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

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jerrym

Female RCMP officer standing outside the RCMP doctor's office. Sign on door: "The Doctor is IN - Decent. RE: More than 80 complaints have now been received against two former RCMP doctors under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct spanning decades. Jan. 31, 2018

jerrym

In a new report by former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish, he concludes that sexual misconduct in the Canadian military is so "ersistent, preoccupying and widespread" that attempts to address the problem inside the military are futile until the entire military judicial system is transformed. In the meantime sexual misconduct cases should be handled by the civilian judicial sytem according to Fish. His report is a middle path between the status quo failure and full civilian court control in the long run. 

The civilian system has serious flaws in dealing with sexual misconduct, but it at least avoids the military chain of command, which first involves reporting to your immediate superior, who may be the perpetrator or one of his favourite soldiers. 

In an interview on Power and Politics, Defence Minister Sajjan once again said the government will accept all 107 recommendations in principle but refused to give any timeline of implementation. The Liberal plan obviously is to keep receiving more reports (former Supreme Court Judge Arbour is next) until after the next election and then drop it down the memory hole. After all they have done nothing meaningful on the 2015 retired Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps report on sexual misconduct during the six years they have been in power. 

A landmark review of Canada's military justice system says the military can keep its jurisdiction over investigating and prosecuting complaints of sexual assault and misconduct within the military itself — as long as it embraces reforms first. Until it does, said former Supreme Court justice Morris Fish, the civilian criminal justice system should step in where it can to handle criminal cases in the military.

"Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) remains persistent, preoccupying and widespread – despite the CAF's repeated attempts to address the problem and to curb its prevalence," Fish wrote in his highly-anticipated report on reforming the military justice system, which was tabled in the House of Commons today. "It has had a traumatic impact on the lives and careers of victims, a corrosive effect on discipline and morale and a marked tendency to undermine public confidence in the CAF's institutional capacity to solve the problem internally." ...

At 400 pages, the report is sweeping in scope. It proposes making the military's top cop, the provost marshal, an independent appointment similar to the RCMP commissioner.

Fish also said that military judges should be civilians, not members of the Armed Forces.

His report appears to be trying to stake out a middle ground between a military that's reluctant to give up authority over its own members and critics who, throughout the misconduct crisis, have been calling for complete civilian oversight of military justice.

At a time when critics and sexual assault survivors have suggested that civilian courts are better placed to deliver justice in the military, Fish reaffirmed the need for a military justice system separate from the civilian one. ...

At 400 pages, the report is sweeping in scope. It proposes making the military's top cop, the provost marshal, an independent appointment similar to the RCMP commissioner.

Fish also said that military judges should be civilians, not members of the Armed Forces.

His report appears to be trying to stake out a middle ground between a military that's reluctant to give up authority over its own members and critics who, throughout the misconduct crisis, have been calling for complete civilian oversight of military justice.

At a time when critics and sexual assault survivors have suggested that civilian courts are better placed to deliver justice in the military, Fish reaffirmed the need for a military justice system separate from the civilian one. ...

"It would, in my view, be inappropriate for the military justice system to continue to investigate or prosecute alleged sexual assaults until it extends to all victims the protections afforded by the [Declaration of Victim's Rights]," the report said. ...

The Department of National Defence has said it is still drawing up the regulations to support Bill C-77 — two years after the legislation was passed. A senior defence official, speaking on background at a technical briefing after the report was tabled in Parliament, defended the amount of time it has taken to address such a key flaw in the military justice system. ...

The Liberal government accepts "in principle" the report's 107 recommendations. It said in a media statement that implementation will begin on 36 of Fish's recommendations in the near term. ...

Sajjan said he is committed to putting an implementation plan for the report before the House of Commons defence committee by the fall. But if recent political speculation holds true, the country could be in the middle of an an election at that time. ...

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/morris-fish-military-justice-sexual-mis...

 

jerrym

Another general, Brig.-Gen Simon Bernard, has been removed from his post, but this time for using the N----- word. If racist comments now also result in removal from a position, how many more generals will fall? As usual the military is closed-mouth about any details.

Six generals and the lieutenant-colonel in charge of the Canadian School of Military Intelligence have already lost their positions over sexual misconduct allegations. 

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.  Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates, who was  second-in-command at NORAD headquarters in Colorado, who left the military weeks after the reporting of his sexual misconduct. This reflects the passive lets-not-rock-the-boat attitude with which Liberal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Trudeau himself have dealt with the problem over six years. Trudeau himself admitted today that he knew about  Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin's case "for weeks". Fortin led Canada's vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC),  and was on TV regularly with Covid annoucements. The Liberal government's cover-it-up attitude until it is revealed by someone else is reflected in the fact the government replaced him with another general with no comment on why until the issue broke in the press. 

The only time the Liberals respond with action is when something becomes public. Sexual misconduct in the military or anywhere will never be rooted out with this approach. This further illustrates the systemic nature of sexual abuse and misconduct in the military with the senior command's ignoring or even being the perpetrators for decades while Liberal and Conservative governments looked the other way including under Trudeau during his six years in power. We are also now also seeing how systemic racism in the military, as well as the RCMP, has been ignored or even practiced by the military and RCMP leaders, and ignored by Defence Minister Sajjan and the Trudeau Liberal government for their six years in office.

A senior member of the Canadian Armed Forces was quietly removed from his role in Canada's vaccine rollout last month in response to a complaint that he had used racist language in a workplace setting, CBC News has learned.

Brig.-Gen. Simon Bernard left his role at the Public Health Agency of Canada on May 17 — just three days after Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin left his post leading Canada's vaccine logistics.

Sources tell CBC News that Bernard is accused of using the N-word in a workplace setting sometime in 2020, before his secondment to the public health agency. The complaint was made recently, while Bernard was Fortin's second-in-command in vaccine and logistics planning. Bernard was appointed to that post in November.

In a media statement, the Department of National Defence (DND) confirmed that Bernard was the subject of "a complaint regarding language" and the armed forces is "working towards determining facts and next steps."

"In order to preserve the integrity of the effort, we will not be disclosing the nature of the complaint," said Daniel Le Bouthillier, DND head of media relations.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/simon-bernard-dany-fortin-vaccine-phac-...

 

jerrym

ETA: Nothing shows the trivialization of sexual misconduct in the military and the depth of the systemic discrimination against women that pervades the entire military command structure, than the resignation of yet another general. This time, it was the second-in-command, Lt.-General Michael Rouleau, who despite being in charge of the military police that are responsible for investigating the many cases of sexual misconduct involving the military's generals, went golfing at an exclusive military golf course (why is there such a thing) with former commander-in-chief General Vance, who had to resign over well-documented allegations of sexual misconduct. Nothing shows how blind these generals are to the problem than the fact that Rouleau said Vice-Admiral C A Baines did not have to also resign, because he had invited Baines to accompany him and Vance golfing, as if that excused Baines for not using his own judgement to realize that going golfing with an allegedly sexually offending former general would be seen as another sign of the good ol' boys signaling that sexual misconduct and abuse was nothing to worry about, if you were a senior officer. After all, the only thing Rouleau and Baines were doing was engaging in “a private activity” that, in golfing with Vance, involved “reaching out to a retired member of the CAF to ensure his wellness.”

Funny, how they never reach out to the thousands of rank and file sexually abused military personnel. Funny how Trudeau, Sajjan and the rest of the Liberals never seem to get around to dealing with systemic problem of sexual abuse in the military. After six years of inaction following a report that arrived at the same time the Liberals took office,  they have become very practiced at pronouncing some fine words on the issue, but only when the media or a sexually abused person reveals what another general or admiral has done. And when it happens again and again and again, then Trudeau and Sajjan quickly speak some more fine words.  

The second-in-command of the Canadian Forces is resigning following condemnation over his decision to go golfing with Gen. Jonathan Vance while the latter remains under military police investigation.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau was set to hand over command as vice chief of the defence staff to Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen shortly, who will be replacing him and who will be the first woman to hold the role.

But over the last two days, Rouleau — who holds oversight authority over the military police — has been roundly criticized for going golfing with Vance amid the ongoing probe into allegations of inappropriate behaviour against the former chief of the defence staff, which Vance denies.

Global News and The Globe and Mail first reported on the golfing on Saturday night.

“As a result of this incident, I am stepping aside immediately as VCDS and will transition to the CAF Transition Group,” Rouleau said in a statement. ...

Vice-Adm. C.A. Baines, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, was also part of that golf outing at the Hylands golf course in east Ottawa on June 2.  Baines issued a statement on Sunday night in which he apologized but also described his actions as a “public display of support.”

Rouleau said Baines likely wouldn’t have gone if he had not done so.

“I wish to tell you that I accept fully how my decision to do so has intensified recent events and contributed to further erosion of trust. Vice-Admiral Baines’ participation was surely predicated on my attending therefore I would ask that only I be held accountable,” Rouleau said. ...

He described the golf outing as “a private activity” and that he had been “reaching out to a retired member of the CAF to ensure his wellness.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/7948266/canadian-forces-mike-rouleau-golfing-...

jerrym

In a just released report the military ombudsman has slammed the Trudeau government, Defence Minister Sajjan, and the top military officers over "interference in the work of his office" from leaders turn a blind eye to our recommendations and concerns in order to advance political interests and their own self-preservation or career advancement" while showing a "lack of action ... on allegations of high-level sexual misconduct" and "erratic behaviour". Furthermore, the defence ministry engages in “a pattern of personal and institutional reprisal” by department officials against the members of ombudsman's office for their work. This impacts "recruitment, retention ... [and] risks threatening national security." 

Trudeau's response was that he was awaiting former Supreme Court judge Louise Arbour's report, which is expected in December, safely after the next election and six years after Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps clearly outlined the problems that persist until today and less than another former Supreme Court Justice, Morris Fish (see post #53), repeated the same problems in his report.  As the ombudsman says, the country and abused personnel need action, not words. 

The Canadian Forces ombudsman released a scathing indictment on Tuesday, raising the spectre of interference in the work of his office at a time when the military is under intense public scrutiny over allegations of high-level sexual misconduct.

Gregory Lick says “vested political interests” complicate the office’s work — often just prior to elections or in times of crisis — and suggests the ombudsman’s office be removed from under the authority of the minister of national defence.

He said because his office’s existence is not enshrined in law, every ombudsman operates under the fear that their authority to probe wrongdoing and grievances could be revoked at any time, and that there have been “subtle and insidious” instances that suggest “a pattern of personal and institutional reprisal” by department officials against the members of the office for their work. ...

“When leaders turn a blind eye to our recommendations and concerns in order to advance political interests and their own self-preservation or career advancement, it is the members of the defence community that suffer the consequences,” he said on Tuesday morning.

The lack of action taken in the more than four months since Global News first reported on allegations of high-level sexual misconduct have “bitterly proved this point,” he continued. ...

“The erratic behaviour of leadership defies common sense or reason. The concept of Ministerial accountability has been absent,” Lick said in his speech, noting the failures by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan as well as senior government and military leaders to act amounts to a risk to national security. ...

“The negative impacts of this crisis on recruitment and retention and on those directly implicated in these misconduct situations within the CAF risk threatening national security. ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the paper during a press conference at Rideau Cottage on Tuesday: specifically, when he would implement the call by Lick for more independence for his office.

Trudeau didn’t give a clear answer but said both he and former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, who is leading a review into the need for independent reporting of military sexual misconduct, will consider the paper.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7968673/canadian-forces-sexual-misconduct-mil...

jerrym

Military ombudsman Gregory Lick is proposing legislation that would make the military ombudsman office completely independent of the government because of interference from the Trudeau Liberal government, Defence Minister Sajjan and the military that includes reprisal against his office for his investigations into sexual misconduct in the military. 

Canada’s military ombudsman pushed for full independence on Tuesday as he called out instances of reprisal against his office and the “erratic behaviour of leadership.” 

In a scathing public statement rebuking both the Liberal government and the military, which has been grappling with a sexual misconduct crisis, Gregory Lick said the time for more studies and recommendations on military oversight is over. He presented a position paper along with draft legislation that would give his office — which reports to the minister of defence — more teeth and allow it to escalate issues directly to Parliament.

“When leaders turn a blind eye to our recommendations and concerns in order to advance political interests and their own self-preservation or career advancement, it is the members of the defence community that suffer the consequences,” Lick told a news conference in Ottawa. “It is clear that inaction is rewarded far more than action.”

The actions of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and other senior government and military leaders this year have “bitterly proved this point,” Lick told reporters. “The erratic behaviour of leadership defies common sense or reason. The concept of ministerial accountability has been absent.”

Sajjan was censured by the House of Commons last week over his handling of the sexual misconduct file, among other issues. ...

Lick decided to present his paper to the public before discussing it with Sajjan because “reporting through the minister on various issues like this has not resulted in any positive outcomes for our constituents in the past,” he said in an interview. “I felt this was the best way to get information to the public, to MPs and ultimately the government to get action.”  The legislation Lick is proposing would also require leaders to respond to his office’s recommendations within certain timelines, he said. ...

The draft legislation has no chance of being tabled in the House of Commons any time soon, given the House rises for the summer on Wednesday and a federal election is widely expected this fall. It also doesn’t look like the government will accept it as is. ...

Lick said there has been what he described as political interference with the office, citing a lack of action taken when his predecessor tried to raise with Sajjan an allegation of misconduct against retired general Jonathan Vance when Vance was chief of the defence staff in 2018. 

“While you may not term it political interference, lack of action I would term also political interference,” Lick told reporters. Lick’s position paper claims the Department of National Defence recently “attempted to exert control” on the approval of questions as part of his office’s investigation into employment equity. 

The paper also mentions “a pattern of personal and institutional reprisal” by the department against Lick’s office. While Lick told the Star he himself has not faced reprisals, he said his predecessor, Gary Walbourne, was driven out of the department amid an internal review.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2021/06/22/military-ombudsman-c...

 

jerrym

It's interesting how the military command structure goes out to destroy the career of any rank and file woman who rocks the boat by bringing forward a complaint of sexual misconduct, or even abuse, but are willing to give second or third chances to commanding officers who make mistakes. Top General Eyres "give Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, no doubt with the approval of Defence Minister I See Nothing Sajjan, a chance to redeem himself", after so many women's cases of sexual abuse were ignored or even resulted in their being driven out of the military over decades and decades.

The commander of the Royal Canadian Navy will not lose his job after golfing with the former chief of the defence staff who is under military police investigation for sexual misconduct allegations.

Acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre says he will give Vice-Admiral Craig Baines a chance to redeem himself and show how to learn, grow and help the healing process.

Baines and then-defence vice-chief Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau drew outrage earlier this month when they hit the links with retired general Jonathan Vance, who is facing a sexual misconduct probe.

Rouleau apologized and resigned from his position soon after, though he didn’t leave the military entirely, while Baines also offered an apology and Eyre said he would consider next steps for the naval commander.

Eyre says in a message to Department of Defence and Canadian Armed Forces members on Tuesday that the golf game showed “poor judgment” and harmed victims and survivors, the institution and efforts to change its culture.

He adds there is no set process, procedure or guidance for making this decision on Baines’s future, nor is there a perfect answer, and he accepts that not all will agree regardless of the determination.

https://www.crestonvalleyadvance.ca/news/navy-commander-who-golfed-with-...

jerrym

With ten senior officers already relieved of duty, retired or on paid leave due to the sexual misconduct scandal, Trudeau this week criticized Chief of Staff General Eyres for allowing Vice-Admiral Craig Baines to continue in his post. However, after Defence Minister Sajjan later supported Eyres decision with regard to Baines, Trudeau back Sajjan and Eyres, showing that all of Trudeau's actions are for political effect and to avoid having to fire Sajjan before the coming election call. Trudeau says he is waiting for former Supreme Court judge Louise Arbour's report, which is expected in December, conveniently after the election. The Liberals have done nothing with former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps on this issue during their six years in office, nor with former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish in May. With this kind of approach, you can bet the sexual misconduct and abuse scandal in the military will continue well into the future. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he still has confidence in the ability of the military's top commander, Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, to lead the armed forces through the ongoing sexual misconduct crisis — despite publicly criticizing a choice Eyre made about a senior leader under fire.

On Wednesday, Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland both publicly questioned Eyre's decision to allow the commander of the navy, Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, to remain in his post after he took part in a golf game with former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance, who is under military police investigation following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

"I have confidence in the acting chief of defence staff,' Trudeau said Friday at a press conference.

"I know there is an awful lot of work for the senior leadership in the military to do to regain the trust of Canadians, to regain the trust of the women and men who serve in our armed forces."

The comment marks a change in tone for Trudeau and comes after Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Thursday night he personally has the "utmost confidence" in Eyre and agreed with his decision to give Baines a chance to redeem himself.

"He's absolutely committed to making sure that we create that culture change that's absolutely necessary," Sajjan told CBC News: Canada Tonight on Thursday.

Sajjan is in the midst of a political firestorm over his handling of the sexual misconduct crisis. For weeks, the Conservatives have been calling on him to resign or for the prime minister to fire him. A majority of MPs voted last month to censure Sajjan over his perceived failings on a number of files.  ...

Trudeau has been steadfast in his support of Sajjan.

"Minister Sajjan, through his service as a police officer and member of the armed forces, has stood against the old boys network every step of the way, and has had regular challenges with them throughout his career," said Trudeau on Wednesday.

Sajjan has been accused of failing to introduce a real change to the military's culture in response to a 2015 report by former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, which laid out recommendations for tackling an "underlying sexual culture" in the Armed Forces that leaves victims to fend for themselves.

Over the past six months, ten senior military leaders have been swept up in the sexual misconduct crisis and are either on leave with pay pending investigations or have retired. ...

Freeland said said she was "surprised and disturbed" by Eyre's decision to keep Baines in his role and wondered what kind of message it sent to women in uniform about how seriously their bosses were about changing the military's culture.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/prime-minister-confidence-in-acting-chi...

jerrym

Former Chief of Staff General Jonathan Vance has been charged with obstruction of justice "related to an ongoing military investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct". I would arge that the entire senior commanders, Defence Minister Sajjan and Trudeau should be charged with obstruction of justice on the issue of sexual misconduct in the military.

Former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance has been charged with one count of obstruction of justice related to an ongoing military investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, CFNIS, announced the charge against Vance Thursday.

The service said it could not provide details about what is alleged to have taken place, but that it happened sometime after the CFNIS began investigating Vance on February 4, 2021.

"It was during the course of this investigation that the obstruction of justice is alleged to have occurred," CFNIS said in a news release.

Vance is under investigation over allegations that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a former subordinate, Maj. Kellie Brennan. He is also under investigation for a separate allegation that he sent a racy email to another female officer.

Vance denies the allegations.

The ongoing investigation and news of the charge against Vance comes as the Canadian military grapples with an ongoing sexual misconduct crisis, which has prompted calls for the resignation of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jonathan-vance-obstruction-justice-1.61...

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