit, one of several centres across the country designed to get injured and ill soldiers back to their units or — more often — out of the military.

Wolowidnyk, and wife Michele, were told the offer for an extended release under the Integrated Transition Program was withdrawn and that the base surgeon had stated that there was no medical reason why he couldn't be either working or in school.

Michele Wolowidnyk, in a letter to Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson, says that the base surgeon has never met her husband and that she believes the department was just stringing him along until the media attention died down.

The former combat engineer and Afghan war veteran is unable to comment because, after all the public attention, he was compelled to sign the defence department's social media policy, which forbids him from saying anything disparaging or critical of the military — and the joint personnel unit in particular.

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