Systemic sexual misconduct in the military and the complicity of the Liberals and generals

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jerrym
Systemic sexual misconduct in the military and the complicity of the Liberals and generals

ETA: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced that Admiral Art McDonald has stepped aside voluntarily as Canada's chief of defence staff (CDS), without giving any expalanation of why or when he learned of the alleged problem that triggered this, only saying that the situation is under investigation. McDonald only became CDS two months ago after the previous CDS, Gen. Jonathan Vance, resigned over an alleged sex scandal. CBC News is reporting that "the investigation concerns McDonald's interactions with a female subordinate in the Arctic in 2010 when he held the rank of captain". Sajjan should now resign as he allegedly did nothing to deal with the sex allegations that were presented to him on March 1st 2018 by Military Ombudsman Gary Walbourne, and instead allowed the Defence Department to harass Walbourne until he retired. For more details on what happened with Walbourne see posts #3 and 4. 

This raises further questions about the vetting processes and transparency issues facing the Trudeau government. Many feel that there was not sufficient vetting or else an ignoring of existing warning signs in the selection of  'star' candidates for Governor General, who had a long record of verbal and emotional abuse of employees in previous posts, before she became Governor General, and in the selection of the two most recent chiefs of defence staff. 

The refusal of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to provide one iota of information, not even when he learned of the problem which would obviously not obstruct any investigation of McDonald, raises questions of transparency that have been seen in scandal after scandal after scandal involving the Trudeau government: the resignation of Judy Wilson Raybould and Gerald Butts, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Trudeau, over the SNC Lavalin scandal; the failure of the government to provide documents regarding the We charity scandal to a parliamentary committee that related to payments to Trudeau family members and other issues; the lack of details provided about the resignation of CDS Jonathan Vance; the settlement of a lawsuit by Vice Admiral Mark Norman, who was accused by the government of leaking government documents over which company would get a shipbuilding contract, in order to avoid having information about why this happened become public; etc. 

Last night, Harjit Sajjan disclosed that Admiral Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped aside as Canada's chief of defence staff.  It came as the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service conducts a probe into his actions. Sajjan's statement did not reveal the nature of any allegation against McDonald.

CBC News, however, reported this morning that the investigation concerns McDonald's interactions with a female subordinate in the Arctic in 2010 when he held the rank of captain. ...

McDonald was sworn into his position in mid-January following the resignation of his predecessor, Gen. Jonathan Vance. Global News has reported that Vance is being investigated by military police in connection with allegations of inappropriate behaviour by two female members of the Canadian Armed Forces. One of them, Maj. Kellie Brennan, went public with her claim of a long-term sexual relationship with Vance during an interview with The West Block host Mercedes Stephenson. Vance has denied the allegations against him. ...

The controversy has raised questions when Sajjan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first heard allegations against Vance—and if so, what did they do in response. According to Global News, Sajjan said he always forwards allegations to "appropriate authorities".

As chief of the defence staff, Vance vigorously promoted "Operation HONOUR", which encourages victims of sexual misconduct to file reports and obtain health care and counselling services.

https://www.straight.com/news/defence-minister-harjit-sajjan-announces-i...

jerrym

Reports of the resignation of  Canada's chief of defence staff (CDS), Art McDonald, over alleged sexual misconduct, the second CDS to do so in a few months has rocked military morale and led to demands that these types of investigations be moved to an independent agency, as well as creating demands for greater transparency of military and government actions and vetting of personnel for these and other posts. 

The new allegations have added to the chorus of calls for external oversight of the military, which self-polices allegations of sexual misconduct in the ranks.

Lawyer and retired colonel Michel Drapeau said the government needs to appoint a permanent and independent inspector general similar to that of other militaries.

That person would have the investigative powers to look into allegations of wrongdoing within the Canadian Armed Forces.

“If, during his investigation, he came across any evidence of a criminal nature, he would be duty bound to stop his investigations and turns the matter to the criminal police,” Drapeau said in an email.

Barring that, Drapeau said Sajjan should immediately convene a board of inquiry — perhaps headed by a military judge — to investigate the allegations against McDonald, with police only involved if the allegations are of a criminal nature.

Should police become involved, Drapeau added, it should be the RCMP (not the military police). ...

“I do not have confidence in terms of training, experience and independence,” Drapeau said of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the NIS. “Additionally, (the military police) and NIS report to the vice-chief of the defence staff, which makes any claim of ‘independence’ illusory.”

In addition to criminal offences, Canadian military personnel can also be charged with what are known as service offences, which usually relate to inappropriate conduct such as drunkenness and having a relationship with a subordinate.

Former naval reservist Marie-Claude Gagnon, who founded a group for survivors of military sexual misconduct called It’s Just 700, has been raising concerns for years about gaps in the system. She said the time for external oversight of the Armed Forces is now. “External oversight, it’s essential,” Gagnon said. “Self-policing itself has never worked. … It’s not a recipe for success. I’m hoping that there’s no doubt that there needs to be oversight.”

https://torontosun.com/news/national/admiral-art-mcdonald-steps-aside-as...

jerrym

The former military ombudsman, Gary Walbourne, says he warned Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about allegations of misconduct against General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of Defence Staff, responsible for making the Trudeau government's Honour program, aimed at eliminating sexual misconduct in the military, during a "hostile" meeting three years ago on March 1st 2018. However, instead of dealing with the problem when Walbourne went to present the evidence, Sajjan pushed away from the table with his hands in the air and refused to look at it. Instead Walbourne alleges that he faced workplace harrassment until he resigned in frustration. This once again seems to fit the pattern of the way the Trudeau government deals with all scandals.  Sajjan has refused to discuss what happened in detail. 

Canada's former military ombudsman said today he warned Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about possible sexual misconduct involving Gen. Jonathan Vance in his final meeting with the minister three years ago.

Gary Walbourne appeared before a Parliamentary committee today to deliver a blistering indictment of Sajjan's handling of the allegation against Vance — chief of the defence staff at the time — during a private meeting on March 1, 2018.

"I did tell the minister what the allegation was. I reached into my pocket to show him the evidence I was holding. He pushed back from the table and said, 'No,' and I don't think we exchanged another word," Walbourne said.

The meeting ended, Walbourne said, when he asked Sajjan for direction on what to do about the allegation.

"I wanted the minister to do his job," he said. "There was no book. There was no manual about what to do with an allegation against the chief of the defence staff."

Walbourne refused to get into the substance of the allegation against Vance, saying the complainant had told him she was not filing a formal complaint.

"I had explained to minister Sajjan that the complainant has approached me only after the assurance of confidentiality," he said. "I will not reveal the name of the complainant or the details of the complaint, for this is their story to tell, not mine."

Much of what Walbourne had to tell the committee was first reported by CBC News, quoting confidential sources, in a series of stories over the past month....

The meeting represented the nadir of a poisoned relationship between Walbourne and Sajjan that led to the watchdog's resignation and early departure from the post later that year.

Walbourne walked the committee through a separate workplace harassment investigation of his office, suggesting it was a political vendetta that only accelerated after the acrimonious meeting with Sajjan. ...

Walbourne said that, the day after he told Sajjan about the complaint, he was called to the Privy Council Office, where he was asked about the allegation.

"I was shocked they knew about it. I was completely floored when they asked about the allegation involving the chief of the defence staff," he said, noting that he had asked Sajjan to keep the matter confidential.

The Privy Council Office review, however, was stymied by Walbourne's refusal to separately turn over potentially incriminating emails and the name of the female military member who had complained informally to him about Vance.

Without those leads, senior officials appeared unable to pursue concerns he had raised, both in writing and in the meeting with Sajjan.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vance-sajjan-walbourne-misconduct-1.593...

 

jerrym

In 2019,  former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne stated that a Defence Department vendetta drove him from his job. At the time Walbourne refused to say what led to the vendetta. Because of testimony at a parliamentary committee this week, we now know that it occurred after he brought allegations of sexual misconduct against General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of Defence Staff, responsible for making the Trudeau government's Honour program, aimed at eliminating sexual misconduct in the military, operational to the attention of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. 

The Department of National Defence conducted a closed-door, wide-ranging review of complaints of mismanagement, nepotism and misuse of public funds in the Office of the Canadian Forces ombudsman last year, CBC News has learned.

The review was instrumental in the early retirement of former watchdog Gary Walbourne, according to recently released Federal Court documents.

In an interview with CBC News, Walbourne said the internal review was a flawed, politically-motivated inquiry intended to isolate and silence him. He also said the process gained significant traction only after a major, private falling out between him and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

Walbourne refused to disclose the substance of his disagreement with the minister in the late winter of 2018, but said it was serious enough that Sajjan refused to speak or even meet with him for the remainder of his tenure.

"It was a stiff conversation between adults that got a little heated," he said. "Going into detail may breach some of the oaths I've taken as Order in Council appointee."

Walbourne said that after his clash with Sajjan — which took place in a private meeting on March 1, 2018 in the minister's Parliament Hill office — he quickly found himself out of the loop.

"Every meeting from that meeting forward was cancelled. There were dozens of them that were set and cancelled over a period of time," he said. "The authorities granted to the ombudsman by the deputy minister's office were altered, changed, truncated, and it just went on and on."

The conflict, he confirmed, led to him asking for early retirement.

"For about the last eight or 10 months I was in office, I sat there without financial or human resource authorities signed off by the deputy minister," Walbourne said.

"So when you take away the tools that allow you to do the job, you can't get an audience with the minister to talk about subjects that are of importance ... So there comes a point in time when you have to consider whether I could do any further good." ...

Documents, obtained by CBC News through both the Federal Court and independent sources, corroborate Walbourne's statements about the meeting date and the limits placed on his powers. ...

Sajjan refused to answer questions about Walbourne's allegations and the revelations in the Federal Court records.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/military-ombudsman-vendetta-1.5288519

NDPP

Yet, as this ex-Afghan counter-insurgency fighter who specialized in working with US 'special ops' teams, refuses to resign or answer questions about sex scandals, nobody even bothers to ask the Defence Minister about some of  his other repugnant activities supposedly on our behalf...

Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence

https://cdainstitute.ca/ottawa-conference-2021/

Mighty Middle

I'm not sure a person (former military ombudsman, Gary Walbourne) who calls Jagmeet Singh an "Ambulance Chaser" is really that credible

NDPP

It's somewhat more serious than that. These are war preparations. Expect the xenophobic pro-war propaganda offensive to grow even louder and more vicious. Expect more Canadian tax dollars to go towards militarism. Expect also for the usual 'progressives' to spread the word about the Russia/China 'threat' and urge your support for  warmongering and imperialism styled as 'humanitarian intervention.' Remember Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria etc. And remember Joe Biden backed every one.

'The primary duty of every leftist in the imperial core is to oppose the imperialist maneuverings of their home country, regardless of what you may think of the targeted countries."

https://twitter.com/Karl_Was_Right/status/1352392876546609154

 

jerrym

Mighty Middle wrote:

I'm not sure a person (former military ombudsman, Gary Walbourne) who calls Jagmeet Singh an "Ambulance Chaser" is really that credible

Rather than deal with the issue of the whether there was a coverup by Liberal Defence Minister Sajjan and the Privy Council of sexual misconduct by General Vance, you engage in another of your distractions and attacks on an individual to avoid discussing the problem, which goes beyond well beyond Vance, because as chief of staff he was responsible for the government's Honour program, that was supposed to root out the extensive sexual abuse that has occurred in the military, when he himself allegedly was engaged in such abuse himself.

When the Liberal chair, Karen McCrimmon, of the Standing Committee on National Defence  was interviewed on Power and Politics, her defence of Sajjan's and the Trudeau's government actions was not that the Military Ombudsman, Gary Walbourne, had lied or that what he said was untrue, but that because he was unwilling to identify the woman who told him about the sexual misconduct because she feared retaliation and therefore did not want to make a formal complaint. Therefore, McCrimmon said Sajjan and the Privy Council could do nothing, which is nonsense. In other words, the Liberal committee chair did not dispute anything that Walbourne said in the committee meeting. Instead, the Liberal government in 2018 could have used the information from Walbourne to trigger a broadscale investigation of the systemic sexual abuse in the military, especially among senior officers  who have the most power to intimidate others.

Instead Sajjan and the Privy Council used the lack of a formal complaint to do nothing when they had already recgonized the widespread prevalence of sexual abuse that has occurred for decades and decades by creating Operation Honour, which was "about sexual misconduct and how the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is addressing it". As Conservative MP James Bezan noted the complainant was looking for some reassurance that her abuse by Chief of Staff Vance would be dealt with, but nothing was done for three years. Instead Walbourne was driven out of his job which sends a message that if they can do that to the Military Ombudsperson, what would they do to any military member who complained about sexual misconduct. As NDP MP Randall Garrison said, the complainant came forward because she wanted action on her complaint and it makes no sense for the Liberals to say that nothing could be done because she didn't launch a formal complaint out of fear of retaliation. The failure to take any action has perpetuated widespread sexual abuse in the military and now led to a second Chief of Staff, Art McDonald, having to resign in disgrace, because he saw nothing happening to the previous Chief and no doubt  felt the military could continue to ignore sexual misconduct as has been going on for decades and decades without any personal consequences. 

Below is a clip, titled "MPs debate former ombudsman's explosive testimony before committee", from Power and Politics with the Liberal, Conservative and NDP MPs commenting on the problem.

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1868459587517

 

kropotkin1951

Liberals in Canada are just like Democrats south of the border.

 

Mighty Middle

jerrym wrote:

Rather than deal with the issue of the whether there was a coverup by Liberal Defence Minister Sajjan and the Privy Council of sexual misconduct by General Vance, you engage in another of your distractions and attacks on an individual to avoid discussing the problem.

I'm not sure how NDP MPs and supporters can rally around Gary Walbourne and give him the benefit of the doubt, when Mr. Walbourne despises Jagmeet Singh - and says the most horrible things about Jagmeet on twitter

Because I have worse things Mr. Walbourne has said about Jagmeet on Social Media - what I posted was quite tame!

But if you feel the need to continue to support Jagmeet Singh hater Gary Walbourne, go for it.

cco

The problem with Sajjan is simple, and yet it's one that nobody's brought up since he was problematically appointed in the first place. Active-duty military officers should under no circumstances be allowed to get "promoted" to defence minister. Justin Trudeau effectively gave the military autonomy from civilian control five and a half years ago, and only now is it coming to light what a spectacularly bad idea that was in practice as well as in theory. Sajjan was a soldier for 26 years, and a regimental commander. Is it a surprise that once given command of the entire armed forces, his first instinct was still to protect his fellow soldiers, not to hold them accountable?

kropotkin1951

Mighty Middle as usual your logic sucks given it implies only people who have perfect track records of civility, to all politicians, can be trusted. The idea that a report on sexual abuse should be ignored is disgusting. Liberal troll begone!!

jerrym

cco wrote:
The problem with Sajjan is simple, and yet it's one that nobody's brought up since he was problematically appointed in the first place. Active-duty military officers should under no circumstances be allowed to get "promoted" to defence minister.

I agree that having active-duty military officers become defence minister should not happen. However the problem is much deeper than that because the accusations against General Vance went to the Privy Council Office, which co-ordinates the activities of Cabinet and Cabinet committees and acts as a liaison with government agencies and departments on Cabinet matters and it also went to the Prime Minister's Office, the latter being confirmed today by the Globe and Mail. Trudeau claims he did not not any of the "specific" allegations involving Vance in response to this article by the Globe and Mail (PMO was alerted to Sajjan's concerns about Vance in 2018 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-pmo-senior-adviser-aler...). This sounds like weasel words to give Trudeau plausable deniability. It follows a typical pattern for this government of not admitting there is a problem, doing nothing about until evidence about the problem is brought by the media or opposition, and then trying to shut down any attempt to find out fully what happened: this can be seen previously in Trudeau's initial reaction to questions about his Blackface episodes where he on the first day hesitated to admit they were true; the coverup of the Governor General's abuse of workers until they could hide it no longer; the resignation of Judy Wilson Raybould and Gerald Butts, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Trudeau, over the SNC Lavalin scandal; the failure of the government to provide documents regarding the We charity scandal to a parliamentary committee that related to payments to Trudeau family members and other issues; the lack of details provided about the resignation of CDS Jonathan Vance; the settlement of a lawsuit by Vice Admiral Mark Norman, who was accused by the government of leaking government documents over which company would get a shipbuilding contract.

The Trudeau Liberals rather than deal with problems tend to sweep them under the rug until they blow up in their face. The tragedy for women and men in the military in this case is that the sexual abuse they face continues to go on under this approach to governing.

kropotkin1951

jerrym wrote:

The Trudeau Liberals rather than deal with problems tend to sweep them under the rug until they blow up in their face. The tragedy for women and men in the military in this case is that the sexual abuse they face continues to go on under this approach to governing.

Rideau Hall proved that the Liberals have sunk into the worst kind of ad hoc governance when it comes to dealing with complaints of ongoing abuse in Canada's institutions. They hired someone who had already been run out of two jobs for bullying because she was a shiny bauble. It leads me to believe that the whole party and leadership uses the exact same bullying style so they paid it no mind.

Mighty Middle

Jagmeet Singh appeared on the Sunday AM Talk Shows and said Gen. Jonathan Vance situation is another example of Justin Trudeau having a poor vetting process.

jerrym

Women who were in the military are speaking out about the failure of Defence Minister Sajjan to pursue sexual misconduct claims involving former Chief of Staff General Vance. As a result of this, they have no confidence in Sajjan's leadership.  The Liberals answer is we couldn't do more. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. 

A military law expert makes it clear that Sajjan could have taken action to rectify the problem. 

Women who experienced sexual assault in the military say they're disappointed and dismayed by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's alleged refusal to look at evidence of possible misconduct involving the former chief of the defence staff.

Retired master corporal Stéphanie Raymond — who alleged she was raped by a superior and then drummed out of the army in 2013 for reporting it — is calling for Sajjan's resignation.

Marie-Claude Gagnon — a former naval reservist and founder of It's Just 700, the group that fronted the class action lawsuit against the federal government over sexual misconduct in the military — said Sajjan needs to provide a clear, coherent explanation for his actions.

If he can't, Gagnon said, he should resign or be fired.

In his testimony Wednesday before the House of Commons defence committee, former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne said he warned Sajjan in a March 1, 2018 meeting that he had received an informal complaint of sexual misconduct involving Gen. Jonathan Vance. ...

He said he brought along evidence but the minister refused to look at it.

"I'm just trying to think, why would a person do that?" said Gagnon. "You can redirect it to another authority ... I don't see why a person wouldn't look at an anonymous email. You know? If it was provided to him with no names." The minister, she said, had a "duty to inform" himself "to ensure the safety" of others. "So if you're made aware of something, there is a minimum that needs to be done."

Speaking to Radio-Canada on Thursday, Raymond said she has no "confidence" in Sajjan's leadership. "The minister, basically, I think he should perhaps leave his functions," she said in French. "He has missed too many opportunities to act. Unfortunately, he too is part of the problem [if] he continues to camouflage, or to be complicit by omission."

Raymond said she has no faith in Sajjan's ability to manage "the problem of sexual misconduct, which [has been] a scandal for several years." ...

The minister has said that he has notified the proper authorities of cases of potential misconduct and "any suggestion that I have done otherwise is wrong." Gagnon said that such non-specific statements from the minister are simply not acceptable.

The Conservative opposition also was not reassured; late Thursday, it proposed to expand parliamentary hearings into military sexual misconduct to examine recent allegations made against Vance's successor, Admiral Art McDonald. ...

McDonald is also under investigation by the military's National Investigative Service (NIS) for possible violations of the Code of Service Discipline.

Liberal government officials, speaking on background, defended Sajjan's refusal to look at Walbourne's documents, saying "that would have meant he was part of the chain of evidence." ...

One military law expert said the minister had the authority and the tools at his disposal to look into the allegations himself. Retired colonel Michel Drapeau scoffed at the notion the minister would have inserted himself into the "chain of evidence" by looking at Walbourne's material. "Give me a break," he said. "It's not a criminal matter, as far as I know. It's obfuscation. He had a duty to be informed. He had a duty to take action."

Under Section 45 of the National Defence Act, the minister has the power to order a board of inquiry investigation. Separately, the Queen's Regulations and Orders, which govern military conduct, allow the minister to appoint a military judge to head an investigation.

Even if Sajjan didn't want to go that far, Drapeau said, he could have taken the anonymous complaint to Vance and taken a statement.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vance-sajjan-walbourne-department-of-de...

jerrym

A third senior officer was allegedly involved in inappropriate sexual behaviour, some of which dates as far back as the 1990s. Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson, who was promoted to the commander in charge of human resources for the Canadian Forces in 2019 when the Trudeau Liberals were in power, has power "over career consequences for military members found to have engaged in sexual misconduct". On Power and Politics today, it was reported that he had a widely nickname, "Mulligan",  in the military, because he had been given so many no consequences do-overs despite his actions. This shows how widespread and deep the acceptance of sexual abuse in the military is. Furthermore, allowing such a person to be in charge of human resources, means he has enormous influence over who gets promoted and who gets disciplined, an enormous power that could be used to  disrupt any investigation of sexual abuse. With such an officer in charge of human resources, it is no wonder fear of reprisal kept so many abuse cases hidden. After being investigated, a rear admiral apologized to Edmundson, showing how systemic sexual abuse was. 

Defence Minister Sajjan claims that he only learned of this situation yesterday. There are only to two possibilities: he is telling the truth or he is lying. If he is telling the truth, this points to the utter failure of vetting of senior officers, governor generals etc. to identify problem candidates despite widespread knowledge of their problematic behaviour. The alternative is that he knew of the sexual misconduct and chose to ignore it. Either way there is little evidence that this government is going to carry out meaningful change in this area, with lower levels of the military and government workers, mostly women, facing ongoing sexual and workplace abuse. 

A gay female former warrant officer's, who is involved in a class-action lawsuit over the widespread abuse, sad comment was "I'm not surprised. ... the military is an old boys club apt to protect each other." Others question how deeply the Trudeau government's Operation Honour, aimed at rooting out sexual abuse in the military, involved meaningful investigation of the problem. 

The commander in charge of human resources for the Canadian Forces was himself investigated over allegations of inappropriate behaviour with female subordinates in the late 1990s, CBC News has learned.

Despite that, former chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance promoted Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson in 2019 to manage military personnel command, which gives him authority over career consequences for military members found to have engaged in sexual misconduct, multiple sources said.

The claims against Edmundson date back more than two decades to when he was a lieutenant-commander overseeing training at the naval officer training centre in Esquimalt, B.C.

The Department of National Defence said Edmundson was never charged or subjected to any type of administrative discipline. The department said it investigates all such claims and responds with penalties or charges where warranted.

But four sources with knowledge of the allegations describe an alleged pattern of behaviour by Edmundson aimed at female instructors and students under his command at the time. The allegations include claims of suggestive or unwelcome comments, sexual advances, predatory behaviour and inappropriate relationships with female subordinates, the sources said. ...

Multiple sources said Edmundson's behaviour wasn't taken seriously back then and said his track record of avoiding consequences earned him a nickname — "Mulligan man" — suggesting he got a do-over. Sources with direct knowledge of the alleged incidents say the investigation of the allegations against Edmundson was flawed and claim that not all witnesses and complainants were interviewed. 

A source with knowledge of the military police probe said that after military police looked into the matter, a rear admiral apologized to Edmundson for how he was treated by his chain of command during the investigation.

CBC News spoke to four other sources with knowledge of the allegations involving Edmundson. Fearing career reprisals, they asked not to be named. ...

The sources said it was "ironic" and "cringeworthy" that someone accused of inappropriate behaviour was put in charge of the directorate that provides advice on administering career consequences for those accused of sexual misconduct.

CBC News has asked Edmundson to comment multiple times since Sunday; he has not responded. ...

Former warrant officer Krista Ley left the military in 2016. She said she was harassed for being gay, beaten and sexually assaulted at CFB Gagetown, where she was the only woman on a sergeant's course at the time. She claims the complaint process is "full of conflicts of interest" that can come with threats, loss of promotions and "terrible" treatment.

Ley, who is taking part in a class action lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct in CAF, said it "looks terrible" that Edmundson is in charge of human resources after being investigated in the past. "I'm not surprised," said Ley. "It makes me angry for sure. We're only at stage one of where we're supposed to be ... The military is an old boys club apt to protect each other." ...

Dawn McIlmoyle formally left the Canadian Forces in September 1993 after she said a male colleague raped her. She said she questions how thoroughly the military investigated misconduct claims before Operation Honour — the Canadian Forces campaign against sexual misconduct in the ranks — was launched in 2015. She said Edmundson's continued service in his current role is disheartening. ...

The sources claim Edmundson made comments about female subordinates' appearances and made sexual advances that in some instances were unwanted. There are also claims that Edmundson dated subordinates in his chain of command in possible violation of good order and discipline under the National Defence Act.

Retired colonel Michel Drapeau, an expert in military law, said these latest allegations will deal another blow to serving members' confidence in senior leadership. "It is catastrophic," said Drapeau. "My reaction is just shock. It's devastating news for all those serving members ... It's a crisis of leadership. It's a crisis of credibility in high command. The successive allegations made against the highest ranking members of the military — there is a dark cloud over the entire military profession." ...

The Department of National Defence said in a statement that commenting further "on cases for which no charges were laid would be both inappropriate and irresponsible, as it would impact an individuals' right to dignity and equality."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/military-commander-haydn-edmundson-past...

jerrym

There has been a long history of sexual misconduct and abuse within the military has not been addressed by Liberal or Conservative governments, so it is not surprising to see that Sajjan is once again failing in this regard. 

It has been more than a quarter of a century, but to this day the word "Somalia" sends a shiver down the backs of soldiers old enough to remember it.

And there are going to be those in uniform who absolutely hate any comparison between the torture, murder and coverup scandal of the 1990s and the unfolding social reckoning that is taking place over sexual misconduct, and to a lesser extent racism, within the ranks. 

What they have in common, however, is that they are at their very core both crises of leadership and the perception of leaders, says retired lieutenant-general Guy Thibault.

"It is clearly a crisis," he said. "I think it's a crisis of confidence in the senior Canadian Forces leadership and that's seen from both sides."  ...

"If we are comparing back to the period of Somalia, when you look at the Airborne Regiment and you look at the actions of a few that really cast a very negative shadow on the institution, you've got to draw the parallels."

In its time, the Somalia scandal was known as a national shame. 

The grisly photos of the beating death of a Somali teenager at the hands of two members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment drew outrage from the public .

It left an indelible mark on the 1990s generation of troops. Many of those who were serving at the time can tell you where they were and what they were doing the day the airborne, which was shown to have leadership failings, was disbanded by the Liberal government of the day. Others talk about how they couldn't wear the uniforms in public for years afterwards.

Military leadership was also called into question after a CBC reporter received altered documents under access to information legislation, leading to allegations of a coverup and eventually a public inquiry. ...

The steady stream of explosive revelations over the last month of alleged misconduct — involving Gen. Jonathan Vance, the former chief of the defence staff and his successor, Admiral Art McDonald, as well as fresh concerns about the possible inappropriate behaviour of Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson two decades ago — has sent the military reeling. 

There has been a revolving door among some of the key leadership positions, in a manner that has not been seen in a generation.

Speaking to the allegations involving Edmundson, revealed by CBC News on Tuesday, military law expert and retired colonel Michel Drapeau described the effect on the military as "catastrophic" and shocking for those who are serving. "It's a crisis of leadership, it's a crisis of credibility in high command," he said.  "The successive allegations made against the highest ranking members of the military — there is a dark cloud over the entire military profession." ...

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's evasive performance before the House of Commons defence committee last month and continued vague rebuttals to the testimony of former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne, who says he warned the minister about Vance three years ago, are only feeding the political storm.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/military-misconduct-somalia-1.5943425?c...

 

jerrym

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on Friday argued with members of the Standing Committee on National Defence over the minister’s handling of the inappropriate behaviour allegations against former chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance. Today Sajjan was forced to acknowledge that an allegation of sexual misconduct against the country's former top military commander was raised with him three years ago by the Canadian Forces ombudsman and was also forced to "confirm  he did not look at the evidence" presented by military Ombudsman Gary Walbourne of sexual misconduct by Chief of Staff General Vance. Nevertheless, he tried to imply it was Walbourne's fault that nothing further was done rather than dealing with his own failure or that of the Privy Council or the Prime Minister's Office. Trudeau continues to dance around how much he knew about the problem, saying he knew there was a problem but didn't know the specifics, which, even if true, simply sounds like he didn't want to know because he didn't want to deal with it. 

Lt.-Cmdr. Raymond Trotter, the naval officer who helped bring sexual misconduct allegations against the current Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Art McDonald, also testified before the committee today, describing how he had togo through a maddening maze of bureaucracy, institutional and political, to report the allegation against McDonald, thereby further suggesting that both military and political leadership have designed this system to fail because of its byzantine bureauracy that ensures few if any complaints of sexual misconduct go anywhere. Trotter also told the committee that he faced threats from a more senior person because of his reporting on sexual misconduct, further illustrating how warped this whole system is. If this is what happens to a Lt.-Commander who was not abused, think about how many more problems and less faith a lower rank would have in reporting sexual misconduct that they had faced personally. 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan acknowledged today that an allegation of sexual misconduct against the country's former top military commander was raised with him three years ago by the Canadian Forces ombudsman.

He confirmed he did not look at the evidence but insisted, however, that he instructed ombudsman Gary Walbourne to use the powers of his office, which would have allowed him to hand over information about the allegation to military police investigators.

Today's dramatic testimony before the House of Commons defence committee marks the first time Sajjan has revealed what took place in a private meeting on March 1, 2018 with the former watchdog. It's also the first substantive account the minister has provided since allegations of sexual misconduct involving Gen. Jonathan Vance first surfaced over a month ago.

Sajjan defended his decision to not look at the information Walbourne presented, saying he was trying to "protect the integrity of the investigation." ...

The Commons defence committee is trying to find out who in the Liberal government knew about the allegations and when. Global News first reported in early February on the claim that the former chief of the defence staff had a long-standing, inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate and that he allegedly had sent a racy email to another woman, a junior member of the military.

Military police are now investigating whether a violation of the Code of Service Discipline or anything criminal has taken place. ...

Meanwhile, the naval officer who helped bring sexual misconduct allegations against the current chief of the defence staff also testified before the defence committee today.

Lt.-Cmdr. Raymond Trotter said he became aware of misconduct claims against Admiral Art McDonald through the alleged victim.

Under the military's campaign to stamp out misconduct in the ranks, Trotter was required to report what he had been told, even though the woman had asked for confidentiality.

He described going through a maddening maze of bureaucracy, institutional and political, to report the allegation against McDonald.

At one point, Trotter said, he was contacted by the chief of staff to the defence minister — a woman who initially thought he was trying to report about Gen. Vance.

"That senior person raised his voice and spoke to me in a very demeaning manner, indicating, and pardon my language, that I had f--ked up and that I ruined the respondent's career over nothing," he said.

Trotter told the committee he is worried about reprisals when he returns to duty, but added his superiors have assured him he has their support.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sajjan-sexual-miscondut-military-walbou...

jerrym

Canada's current military ombudsman, Greg Lick, says he has come to the same conclusion as all previous military ombudsman - that for true independence the ombudsman should report to Parliament, not to the defence minister, so that all parties get reports on what is happening on an ongoing basis. So without mentioning Sajjan by name, Lick has both pointed out Sajjan's failure to deal effectively with sexual misconduct in the military and the systemic nature of the problem. He also says that the previous military ombudsman, Gary Walbourne, was unfairly treated when he brought a case to the defence minister. 

Canada’s military ombudsman is calling on the federal Liberal government to make his office truly independent, saying the current structure is undercutting confidence in its ability to fight for aggrieved Canadian Armed Forces members and others.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Greg Lick also voiced his belief that his predecessor Gary Walbourne was “unfairly treated,” and defended his own appointment as ombudsman given his past ties to the head of the Department of National Defence. ...

Lick says he initially believed when he took over the job from Walbourne in November 2018 that he could work within the current structure, which involves the deputy minister of the Defence Department having to approve his budget and staffing.

But Lick says he has since changed his mind and now fully endorses Walbourne’s calls to have the ombudsman’s office completely independent from the Defence Department and the defence minister by making it report to Parliament.

“I’ve really come to realize that there’s not really any independence, or maybe more importantly, any perceived independence when the office is in anyway connected administratively to the department that it oversees,” Lick said. ...

Lick’s comments come amid a sharp debate within military and political circles around the need for true independent oversight of the Armed Forces following allegations of misconduct against several top officers, including the two most recent chiefs of defence staff.

They also follow Walbourne’s suggestions during explosive testimony in front of the House of Commons’ defence committee last month that the ombudsman’s office faced obstacles and unfair treatment from senior defence officials during his time on the job.

Those allegations largely surrounded how the Defence Department handled a whistleblower complaint against Walbourne and members of his staff, one of whom challenged the process in Federal Court where a judge found she was “denied procedural fairness.”

Numerous documents obtained by The Canadian Press also show Walbourne and the Defence Department at odds over his requests for funding and staffing approvals, including for what is described as routine travel to meet with service members and clients.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also cancelled all meetings with Walbourne after the ombudsman raised an allegation of sexual misconduct against then-defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance during a closed-door session on March 1, 2018. ...

Global News has reported the allegation relates to a lewd email that Vance purportedly sent to a much younger soldier in 2012, before he became commander of the Armed Forces. Vance has denied any wrongdoing, and the allegation has not been independently verified.

While Lick said he did not know the specifics of what happened to Walbourne, he’s come to the conclusion that his predecessor was “unfairly treated” based on what he has seen himself and heard from other staff in the watchdog’s office.

And while Lick said he has not faced any real impediments from the Defence Department, he nonetheless has heard questions about the office’s independence from military personnel, which he worries will stop people from coming forward with complaints.

“I visit various bases, and in various audiences, I still get asked questions about: ‘Are you really independent?”‘ he said. “Ultimately, that’s going to prevent some from coming forward, because they don’t have the confidence that we’ll deal with it objectively.”

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/military-ombudsman...

jerrym

In another sign of the deep problems created by the Canadian military culture and unaddressed under Liberal and Conservative governments, Lt.-Col. Eleanor Taylor, "One of the most prominent women in the Canadian military has resigned, saying she is "disgusted" by ongoing reports of sexual misconduct in the Armed Forces and dismayed that it has taken this long for the problem to come to the fore." She has the guts that she herself has been too silent on the issue in the past while Sajjan and the Liberals admit nothing. 

Taylor, the deputy commander of the 36th Brigade Group and a distinguished veteran of combat in Afghanistan, delivered a scathing resignation letter to senior military leaders — a letter that has been circulating around army headquarters in Ottawa.

"I am sickened by ongoing investigations of sexual misconduct among our key leaders," Taylor wrote in the letter, which was posted to Facebook on Tuesday. "Unfortunately, I am not surprised. I am also certain that the scope of the problem has yet to be exposed. Throughout my career, I have observed insidious and inappropriate use of power for sexual exploitation." ...

The fact that two high-ranking officers are both facing claims of inappropriate behaviour involving female subordinates has rocked the Department of National Defence to its foundations.

Taylor, who is from Antigonish, N.S., is retired from the regular force but serves in the reserves. She is considered an important role model for young women in uniform.

"Some senior leaders are unwilling or (perhaps unable) to recognize that their behaviour is harmful both to the victim and to the team," Taylor wrote in her letter. "Some recognize the harm but believe they can keep their behaviour secret. Perhaps worst of all are those in authority, who should know better, but lack the courage and tools to confront the systemic issue." ...

The scourge of sexual misconduct, Taylor wrote, has been accepted for far too long by everyone — including Taylor herself — as an unchanging aspect of military life. "I have been both a victim of, and participant in, this damaging cycle of silence, and I am proud of neither," she wrote.

"I am not encouraged that we are 'investigating our top officers.' I am disgusted that it has taken us so long to do so."

"I have spent the past decade speaking publicly and passionately about the gains women have made in the CAF," Taylor wrote. ...

"While I remain fiercely proud of parts of our organization, on the issue of addressing harmful sexual behaviour, we have lost all credibility." ...

In her letter, Taylor suggested the military drop the name "Operation Honour" from its campaign to stamp out sexual misconduct in the ranks. The effort should continue, she said, but the name has lost all meaning.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/eleanor-taylor-canadian-forces-sexual-m...

 

 

jerrym

Both the Liberals and Conservatives have been all too willing to let questions of sexual misconduct slide by without any serious investigation as Harper's former chief of staff, Ray Novak, admitted in testimony to the House of Commons defence committee on Monday, further demonstrating how deep the systemic discrimination against women, especially but certainly not exclusively, in the military was and is.

One of the top staffers in the previous Conservative government suggested on Monday that Gen. Jonathan Vance “was not truthful” when questioned in 2015 by the former prime minister about his conduct prior to being appointed as chief of the defence staff.

Ray Novak, former chief of staff to Stephen Harper from 2013 until the government was defeated in fall 2015, testified to the House of Commons defence committee on Monday that Harper met directly with Vance in March 2015 to ask him about an allegation of inappropriate conduct.

That meeting focused on an allegation against Vance regarding his time as deputy commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, but Novak saidHarper also asked Vance if there was anything else he should know about. ...

However, Maj. Kellie Brennan described an alleged longstanding sexual relationship with Vance in an interview with Global News last month, alleging that this began while the two were stationed at CFB Gagetown and resumed while Vance was superior to her within the chain of command in Toronto in 2006.

Vance denies any sexual relationship while Brennan was under his command.

“I watched the interview that Maj. Brennan gave some weeks ago which is obviously deeply, deeply disturbing,” Novak said. “I think it’s clear she made extremely serious allegations, and if they are true – and I have no reason to doubt her – that means the general was not truthful with the prime minister in their meeting of March of 2015.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/7710976/canadian-forces-sexual-misconduct-ray...

jerrym

Global News is now reporting that an investigation into sexual misconduct among senior members in the Canadian navy was shut down before all witnesses and complainants were talked to, revealing the hear no evil, see no evil approach taken by  the military and the government. When the recommendation is that subordinate female officers should confront their superiors directly, you know what the chances of anything being done about the issue are.

An internal probe into sexual misconduct allegations against senior naval officers has been closed before all witnesses or complainants were spoken to, Global News has learned, with investigators concluding no wrongdoing occurred.

Yet the investigation into alleged inappropriate comments — where the senior officers allegedly joked that a female member wanted to show off her “red room” while on a Zoom call — did not look into the alleged comments that followed, which sources say involved BDSM and “kinky sex.”

Internal emails obtained by Global News show at least one woman naval officer took issue with the limited nature of the Unit Disciplinary Investigation, saying its conclusion “only serves to reduce faith in the system even further, and at a time when faith is already at an all-time low.”

“I think this is an issue that’s counteracting our ability to maintain cohesion in our forces,” the officer wrote. ...

The investigation also didn’t address whether senior officers on the call should have intervened. Instead, it concluded with military leadership suggesting subordinate women officers should confront their superiors directly over such issues, according to the emails.

That suggestion is not sitting well among women in the military, according to a military source. The source, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue, also told Global News they were “outraged” that the investigator did not contact or interview everyone involved. ...

The complaint involved senior naval officers who allegedly said during a Zoom meeting in January that a female member in attendance, whose background had a wall with red paint, wanted to show off her “red room.”  “Red room” is the reference given by a character in the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey to the red room where he engages in BDSM sexual activities with partners. The comment is alleged to have quickly led other senior naval officers on the call to make comments about BDSM and sexual activities.

Yet an email sent Tuesday to naval members by Capt. Chris Peschke, the chief of staff to the Commander of the West Coast Navy, announcing the closing of the investigation made no mention of those alleged further comments. Instead, it says the investigation focused entirely on the initial alleged “red room” comment and whether it alone could be considered sexual or inappropriate. It also suggests the term “red room” itself has multiple meanings, including murder or “simply … the colour of a room.” ...

“As a result, this investigation did not reveal that a service offence was committed based on the evidence obtained by the investigator and is now closed,” the email reads. ...

In a reply to that email obtained by Global News, a woman naval officer says the conclusion of the investigation “minimizes the issue at hand” by focusing entirely on the phrase “red room,” and not acknowledging what allegedly followed. The officer also says the explanation provided in the initial email reinforces a feeling that troops must follow the rules established by Operation Honour — the military-wide initiative meant to combat sexual misconduct — while senior officers are not held to the same standard. “What I get from the below explanation is that it’s okay for the older cadre to make inappropriate comments because they don’t know any better,” the response reads. ...

Military members have also voiced frustration with the process complainants have to go through to bring allegations forward, which they described as “running in circles” to find the proper investigative office. ...

A top officer who quit the military in protest over the growing crisis, Lt.-Col. Eleanor Taylor, told Global News that the tight-knit team environment of the military makes it difficult for individuals to come forward with experiences of sexual misconduct because they risk being alienated. “I’ve told my story many times, but I have never shared the fact that I too have struggled with this behaviour,” she said. “Because in so doing, I feel that I risk the reputation of the team and risk alienating myself from the team.” ...

Anger over the crisis has also been directed at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who have both been accused of not acting immediately when first learning of allegations against Vance in 2018. The pair have defended their actions and insisted that they followed the processes in place for forwarding allegations to the proper authorities. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/7715206/military-misconduct-red-room-probe/

jerrym

Once again, only after the media releases more evidence of sexual misconduct and its coverup, as revealed by Global News (see last two posts), among senior Navy officers, Sajjan expresses 'concern' over the shutting down of an investigation into sexual misconduct before all complainants and witnesses had spoken without Sajjan doing anything about it. 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he is concerned after the navy shut down an internal probe into alleged sexual misconduct by senior officers, with investigators concluding no wrongdoing occurred.

As Global News reported on Tuesday night, the internal probe was closed before all witnesses or complainants were spoken to, according to sources.

The investigation into alleged inappropriate comments — where the senior officers allegedly joked that a female member wanted to show off her “red room” (Red room” is the reference given by a character in the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey to the red room where he engages in BDSM sexual activities with partners. ) while on a Zoom call also did not look into the alleged comments that followed, which sources say involved BDSM and “kinky sex.” ...

[A]cting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre said he issued direction on how that review should unfold shortly before attending the press conference, but would not provide specifics about how that will take place. He said out of 132 people who were on the Zoom video call where the alleged misconduct occurred, only 52 responded when contacted by investigators. ...

Sajjan faces criticism and continued questions over his refusal to hear an allegation against former chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance in 2018, which he said would have amounted to “political interference” in an investigation.

No formal investigation had been opened at that time. Sajjan was asked several times by journalists to explain why he felt he could order a review into this matter but has argued he could have no involvement in hearing or following up on the Vance allegation. He did not give a clear answer. 

Internal emails obtained by Global News show at least one woman naval officer took issue with the limited nature of the Unit Disciplinary Investigation, saying its conclusion “only serves to reduce faith in the system even further, and at a time when faith is already at an all-time low.” “I think this is an issue that’s counteracting our ability to maintain cohesion in our forces,” the officer wrote. ...

The investigation also didn’t address whether senior officers on the call should have intervened. Instead, it concluded with military leadership suggesting subordinate women officers should confront their superiors directly over such issues, according to the emails. That suggestion is not sitting well among women in the military, according to a military source. The source, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue, also told Global News they were “outraged” that the investigator did not contact or interview everyone involved.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7716185/military-misconduct-red-room-review/

jerrym

Another of Canada's senior military officers has stepped aside because of a sex scandal, Vice Admiral Haydn Edmundson, who a female sailor said raped her, according to CBC's Power and Politics. This further demonstrates the systemic nature of sexual misconduct in the senior military. Furthermore, Edmundson was in charge of military personnel, giving him the power to discipline anyone who brought a sexual complaint forward.

Although the woman wants an independent police investigation because she doesn't trust military investigations, there will be a military investigation despite the failure of the military to deal with other major sex scandals in 1998 and 2014. Edmundson, himself, had already been investigated over allegations of sexual misconduct with female sailors in the late 1990s without facing any discipline.

Liberal Defence Minister Sajjan has not shown any willingness to deal with the situation effectively. 

Another top Canadian military officer is under police investigation after a former member of the navy alleged she was sexually assaulted on board a supply ship. Vice Admiral Haydn Edmundson has temporarily left his job as commander of Military Personnel Command in Ottawa. He is under investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the Department of National Defence confirmed Wednesday.

The CFNIS began the investigation into Edmundson after CBC News notified the DND that it was about to release a story featuring on-the-record remarks by the woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by Edmunston onboard HMCS Provider in November 1991. At the time the woman was a 19-year-old member of the Canadian navy. She told CBC she didn’t originally report the assault because she was afraid to speak up against the third-highest ranking officer on the ship. She described to the CBC a pervasive culture of silence surrounding sexual misconduct, a lack of support from the military’s chain of command and fear of career reprisals. ...

Edmundson has denied the allegations. ...

Over the last several months, the Canadian Forces has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct by its top leaders. Chief of the Defence Staff Adm. Art McDonald voluntary stepped down Feb. 24 from that job after being put under military police investigation. The admiral had only been in the job since Jan. 14. McDonald has declined to comment. Former Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance is also under military police investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct. He has said he did nothing wrong.

Two House of Commons committees are looking into the issue of sexual misconduct in the military, and the Liberal government have promised changes.

The Canadian Forces has faced previous sex scandals in 1998 and 2014, but its leadership successfully fought against attempts to impose independent oversight on the military justice and police system, which critics say punishes the victims and protects sexual predators.

Military police, and not a civilian police force, will investigate the alleged sexual assault involving Edmundson. “As the allegations are reported to have taken place onboard a Royal Canadian Navy ship outside of Canada, the Acting Chief of the Defence Staff Wayne Eyre has referred the matter to the CFNIS,” the Canadian Forces statement noted. ...

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service looks into serious allegations involving military personnel, but there has been criticism of its past performance and concerns that it is not independent. The CFNIS ultimately reports to the chief of the defence staff. ...

Some military members have been reluctant to report sexual misconduct and assaults to the CFNIS because of the perception it is not independent of senior leadership.

The alleged victim has told CBC she wants an independent investigation because she doesn’t trust the military to properly investigate and prosecute her case.

The CBC reported on March 9 that Edmundson was investigated over allegations of inappropriate behaviour with female subordinates in the late 1990s. The claims against him dated back to when he was a lieutenant-commander overseeing training at the naval officer training centre in Esquimalt, B.C.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/another-top-milita...

 

jerrym

The Liberals have decided to deal with the military sex scandal and their involvement in covering it up the same way they have dealt with the SNC Lavelin and We scandals and the Aga Khan scandal, where Trudeau was found "guilty of violating sections 5,11,12, and 21[1] of the Federal Conflict of Interest Act by accepting private-island vacations, gifts, and flights from the Aga Khan" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aga_Khan_affair): shut down the committees investigating the scandal and pretend their is no connection to the actions of the minister of the area involved in the scandal, the Prime Minister's Office or Prime Minister Trudeau. 

A House of Commons investigation into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces is being cut short before it can get to the bottom of serious allegations against top military officers. The move to wrap up the defence committee probe by Friday shuts down efforts to hear from top Liberal staffers on what they might have told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about sexual misconduct allegations against Gen. Jon Vance, the former chief of the defence staff. The motion, put forward by a Liberal MP on Monday, passed with support from Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois on the committee. ...

The NDP and Conservatives voted against the motion, warning that many questions are still unresolved.

NDP defence critic Randall Garrison said no one has taken responsibility for the situation that saw Vance continue to serve despite allegations of sexual misconduct. “Until we get to the bottom of who knew what when, we have not concluded this study,” he said. “The testimony is quite crucial to finding out what the prime minister was told,” he added of the need to hear from Liberal staffers.

The committee started looking into sexual misconduct after serious allegations were made against top military leaders. Chief of the Defence Staff Adm. Art McDonald voluntary stepped aside Feb. 24 from that job after being put under military police investigation. The admiral had only been in the job since Jan. 14. McDonald has declined to comment.

Former defence chief Vance is also under military police investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct. He has said he did nothing wrong.

The committee heard that in March 2018, Canadian Forces Ombudsman Gary Walbourne had brought Liberal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan details about allegations of sexual misconduct involving Vance. Sajjan declined to accept the evidence. The Prime Minister’s Office and Privy Council Office were also informed there were allegations.

In addition, the committee heard testimony that the previous government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper also examined allegations against Vance. Harper meet personally with the general in 2015 and received assurances from senior defence officials and bureaucrats that the allegations were unfounded. Vance is now under investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the same police organization that had cleared the general in 2015. ...

Critics have pointed out that the testimony emerging from the committee is undercutting Trudeau’s claims that he heads a “feminist” government. Though they were privately aware of the sexual misconduct allegations, both Trudeau and Sajjan continued to publicly commend Vance.

Trudeau had praised Vance for his military service, pointing out the general served with distinction as the longest-serving chief of the defence staff. In December 2019, Sajjan said that “Canada has been very fortunate to have somebody like Gen. Vance in this role at a very important time.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/committee-hearings...

jerrym

The allegations about former defence chief General General Vance and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan became even more serious with the testimony of Maj. Kellie Brennan, an army staff officer a woman at the centre of the sexual misconduct scandal. Vance fathered two children by Brennan although he has not supported them. Brennan said that Vance told her "Vance often told her that he had Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan under his control." Brennan also says she served with Vance and Sajjan in Toronto, while Sajjan claims he never served in Toronto. She claims Vance tried to intimidate into silence. Brennan also pointed out that the military has all the recordings of Vance telling her to lie about their past, but has done nothing about it. The acting head of military personnel, Maj-Gen. Steve Whalen, said the lack of trust in the leadership of the military has been devastating for morale. 

Why is Sajjan still Defence Minister?

Maj. Kellie Brennan, an army staff officer, told the status of women committee the former chief of the defence staff considered himself "untouchable" and that he fathered but does not support two of her children.  ...

The former defence chief is facing separate allegations of misconduct involving Brennan and another unidentified woman. Military police are looking into whether his relationship with Brennan, a former subordinate, was inappropriate and contravened military regulation.  He is also being investigated for apparently sending a racy email almost nine years ago to another woman, who was a junior non-commissioned officer at the time.

Brennan painted a portrait of Vance as a senior leader who acted with impunity, professionally and personally.  She claimed Vance often told her that he had Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan under his control. "Those were comments to me personally," she said. "I can't discuss their working relationship. I was not privy to that."

Although, there was some confusion over that portion of her testimony. Brennan said she, Vance and Sajjan all served together in Downsview, a neighbourhood in north Toronto. Sajjan, a former lieutenant-colonel in the reserves based in Vancouver, told the Commons defence committee a few weeks ago that he had never served in any capacity in Toronto.

By far, the most devastating new allegation involved her claim that Vance was the father of two of her eight children, but refused accountability for them.

"In my experience, in many different areas, the law does not apply to him," Brennan said of the recently retired general. "On a personal note, he fathered two children with me. He's not responsible to pay or to have those children under his responsibility." ...

When the first story broke with allegations of misconduct, Brennan claimed Vance tried to intimidate her into silence and told her to lie to investigators. ...

"It's recorded and the [Canadian Forces National Investigation Service] has all of the recordings of him directing me what to say, what not to say, how to say it, what not to say, what to exclude, how to perjure myself and to lie," she said, adding that, while there was no threat of bodily harm, the impression was left that there "were consequences for not following his orders." ...

In earlier testimony Thursday night before the status of women committee, the acting head of military personnel, Maj-Gen. Steve Whalen spoke about how the loss of trust in leadership has been devastating for the military. "That was reinforced to me when I listened to the testimony on Tuesday," said Whalen, referring to the appearance of four survivors of sexual assault before the committee.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/defence-committee-military-misconduct-1...

jerrym

In testimony today it has just come out that Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford, knew about the allegations of sexual misconduct by the military's top general, Jonathan Vance. In other words, it wasn't just that someone in the Prime Minister's Office was notified of the problem, it was deemed important enough to be reported to Trudeau's chief of staff. It's hard to believe Trudeau didn't know about this since it had climbed to the top of the politicial ladder.

And if there is nothing to hide, why not admit to everything that has been discovered at the start, instead of because of testimony before a parliamentary committee, which just yesterday heard testimony that General Vance had impunity from everything because he had Sajjan under his control (see previous post for details of this)?

The prime minister's chief adviser was aware of an allegation of "personal misconduct" involving the country's former top military commander, a House of Commons committee heard today.

The Commons defence committee is looking into who in the Liberal government knew about a claim of sexual misconduct involving retired general Jonathan Vance when it was first raised three years ago by Canada's former military ombudsman.

Elder Marques, a former senior adviser in the Prime Minister's Office, testified before committee today that he was first made aware of the allegation through Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, or perhaps through one of her assistants. 

Marques said that, after being made aware of the allegation, he spoke with the now-former chief of staff to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. His testimony is significant because widens the circle of people in Trudeau's office who knew about the claim against Vance.

The question of when and how the prime minister became aware of the concerns surrounding Vance's personal life has been raised repeatedly since the sexual misconduct crisis began anew in early February with the publication of allegations against Vance. Trudeau has said he was aware his staff had concerns but was not aware of specific allegations until they were made public in the media. ...

 

"Once I informed the PCO of an allegation, and I received their confirmation that they would be taking further steps, I had no further involvement in this matter," Marques told MPs today. "In my view, the proper entities were managing the issue and would follow appropriate procedures. ...

Conservative MP were not buying Marques claim, however, and issued a statement before today's committee hearing ended suggesting Marques was trying to cover for the prime minister. "It is outrageous to believe that everyone around Justin Trudeau was aware of these allegations but the prime minister didn't know," said Conservative defence critic James Bezan. "It's clear that the Trudeau Liberals have been engaging in a coverup and have been misleading Canadians."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/telford-vance-elder-marques-sexual-misc...

NDPP

 What? People in high places committing wrong-doing and coverups with impunity? Of course they should resign. But they won't. Because in Canada that's how the power-relations flow. The Afghan 'counter-insurgency' warcriminal Sajjan should never have been tolerated as Minister of Defence as his subservience to militarists like Vance, and especially American militarists was always obvious. As is Canada's continuing status-quo under Trudeau as a US satrapy, with no indication any other parliamentary party in power would be any different, no matter how hard liberal progressives pretend otherwise.

jerrym

The Liberals have appointed former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour to " examine sexual harassment and misconduct in the military, charting a path for how the military could set up an independent reporting system" in an attempt to punt this issue of another Liberal scandal beyond the election they so dearly want to call. 

Their failure to deal with the sexual misconduct of its military chiefs of staff, namely Vance and McDonald, and its military head of personnel, Vice Admiral Edmundson, and the widespread sexual misconduct and abuse in the military during the six years that they have in power is a scandal in itself. Despite having a report by another former Supreme Court judge the day they arrived in office recommending an independent reportings system for sexual misconduct in the military, the Liberals not only did nothing to implement reform in this area, they promoted those engaged in sexual misconduct into the highest positions. During these six years, 700 military personnel have reported sexual misconduct despite the threat of reprisal that has kept many more silent, but the Liberals not only did nothing about these cases, they appointed those in sexual misconduct to the top of the military. 

Sajjan even lied about reporting the military ombudsman report of a sexual abuse case to the Privy Council. He reported it the Prime Minister's Office because the Liberals saw this as a political issue not a sexual scandal to be dealt with. Dealing with the problem might have also raised questions about Trudeau's only sexual misconduct in the case of a former newspaper reporters sexual allegations against him (https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/06/americas/justin-trudeau-groping-allegations), as well as the  SNC Lavelin scandal, the We scandal, and the Aga Khan scandal, they seemed to be characteristic behaviour for this government. 

Ottawa has appointed former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour to examine sexual harassment and misconduct in the military, charting a path for how the Canadian Armed Forces could set up an independent reporting system.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said on Thursday that Ms. Arbour will conduct an independent review, providing recommendations on how the military and the Department of National Defence can create such a system for those affected by sexual misconduct.

The Liberal government has faced months of pressure over who knew what and when about a three-year-old allegation of sexual misconduct against former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance.

The latest review will follow one from six years ago, when another former Supreme Court justice, Marie Deschamps, recommended an independent centre of accountability for sexual assault and harassment outside the Forces.

Ms. Arbour said in an interview that at first she asked herself why Canada needed another report on the subject after the one from Ms. Deschamps. She said she thought, " ‘Seriously, do we need to go back there six years later?’ " ...

Ms. Arbour said the Deschamps report was “more than an eye-opener, it was a shell-shock,” and that now, “a large part of the diagnosis is there, the sexualized culture and so on. Now, we may need to get into the nitty gritty of what exactly do we mean by external oversight and external control of this.” ...

Mr. Sajjan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his chief of staff, Katie Telford, among other officials, have been criticized by opposition parties for the handling of the 2018 allegation. Two parliamentary committees have been studying the issue of sexual trauma in the military in the past number of weeks, including the defence committee, which has focused on Mr. Vance. ...

Vance is the subject of an investigation by military police, as are Admiral Art McDonald and Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson. Adm. McDonald, who initially replaced the former defence chief, stepped aside in February because of an allegation of misconduct. Vice-Adm. Edmundson is on leave from his role as head of military personnel.

The review led by Ms. Arbour will examine policies, procedures, programs, practices and culture within National Defence, and she will make recommendations on addressing systemic issues and culture change within the organization. Ms. Arbour will also examine the Forces’ military-justice system to ensure it is more responsive to the needs of those affected while holding perpetrators to account. ...

During recent testimony before the House of Commons defence committee, Ms. Deschamps said she was left with the impression that little has changed since her findings were released. ...

Leah West, an assistant professor of International Affairs at Carleton University, said in an interview that steps should have been taken to determine how to set up an independent body when it was first recommended by Ms. Deschamps in 2015. “When you have a recommendation and nothing is done with it, that is the signal to everyone in the organization that the organization doesn’t believe it’s necessary,” she said. ...

Prof. West, who retired as a captain from the Canadian Armoured Corps in 2012, said she felt like her own personal story with sexual misconduct in the military was not heard. Prof. West told The New York Times in March that she was sexually assaulted by a senior ranking officer at a party in 2008, found unconscious the next day, and the military police were called. ...

Conservative defence critic James Bezan said Thursday that the Liberal government is choosing to protect Ms. Telford rather than women in the Forces. “The Liberals have been misleading Canadians on their cover-up of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces,” he said.

NDP defence critic Randall Garrison said that while he has “utmost respect for Justice Arbour, another review that will take months is a distraction. Minister Sajjan has been in his role since 2014,” Mr. Garrison said. “He has had plenty of time to take meaningful action on sexual misconduct in the forces. Instead, he’s protected General Vance when he knew there were serious allegations against him.”

Three years ago, Mr. Sajjan was alerted to an allegation raised directly with then-military ombudsman Gary Walbourne. Mr. Sajjan declined to see the evidence and alerted his former chief of staff, Zita Astravas, who made the Prime Minister’s Office aware. The PMO then referred the matter to the Privy Council Office, the department that supports the Prime Minister and the cabinet, but it could not obtain further information, Mr. Trudeau said.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-former-supreme-court-ju...

jerrym

The best response to the Trudeau government's appointing of former Supreme Court judge Louise Arbour to examine sexual harassment and misconduct in the military was made by  Charlotte Duval-Lantoine, fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, who studies gender integration and leadership in the Canadian armed forces during the 1990s, who said ‘Are we in 2015 again?', referring to the previous report by a Supreme Court judge that identified extensive sexaul misconduct and make many recommendations for improvement, but gathered dust on the shelves while nothing was done to implement change with regard to this issue. 

Megan MacKenzie, Simons chair in international law and human security at Simon Fraser University  said there have been two consistent messages for years from military survivors and advocates: that there must be an independent system to report allegations, and that this is a “systemic problem.” ...

“Today’s announcement by Minister Sajjan is not action, but another review to take pressure off the Liberal coverup of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Conservative defence critic James Bezan in a statement. 

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2021/04/29/ottawa-announces-ind...

jerrym

How deeply systemic is the problem of the commanding generals and politicians with regard to sexual misconduct in the military?  Acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, is acting chief because chief of defence staff  Jonathan Vance had to resign in January to be replaced by acting chief of staff Art McDonald, who had to resign less than a month later over his own sexual misconduct. Now his replacement, acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre is in trouble over failing to see nothing wrong with another general, Peter Dawe, giving a letter of recommendation to an officer already convicted of sexual assault on another officer. Only when the heat from rank and file members in the military over the failure to once again deal with sexual misconduct hit the boiling point, did Sajjan push Eyre to turn over his command of Special Forces and go on leave. Eyre said he had confidence in Dawe as a general, "but the needs of the institution come first" (that is, I disagree, however I am facing a backlash in the ranks). But the rank and file is still upset, wanting resignations instead.

In addition, military head of personnel, Vice Admiral Edmundson, whose position gave him control of promotions and therefore of possible retribution against any who spoke out on the issue, has also had to resign over sexual misconduct. 

Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan lied when he said he about reporting the military ombudsman report of a sexual abuse case to the Privy Council when he reported it to the Prime Minister's Office. Furthermore, one PMO staffer, under oath at a committee hearing, said it was reported up to Katie Telford, Trudeau's chief of staff in the PMO. Meanwhile Trudeau says he never knew about the details of the accusations against Vance. Sounds like nobody in the military command structure or Trudeau government was interested in dealing with it any way.  The Conservatives are demanding Telford's resignation over this. 

The country's top soldier has placed the commander of Canada's Special Forces on leave indefinitely with pay following revelations that he wrote a letter in support of a soldier found guilty of sexual assault.

Amid mounting anger, Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, acting chief of the defence staff, apologized for his handling of the situation and said Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe will immediately turn his command over to the Special Forces unit's deputy commander and proceed on leave, according to a statement released Sunday.

Eyre said a "sense of betrayal" was intensifying the suffering of many in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). "It has become increasingly clear to me that MGen Peter Dawe's actions four years ago around sending a character reference are causing division and anger within the CAF," Eyre said. "I apologize for increasing this pain."

The move comes just days after Eyre announced Dawe would be rotated out of his role leading the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) next week, in advance of his original departure date this summer. ...

But there has been outrage from within the ranks of the Armed Forces and on social media that Eyre didn't go far enough by allowing Dawe to move on to his new position early as director general of international security policy.  ...

Scrutiny of Dawe's leadership was sparked by revelations in a CBC News story that he had written a letter in support of a soldier who had been convicted of sexual assault, while offering no support to the victims themselves. Retired major Kevin Schamuhn and his wife, retired captain Annalise Schamuhn, spoke out publicly for the first time this week to express their lack of confidence in Dawe's continuing leadership.

Kevin Schamuhn said he was shocked to hear that Dawe, who at the time was his superior in the Special Forces, had written the character reference letter for Maj. Jonathan Hamilton, a soldier found guilty of sexually assaulting Annalise Schamuhn on two separate occasions. Hamilton was also found guilty of physically assaulting Kevin Schamuhn twice.

During the sentencing hearing, the judge noted that letters from high-level military personnel described a man of great character before being engulfed in post-traumatic stress disorder from multiple deployments to Afghanistan. Hamilton was sentenced to probation rather than jail time. But the next year, he was sentenced to three years in prison after a second, unrelated, sexual assault trial.

"I believe that through this experience, Gen. Dawe lost his moral authority to lead the Special Forces," Kevin Schamuhn said in the original interview with CBC News.

Eyre's statement said Dawe's "return and future employment will be determined and communicated in due course. "I have confidence in MGen Dawe as an officer who has accepted full responsibility and has learned from this tragic case. However, the needs of the institution must take priority." ...

Kevin Schamuhn complained about the handling of his case in 2017 to the chief of the defence staff at the time, Gen. Jonathan Vance. In a letter viewed by CBC News, Vance wrote that he had looked into the matter and found Schamuhn's objection "has merit" and was "inconsistent" with his efforts to stamp out sexual misconduct in the military.

Vance wrote that action would be taken so that "incidents of this nature will not be repeated without severe repercussions." He promised to include direction and training materials explaining how support should be provided to military members awaiting trial and sentencing for sexual misconduct. 

However, when CBC News asked for a copy of that directive, the Department of National Defence said it does not "have a copy of a directive or any other information to provide at this time," suggesting Vance didn't follow through with the promise.

A Canadian Forces Reddit page garnered more than 230 comments on Saturday in response to a CBC story about Eyre allowing Dawe to move to his new job early. Some expressed outrage and disappointment that Eyre wasn't taking a stronger stance. Others wrote that being rotated out of a command post was a serious enough penalty.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/special-forces-commander-on-leave-1.601...

jerrym

I am changing the title of this thread to reflect the systemic failure of our military and the Liberal government to deal with the ever broadening epidemic of sexual misconduct in the Canadian military. Six years into the Canadian military's formal crackdown on sexual misconduct under the Trudeau Liberals "some victims still report being bullied, harassed and singled out by superior officers" according to a late 2020 Defence Department report. It noted that "while  victims experienced some moments of humanity and compassion when reporting incidents to their superiors, an atmosphere of disdain persists." (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sexual-abuse-harassment-canadian-armed-...)

Its Just 700, the name of the support group formed by victims of military sexual assault, reflects the attitude they encounter when dealing with superior officers right up and including the top generals and the Liberal government. Marie-Claude Gagnon, a member of It's Just 700, had to do a Google search and request the report by name to get a copy of the report despite assurances that she and others who participated would get copies and that it would be released publicly. The Trudeau Liberals and top military command have been not only hiding their failure to do anything meaningful about sexual misduct, the command structure has shown disdain and engaged in retribution for those who have reported sexual abuse incidents, meaning that many more than the reported 700 sexual abuse cases have actually occurred, but not been reported out of fear of reprisals. 

All of this has resulted in a morale crisis within the military rank and file and "Growing anger over the actions of a general who supported a sex offender has prompted an apology from the country’s top soldier on how the situation was handled."  chief of defence staff  Jonathan Vance had to resign in January to be replaced by acting chief of staff Art McDonald, who had to resign less than a month later over his own sexual misconduct. The officer in charge of personnel, Vice Admiral Edmundson, whose position gave him control of promotions and therefore of possible retribution against any who spoke out on the issue, has also had to resign over sexual misconduct. 

Now his replacement, acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre is in trouble over failing to see nothing wrong with another general, Peter Dawe, giving a letter of recommendation to an officer already convicted of sexual assault on another officer. Dawe is not just any general: he is" seen as a potential candidate in the future to become chief of the defence staff." (https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/top-soldier-apolog...)  I am sure he would have fit right in with the last three chiefs of staff in the military.

The Trudeau Liberal program to address military sexual misconduct, Operation Honour, is in disgrace, betrayed not only by the top generals but the Liberal government, that once again created something with a great PR name that had no substance. The Liberals have attempted to hide the report discussed above that described the epidemic of sexual abuse in the military, and the top generals disregard, and even disdain, for those who reported sexual misconduct cases, some of which they were engaged in. Defence Minister Sajjan waved off with a hand gesture the military ombudsman report of a sexual abuse case, then lied about taking it to the Privy Council, when he took it to the Prime Minister's Office to be handled as a politial issue by Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford. "Elder Marques, a former senior adviser in the Prime Minister's Office, testified to a [parliamentary]committee that he was first made aware of the allegation through Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau". (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/telford-vance-elder-marques-sexual-misc...)

Trudeau's reaction to all this damning evidence? He claims that he only vaguely knew about allegations of sexual misconduct in the military. If he cared a whit about this, he would have demanded investigation of the problem and actions to deal with it. None of this has happened except the PR campaign called Operation Honour run by three succeeding top generals and a general in charge of personnel matters, three of whom have engaged in sexual misconduct and the last of whom, General Eyre, saw nothing wrong with another general writing a leter of recommendation for an officer who had been just been convicted of sexual assault against a female officer. Only under immense pressure from the ranks about the many failures to deal with sexual misconduct and abuse, did he relent by removing the letter-writing general from command and putting him on leave. Eyre was then surprised to see the rank and file still angry and demanding the general's removal, saying instead that the letter writing general was a "good general".

And the Liberal government stays in reaction mode, only responding when the news becomes public and could damage their image and voting intentions. With morale so low, and no evidence of nothing changing, I fully expect that many of the military rank and file will not be signing up for another term of service, because they see nothing changing. 

Defence Minister Sajjan's comment on General Dawe writing a letter of recommendation for a officer convicted of sexually assaulting an officer directly under Dawe's command summarizes the failure of the Liberal government to engage in nothing but PR on the issue: "Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said he had serious concerns about Dawe’s judgement but the minister did not take further action." (https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/top-soldier-apolog...)

jerrym

Here's more on the anger within the military rank and file about the failure of its top generals and the Liberal government to deal with sexual abuse. It is only thanks to reporters actions that we have any knowledge of any of this as the senior military officers and the Liberals have done nothing to even report what the problem is, let alone deal with it.

As both chief of staff General Eyre and deputy Defence Minister Jody Thomas both supported General Dawe despite General Dawe writing a letter of commendation for a soldier convicted of sexual abuse, showing how the attitudes that condone to the top of the defence ministry. It's the same attitude that Defence Minister Sajjan displayed when he threw his hands and refused to listen to the case in the air when the military ombudsman brought a case of sexual abuse to him. 

Growing anger over the actions of a general who supported a sex offender has prompted an apology from the country’s top soldier on how the situation was handled.

Acting Chief of the Defence Staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre issued a statement Sunday that he realizes that military personnel feel betrayed by the actions of Maj. Gen. Peter Dawe and the response from senior leadership on that issue....

Over the last several days Eyre has faced a growing backlash from military personnel for his decision to not only fully back Dawe but to praise the officer. Military insiders say Eyre’s decision to not hold Dawe accountable is creating significant anger in the ranks and is being used as yet another example of how senior officers accused of wrongdoing are being shielded by military leadership.

The details about what Dawe had done only emerged publicly after the CBC aired a report on Thursday. Kevin Schamuhn, a retired major with Canada’s special forces, told the news organization that he felt betrayed after senior military leaders including Dawe gave positive character references to a soldier found guilty of sexually assaulting his wife while offering no support to his family.

The CBC report noted that on May 2, 2017, a judge found the soldier guilty on six criminal counts, including unlawfully entering the Schamuhns’ home and sexually assaulting Schamuhn’s wife, Annalise, a retired logistics officer, on two occasions. The soldier was also found guilty of physically assaulting Schamuhn twice.

Dawe acknowledged to Schamuhn that he wanted to influence the sentence the soldier would receive and that he felt the sex offender was a “good guy” who deserved a break, the CBC reported. A judge cited the supportive letters from Dawe and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry regiment in his sentencing decision. The soldier was sentenced to three years of probation, instead of jail time. ...

But the soldier that Dawe and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry regiment vouched for was later convicted in connection with another unrelated sexual assault and sentenced to three years in jail.

Eyre’s initial reaction was to issue a statement of strong support for Dawe, noting that he had full confidence in the special forces general. Eyre pointed out that Dawe had accepted responsibility for his actions and had learned from his mistake.

When that didn’t quell the growing anger about Dawe’s actions, Eyre released another statement, again supporting the general, but also noting that Dawe would go to his new job sooner than scheduled. ...

Deputy Minister Jody Thomas also noted her support for Dawe in the same statement.

But on Sunday, as anger continued to build, Eyre reversed his position, somewhat. “It has become increasingly clear to me that MGen Peter Dawe’s actions four years ago around sending a character reference are causing division and anger within the CAF,” Eyre wrote. “I apologize for increasing this pain.”

Neither Eyre nor Thomas have ever publicly condemned Dawe’s actions. It is unclear why Thomas felt she had to release a statement of support for Dawe as she does not command military officers.

In addition, Eyre’s statement on Sunday once again included support for Dawe. “I have confidence in MGen Dawe as an officer who has accepted full responsibility and has learned from this tragic case,” Eyre added.

Eyre announced Sunday that Dawe will go on paid vacation until his future can be determined. ...

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said he had serious concerns about Dawe’s judgement but the minister did not take further action. Sajjan is in the midst of his own controversy about how he has handled allegations of sexual misconduct in 2018 against then chief of the defence staff Gen. Jon Vance....

Schamuhn and his wife, Annalise, told CBC that Dawe and other senior officers did not consult with them before writing the letters for the soldier they believed was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues. “I believe that, through this experience, Gen. Dawe lost his moral authority to lead the special forces,” Schamuhn said.

The level of betrayal by the senior leadership was extreme, he added.

“Gen. Dawe was in my chain of command,” Schamuhn told CBC. “For him to support a violent criminal who had violated my wife, I didn’t know what to do. I was shocked.”

Dawe had been seen as a potential candidate in the future to become chief of the defence staff.

Over the last several months the Canadian Forces leadership has faced serious allegations of sexual misconduct. Chief of the Defence Staff Adm. Art McDonald stepped aside Feb. 24 from that job after being put under military police investigation. He has been replaced by Eyre on a temporary basis. Another police investigation has been launched into the alleged actions of McDonald’s predecessor, Gen. Vance. Police are also looking into allegations of sexual assault made against Vice Adm. Haydn Edmundson. Edmundson and Vance have denied any wrongdoing. McDonald has not commented.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/top-soldier-apolog...

jerrym

ETA: CBC's the Current had an excellent interview with Leah West, who served in the military for ten years, during which she was sexually assaulted in a military culture that allows and even facilitates sexual misconduct and abuse. West got no help following the sexual  assault from a military that also devalues the role of women in the military. 

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-63-the-current/clip/15841514-leah...

 

 

NDPP

I'n wondering if the culture of a disfunctional, hierarchical institution charged with assembling and training a group of mostly men for hyper-aggressive, systematic violence, including 'defence' aka mass murder on command, might possibly be found to somehow influence or induce such malign, abusive behaviour towards the women in such institutions, not to mention the subsequent denial, evasions or coverups by higher-ups of this apparently frequent feature of our military?

jerrym

Even more evidence came out today of how widespread sexual abuse is thoughout the Canadian military. Seven Canadian Armed Forces veterans and first responders who are sexual assault survivors are" outraged to learn their peer mentor at a women's trauma retreat was himself a registered sex offender." Not only is sex offender, Jonathan Hamilton, a former major in the military, the doctor in charge of the program,  Dr. Manuela Joannou, and  retired Brig. Gen Paul Rutherford, chair of the Project Trauma Support board where this occurred, knew that Hamilton was a registered sex offender. 

So far we have seen the chief of defence staff  Jonathan Vance have to resign in January to be replaced by acting chief of staff Art McDonald, who had to resign less than a month later over his own sexual misconduct. Now his replacement, acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre is in trouble over failing to see nothing wrong with another general, Peter Dawe, giving a letter of recommendation to an officer already convicted of sexual assault on another officer. And of course we have had Defence Minister Sajjan allow this to continue throughout his six years in office, while Trudeau's Katie Telford claims she didn't know that the case brought to her involved sexual abuse despite emails that said so travelling around the government. And, of course, Trudeau didn't "the details" of any incidents. 

And now another general, Rutherford, not seeming to give a damn about how placing a registered sex offender in charge of running a program for sexually abused women. There seems to be not a ounce of concern for the sexually victimized in the entire senior military command structure. 

Some Canadian Armed Forces veterans and first responders who are sexual assault survivors said they were outraged to learn their peer mentor at a women's trauma retreat was himself a registered sex offender.

Project Trauma Support is a residential treatment program. Its medical director is Dr. Manuela Joannou, a family physician and ER doctor in Perth, Ontario. The program, which launched in 2015, works with military personnel, veterans and first responders who've experienced post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and operational stress injury through outdoor group exercises. Some participants have credited the program with saving their lives.

Seven female participants who attended one of the six-day retreats in early July 2018 said the program failed to warn them that one of their peer mentors — retired army major Jonathan Hamilton, who came home with PTSD from multiple deployments to Afghanistan — had a history of sexual assault. They said the program put Hamilton's health and safety ahead of the needs of 12 women traumatized by sexual assault.

"I drove away from the program suicidal," said retired Canadian Forces corporal Tina Sharp. "I wasn't in a good place for a very long time." ...

Multiple retreat participants contacted CBC News. Many said they only learned the full extent of Hamilton's criminal history after reading a recent CBC News story about one of his court cases. CBC News spoke to several retreat participants who wanted to share their stories because of what they believe was a violation of trust. ...

Marie-Julie Cosenzo, a Quebec paramedic with PTSD who took part in the retreat, said she had to get professional help last week because she couldn't sleep and was having nightmares about being kidnapped and assaulted.

"I am hurt that [Joannou] decided to shield us from the truth, judging that we were safe from a sex offender," said Cosenzo. "We were a group of 12 women, raw, vulnerable, battling a variety of demons …"

 Joannou and retired Brig. Gen Paul Rutherford, chair of the Project Trauma Support board, in a letter to the CBC, said that it asks program participants not to share details of the work. "The safety and well-being of our participants and alumni is our first priority," they wrote. "We maintain regular and open communication with our alumni and are available to address any alumni concerns directly at any time. ...

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) investigated a complaint about Hamilton's participation in the program. According to a 2019 CPSO report viewed by CBC News, Joannou was aware of his criminal conviction, which was under appeal at the time. ... The committee reported that Joannou did not show appropriate judgment in this case and advised her to be mindful of her hiring practices in the future. ...

In 2017, a justice found Hamilton guilty of unlawfully entering a Kingston home and sexually assaulting retired Capt. Annalise Schamuhn on two different occasions. Hamilton also was convicted of twice physically assaulting Schamuhn's husband, retired major Kevin Schamuhn.

Hamilton was sentenced to three years parole as a result, according to the attorney general's office.

In a second, unrelated case, Hamilton was sentenced to three years in custody on April 20, 2018 after a jury found him guilty of two counts of sexual assault.

Both cases were under appeal at the time of the retreat. One of Hamilton's appeals was later dismissed and the other was abandoned in 2020, according to court documents. ...

Julie Lalonde, a public educator and women rights advocate, said CPSO should have taken further action after learning about what she calls a "deplorable" case. "I've worked in this sector for almost 20 years," said Lalonde. "I don't know a single professional mental health worker who would have approved this decision, let alone endorsed it and doubled down and maintained the decision was appropriate." The CPSO said in a media statement that the safety of patients is always its primary concern. 

Lalonde is now calling for Project Trauma Support to be put on hold until the agencies funding it conduct an in-depth review.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/project-trauma-support-sex-offender-pee...

Pondering

Sickening

Badriya

And there is a sickening double standard in the Canadian military.

A former military member has called out a “double standard” in the Canadian Armed Forces when dealing with the conduct of women and men.

Leah West, now an assistant professor of international affairs at Carleton University, told the House of Commons standing committee on the status of women that she was charged, fined and repatriated while deployed in Afghanistan for having a consensual sexual relationship with a U.S. officer, which is against military rules.

“All of this I could accept. I had knowingly violated orders,” she told the committee, which is probing sexual misconduct in the military. “However, what I no longer accept was that I was also called demeaning names, told I wasn’t worthy of leading soldiers, and even threatened with violence by my commanding officer.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2021/05/11/her-sexual-misconduc...

 

Pondering

The military decided women would be allowed to serve, and we all know how women are supposed to serve.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

US cartoon but still applicable.

jerrym

Another day, another two generals forced out as the sytemic sexual misconduct and the Liberals, as well as previous governments, have condoned this exploitation of women and a few men to continue. First the military has replaced Vice-Admiral Hayden Edmundson, senior officer in charge of its personnel command because of allegations of sexual assault misconduct. I will deal with the other general, who most of you will immediately recognize in the next post and try to tie the whole stinking mess together. The assaulted woman does not want it investigated by the military police, because she doesn't trust them and wants the civilian police to do it instead. After every thing that has come out so far can anyone blame her?

In the announcement there was no mention of acting chief of the entire military,  Lt.-Gen Wayne Eyre's status, the third chief or acting chief of the military in three months. Could he be in trouble over his recommendation over failing to see anything wrong with another general, Peter Dawe, giving a letter of recommendation to an officer already convicted of sexual assault on another officer and instead saying that Dawe was "a good general." Not so incidentally General Dawe was considered a likely candidate to become chief of staff in the future. The generals, Minister Sajjan and the entire Liberal cabinet really know how to select talented generals to command the troops. However, the talents these generals have seem to be of the worst kind morally. 

The Canadian military has put another senior officer in charge of its personnel command after the former commander, Vice-Admiral Hayden Edmundson, stepped away earlier this year following allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

The announcement, made Friday by the acting chief of the defence staff, is part of a broader shakeup of the senior ranks. That shakeup was triggered in part by the ongoing sexual misconduct crisis that has tarnished the institution and left a number of major commands with "acting" commanders.

Lt.-Gen.Steve Whelan was promoted to replace Edmundson on a permanent basis as head of Military Personnel Command and chief of military personnel.

Edmundson has been on leave with pay for roughly six weeks while the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigates a claim of rape dating back to an alleged incident in 1991 aboard a Royal Canadian Navy ship.

Retired leading seamen Stéphanie Viau said Edmundson exposed himself to her on multiple occasions onboard during a navy exercise abroad. She said his behaviour escalated and he raped her while the ship was docked in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. ...

Viau said she wants her case investigated by civilian police because she can no longer trust the military police after a prior sexual assault. 

The Department of National Defence said it has been looking into other investigative options. If Viau's case is transferred to the RCMP or another police force, it would set a precedent for future sexual assault cases in the Armed Forces.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/shake-up-senior-ranks-military-sexual-m...

jerrym

The second general forced out today is one many of you will recognize, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin,  major-general leading Canada's vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), who is on TV regularly with Covid annoucements. Once again it involves "military investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation." Of course the Liberal government once again shows no transparency on this, issuing a three line statement that says little beyond that. The fact that the statement was released came out late Friday is not an accident; it is the classic way that governments deal with bad news because it tends to become old news and die on the weekend. Once again the Liberal government shows no leadership in dealing with the issue by being bold in confronting the problem publicly with bad news and addressing an issue that is causing enormous anger and low morale in the ranks. 

Here's a quick summary of what has happened so far as following the trail of fallen generals and the Liberals we just didn't know anything about this statements is hard to do when so many are involved. The chief of defence staff  Jonathan Vance, who evidence shows had been involved in known sexual misconduct cases going back to the 1990s that even involved the birth of two children of his according to the female officer mother as well as other cases as he became chief of staff and held the job for years, of  have to resign in January to be replaced by acting chief of staff Art McDonald, who had to resign less than a month later over his own sexual misconduct. Now his replacement, acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre is in trouble over failing to see nothing wrong with another general, Peter Dawe, giving a letter of recommendation to an officer already convicted of sexual assault on another officer. Dawe was so highly thought of, he was considered a likely future commander-in-chief. 

Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates,  deputy commander of NORAD, was allowed to retire after the media, not the government, found out he had an affair with a U.S. defence department civilian, which against military regulations that require soldiers not to become sexually involved with people from other militaries in case they are compromised. Lt.-Col. Raphaël Guay, is being investigated for sexual misconduct, although no details what was involved have been released. Retired General Paul Rutherford, chair of the Project Trauma Support board, knowingly hired retired Major Jonathan Hamilton, a registered sex offender convicted of three sexual assaults in two trials, to work in a program for military and first responder women, whose trauma was brought on by sexual assault, thereby giving them even more trauma when they found out who he was. Once again nothing was done about this by the Liberal government until it broke a few days ago in the news. 

The entire senior general staff and the Liberal government do not seem to give a damn about what happens to the rank and file soldiers with regard to sexual abuse and misconduct until it hits the media years later. In fact, many of the generals are the assaulters. 

Defence Minister Sajjan allowed this to continue throughout his six years in office, raising serious questions not only about him but about having a former officer as Defence Minister, while Trudeau's Katie Telford claims she didn't know that the case brought to her involved sexual abuse despite emails that said so travelling around the government. And, of course, Trudeau didn't "the details" of any incidents.

Jenni Byrne, a top advisor to former PM Harper, said if Trudeau didn't know what was going on when many in his PMO, he would be the first Prime Minister for which this would be true on such a troublesome file. It sure looks like Trudeau is using the plausable deniability alibi to coverup his involvement. 

The major-general leading Canada's vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is stepping down under the cloud of a military investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation.

The Department of National Defence issued a terse three-line statement late Friday, saying that Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin is leaving his post and his future will be decided by the acting chief of the defence staff.

Neither the military nor the department would say what kind of investigation has been launched, whether it involves military police or is some other kind of internal review.

CBC News has confirmed the investigation involves an allegation of sexual misconduct that predates 2015 and the military's now defunct campaign, Operation Honour, which was intended to stamp out inappropriate behaviour. Three separate confidential sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the file, described it as an older claim, but declined to be more specific. The Globe and Mail was the first to report the allegation against Fortin was sexual in nature.

His departure came about suddenly.

As late as Friday morning, Fortin was listed as being seconded to the public health agency in a Department of National Defence statement involving the assignments of general officers.

In an interview with CBC Radio's The Current last March, he spoke forcefully about the unfolding allegations of misconduct.

"This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable," Fortin said. 

"Members of the military, on the battlefield, should feel safe that the person next to you has your back. That's not unique to the battlefield. You should feel safe at home, as well."

It is unclear how Fortin's departure will affect the vaccine distribution campaign. 

The news is another sharp blow to the military, which is reeling under the weight of a string of high-profile sexual misconduct cases.

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour were levelled against the country's former top commander, retired general Jonathan Vance, two weeks after his retirement last winter. Weeks later, his successor, Admiral Art McDonald voluntarily stepped aside after it was revealed he was under military police investigation over an allegation of sexual misconduct. ...

The military's former head of personnel, Vice-Admiral Hayden Edmundson, was permanently replaced on Friday and is under a pending investigation after a three decade-old allegation of sexual assault was levelled against him.

The country's former military operations commander, Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates, is retiring after a published report in Postmedia revealed he had an affair with a U.S. defence department civilian while serving as deputy commander of NORAD. 

Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe, the former commander of special forces, was put on paid leave after writing a letter of support for a soldier convicted of sexual assault. Last week, Global News reported that the commander of the military's intelligence school,  Lt.-Col. Raphaël Guay, had been temporarily removed while an investigation took place. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fortin-military-investigation-removed-1...