Defense Secretary Anita Anand will release a much-anticipated report this morning that is expected to put the military on a mission for not doing enough to tackle racism in the ranks in two years. past decade.
The report is the result of a year-long review by a panel of retired Canadian Armed Forces members tasked with identifying ways to tackle hate, racism and Discrimination in ranks.
The review was released in December 2020 amid concerns about systemic racism in the military, as well as reported links between some members to hate groups, extremists, and extremist groups. property and white supremacy.
An internal document summarizing the panel’s key findings obtained by the Canadian Press said the military would be criticized for not making past assessments and recommendations to address the issue in 20 years. via.
“The report strongly emphasizes that the Defense Group must place greater emphasis on recommendations that have previously been made because it believes the organization has the knowledge and expertise to implement them to ensure change.” effective and meaningful culture”, April 14 abstract.
The panel also called on the military to “raise the voices of those with life experience” and to insist on monitoring implementation of past recommendations to ensure real cultural change within the ranks.
“The Advisory Board emphasizes in the report that the only way change will happen is with greater accountability starting at the unit level and moving up at every level within the organization,” the summary reads.
There has been much concern about racism in the Armed Forces and links between some service members and hostile groups following a series of incidents and reports that some right-wing groups are actively recruiting members of the armed forces. service member.
Those incidents include a group of sailors affiliated with the Proud Boys disrupting the Mi’kmaq ceremony in Halifax in 2017 and media reports of other members affiliated with Neo-groups Nazi as Team Atomwaffen.
A 2018 military intelligence report said officials were aware of 30 active-duty members who were part of a hostile group or made discriminatory or racist statements.
Anand has had the panel report since early January, but her refusal to release it until now has been questioned by the military inspector’s office, Gregory Lick.
His office has conducted its own research into the military’s efforts to increase diversity in its ranks and will publish these men in early May.
“We have repeatedly asked to see the panel report through multiple channels in advance of its release for months,” said ombudsman spokesman Andrew Bernardo, who added that the outcome of Lick’s review ” ugly”.
“Regardless of the new initiatives that are introduced according to the panel report, the ombudsman was adamant that the same mistakes would not be repeated and that the department and the military needed to do things differently. “
The summary document says Armed Forces and Department of Defense officials have been working to implement its 47 recommendations. However, despite the panel’s emphasis on action, the summary document says only about half of the panel’s recommendations are being implemented.
“Others will take longer and require further review and consultation throughout the organization due to the scope of the recommendations, their complexity, and the requirement to collaborate with external partners.”
The work is being coordinated by a new internal committee tasked with reforming military culture based on a panel report as well as several others, including an upcoming Supreme Court judge’s report. retired senior Louise Arbour on addressing sexual misconduct in the ranks.
The panel is also expected to call out “uncomfortable” conversations about race and white privilege, as well as systemic barriers that have negatively impacted Native, Caucasian, and Indian militaries. Black and racial like.
The panel’s report is also expected to address the impact of colonialism, and the current imbalance in the ratio of white service members to the rest of the Canadian population.
“The panel members want to emphasize that they are not undermining the contribution of white men on the Defense Force; they are a sign of the problem,” the summary document reads.
The document includes a suggested response to criticism that the panel’s report is simply “soberism,” stating: “We found that the concept of sobriety continued deviated from its original meaning, to be socially aware and well-informed.”
And while the military is currently focused on the war in Ukraine and other threats, the brief describes cultural change as a key factor in recruiting and retaining enough troops to deal with it. those challenges.
“It is vital that we create an equal and inclusive environment so that we are better positioned to recruit and retain the people we need to tackle the day’s pressing issues,” the summary said. Turn off.
“Without our people, we cannot solve or fight wars. People just stay where they feel they belong.”
This Canadian Press report was first published on April 25, 2022.