Victoria MP Laurel Collins continued to press the federal government this week for answers about a Victoria man’s disappearance in Europe.
Scott Graham, 67, travelled to Amsterdam alone this summer, then headed to Portugal and Spain. Graham, who requires medication for a kidney transplant and may be experiencing some form of cognitive impairment, was left behind at a rest stop when the bus he was travelling on drove off, taking his medicine, phone and passport with it.
Graham was last seen at the Canadian Embassy in Madrid on July 15. He had an appointment to return to the embassy on July 18 to pick up a new passport, but he did not show, nor was he at Amsterdam airport to catch his return flight home on July 29.
In August, Graham’s daughters Kaiza and Georgia and Georgia’s partner James travelled to Madrid to try to find him. They became concerned about how Graham was treated by embassy staff.
On Sept. 9, Collins wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly outlining the family’s concerns about how Graham was treated by embassy staff.
At the embassy, Graham could not remember his email passwords or contact information for his family, but did want to speak to his three children and his brother. He told staff he had tried to replace his missing medication at a local hospital but failed because he did not speak Spanish, wrote Collins. He also had a noticeable gash on his forehead.
“Embassy staff did not take Mr. Graham back to the hospital to help with translation, despite his visible injuries and his need for daily medication,” wrote Collins.
Before he left, Graham remembered the email address of one of his daughters and wrote it on the emergency contact line of his passport application, but embassy staff did not contact the family that day, or July 18 when Graham missed his appointment to pick up his passport, wrote Collins. Embassy staff told the family they did not consider his case urgent.
In her letter, Collins said she is gravely concerned by the lack of support the Graham family has received and hopes the embassy would offer more support for the family. She asked Foreign Affairs to look into his disappearance to determine what went wrong.
“Scott reached out for help, but Canada’s system to support people in an emergency failed,” Collins said Tuesday in the House of Commons. “When Canadians go to their embassy, they expect to get help. When loved ones go missing abroad, they expect real action for families. What is the minister doing to support the family while making sure this never happens again?”
The government is very concerned for Graham’s well-being, Robert Oliphant, parliamentary secretary for Foreign Affairs, replied.
Consular officials in Ottawa and Spain “have taken this very seriously and will continue to advise us as we continue to search for information about his well-being and will be in contact with friends and families as well,” said Oliphant.
The minister has asked for “a complete understanding” of how the department and the embassy have dealt with the situation and will report back to the House at a later date, he said.
A Facebook page called Help Find Scott Graham at facebook.com/FindCanadianScottGraham features posters with information translated into six languages for sharing. Anyone with information can email email@example.com.