KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – On the first anniversary of his wife’s burial, Mike Foley gets a message from the RCMP…..again. If you recall the first part of Mike’s story, published in the Nova Scotia Advocate in April 2017, you’ll remember that Foley was being pursued by the Department of Community Services and the RCMP for fraud. Foley was supposed to sell his tattoo equipment while on social assistance as Community Services deemed it an ‘asset’ to be liquidated despite the fact that the department’s policies clearly state that any asset that helps a client to set up a business or get a job can be exempt from that rule.
The RCMP first contacted Mr. Foley on April 17, 2017. The Constable wanted to come to Foley’s house and take a statement regarding the fraud charges. Foley did not want them to do that as his 14 year old daughter, Ashley, is severely autistic and is still suffering from trauma after her mother died. Ashley is terrified of losing her father as well. A visit to the house from the RCMP might send her into a tailspin.
Instead, Foley agreed to go the local RCMP detachment and give a statement. On the day agreed upon for Foley to go to the detachment, he hired a babysitter for Ashley, got in his vehicle and started to drive. He barely made it a kilometer down the road when the RCMP constable called him and said he wouldn’t be there as he was being called away on a more pressing matter. The constable said he would call him and set up another appointment.
The next appointment was made and the babysitter was hired again but this time Foley didn’t even make it out of the driveway. The constable called and, with a witness present (the constable was on speaker phone) Foley was told that the constable was again pulled away to ‘something more important’ and he would get in contact with Foley again ‘soon’.
The month of May passed; the month of June passed. Foley decided to try and apply for social assistance again as he has medication he needs but cannot afford. He applied for social assistance in early July but tells us that he did not receive any response to his application. Instead, he receives another phone call from the RCMP claiming that the investigation of ‘fraud’ is on again. Foley plays the recording of the message the constable left for him. “You’ve had enough time to collect your emails and evidence together for your side” and again wants a statement from Foley.
Foley is shocked. The ‘investigation of fraud’ has been hanging over his head for months with no resolution or movement in sight. He believes his re-application for social assistance set the phone call from the RCMP off again and, meanwhile, he and Ashley still don’t have any help, or even a response, from the local social assistance office. Meanwhile, Community Services proclaims on its website that its services will provide “…excellence in service delivery, leadership and collaboration with our partners.” It makes Foley wonder just what is their definition of ‘excellence’ and just whom are they collaborating with. Foley and Ashley continue to get by with very little money and no medications.
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