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Daughters of Victoria man who went missing in Spain criticize embassy for inaction

Scott Graham has been missing for nearly two months. His daughters say the Canadian embassy could have done more when he needed help

By Jimmy Thomson
September 10, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Daughters of Victoria man who went missing in Spain criticize embassy for inaction

Scott Graham has been missing for nearly two months. His daughters say the Canadian embassy could have done more when he needed help

By Jimmy Thomson
Sep 10, 2022
Photo: Help Find Scott Graham Facebook page
Photo: Help Find Scott Graham Facebook page
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Daughters of Victoria man who went missing in Spain criticize embassy for inaction

Scott Graham has been missing for nearly two months. His daughters say the Canadian embassy could have done more when he needed help

By Jimmy Thomson
September 10, 2022
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Daughters of Victoria man who went missing in Spain criticize embassy for inaction
Photo: Help Find Scott Graham Facebook page

Scott Graham appeared in the Canadian embassy in Madrid on July 15th, with a visible wound in his head and missing his bag, phone, passport, and medication. 

The 68-year-old from Victoria was in medical distress; having had a recent kidney transplant, he needed anti-rejection drugs, which were lost when his bus left him behind at a rest stop. Without them, he was in grave danger and would be cognitively impaired.

His daughter, Georgia Graham, posted on Instagram that embassy staff—aware of his medical condition—declined to accompany Graham, who on top of his medical condition is a senior and does not speak Spanish, to the hospital directly across the street. 

He told staff he couldn’t remember his passwords or his family’s contact information, but then, in the process of applying for a new passport he wrote down his daughter’s email address as an emergency contact.

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That embassy visit, and what happened next, is putting Global Affairs and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly in the crosshairs of the family and MP Laurel Collins: embassy staff, despite having an emergency contact available for a person in an emergency, did not email his daughter. They also did not email her when he failed to show up for his follow-up appointment for a new passport. They later told his daughter the reason they had not contacted her was out of concern for his privacy.

They are the last people known to have seen him; he did not board a flight home two weeks later.

“It’s so disheartening for Canadians,” Collins said. “When Canadians go abroad, we want to know our embassies will help us when we’re in distress.”

Collins has written a letter to Minister Joly, which Collins’s office shared with Capital Daily. 

“I am gravely concerned with the difficulties they have encountered and the lack of support they have received in their search,” Collins wrote. “I am also deeply concerned with the lack of support Scott Graham received at the embassy.” 

His daughter, Georgia, did not immediately respond to a request for an interview but wrote in an Instagram post on behalf of his family that in three visits to the embassy, they had received conflicting and inconsistent information—sometimes revealing situations where the embassy could have provided information or assistance to the family but had chosen not to. 

“They were hoping for more support from the embassy, even as they arrived in their search,” Collins said. “His daughters have been tirelessly searching for him, with very little support from the government.” 

In one case, the embassy told the family—more than a month after Scott had gone missing—that he had mentioned plans to go back to La Paz Hospital at 5pm the day he was in the embassy. “Never in all our correspondence with Global Affairs or the Embassy had anyone given us that piece of Information motion, despite our vocal desperation to find out what happened at the hospital and whether or not he received his medication,” she wrote.

On a third visit, Graham wrote, embassy staff refused to accompany the family to the same hospital; she believes they would have had more luck getting information had they been accompanied by “a bilingual government official who is in direct contact with the police,” she wrote. 

Collins says that after posting about Graham’s disappearance on social media, she had other people reach out with similar stories, expressing their own disappointment with Canadian embassies. 

“I believe the minister should be looking into what went wrong in this case—and whether this is happening in other embassies as well,” she said. 

Global Affairs Canada was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

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Jimmy Thomson
Managing Editor

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