Army commander orders Canadian soldiers to call out racism in the ranks

Clear message:

Soldiers who witness — or become aware of — racism and hateful conduct in the ranks will be expected to blow the whistle to their superiors under a sweeping new order issued today by the commander of the Canadian Army.

The new directive, which is being distributed to all army units across the country, also warns of consequences for those who turn a blind eye.

“We will hold our members accountable for their actions,” Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre wrote in the order, a copy of which was obtained by CBC News.

Soldiers “at all levels will be expected to intervene and report incidents,” he said, “and where necessary, we will provide support to those affected by these behaviours.

“Failure to act is considered complicity in the event.”

Eyre, who verbally outlined his expectations last week at a virtual meeting of commanding officers from across the country, promised he would give explicit direction on how to handle a growing number of cases of far-right extremism in the ranks.

He made the pledge as the army conducts an investigation of the 4th Ranger Group. That probe was triggered by a series of CBC News reports about a reservist who was allowed to continue to serve after being identified as a member of two far-right groups.

The order also comes as prosecutors in the U.S. are pursuing firearms charges against former Canadian army reservist Patrik Mathews, who is accused of recruiting for a white supremacist organization in the States.

Eyre was not available for an interview Thursday. He’s told CBC News previously that he is deeply concerned about the spread of a far-right ideology across the army.

While only a handful of such cases have been made public to date, Eyre said “one is too many” and vowed the army would take action in concert with the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces.In his interview with CBC News earlier this month, Eyre said it “sickens” him to see racism and intolerance in Canadian society — especially when people holding those views want to join the military.

The 25 page order, which was signed late Wednesday, said that a commanding officer is now “directed to take a proactive response to concerns of hateful conduct and does not need a written complaint to investigate any concerns.”

Those in charge of army units and formations now also have the authority to “temporarily” relieve someone accused of racist behaviour from duty “until the appropriate investigation or follow up has concluded.”

There are limits to that authority, however: the order says that commanders must “balance the public interest, including the effect on operational effectiveness and morale, with the interests of the member” before taking the formal step of relieving soldiers of duty.

And the order still depends on the willingness of soldiers to call each other out over racist and inappropriate behaviour.

“Bystander intervention training will be key in our efforts to eliminate hateful conduct, because we all have a responsibility to act and respond if we witness hateful conduct and associated incidents,” says the order.To that end, commanding officers have been told they need to keep an eye out for whistleblowers and “investigate any reports of threatening, intimidating, ostracizing, or discriminatory behaviour taken in response to a hate incident report.”

Some aspects of the order still need to be worked out. The order cites the need for a way to identify soldiers who “may be leaning towards a hateful ideology, or who are exhibiting troubling conduct.”

The army says it plans to develop a mechanism to monitor and track reports of hateful conduct in the ranks, which will plug into an existing Department of National Defence system announced last summer.

Range of penalties includes dismissal

Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, has suggested in the past that commanders take the proactive step of regularly monitoring the social media accounts of soldiers under their command.

The army also plans to train soldiers in identifying hateful conduct in the ranks.

Balgord said his group is pleased with what it sees in the order but remains concerned about the amount of discretion allowed when it comes to punishing those caught engaging in in hateful conduct.”The devil in the detail here is really going to come down to how this new order is put into effect,” he said, adding that “any member caught participating in a hate group” should be ejected from the Armed Forces.

There are a range of sanctions available under the military’s disciplinary and administrative systems, up to and including dismissal from the Forces.

The order also explicitly gives the commander the option of rehabilitating the individual.

Source: Army commander orders Canadian soldiers to call out racism in the ranks

Canada’s federal security and intelligence establishment encouraging employees to self-identify

Further to the earlier Hill Times story. Having gone through some of the recent reports (still awaiting a few), my general observation is the lower the representation numbers, the longer the reports and the more words describing the various initiatives underway). That being said, their cultures are different from elsewhere in the public service and thus the challenges greater:

A number of organizations in Canada’s security and intelligence establishment, including the Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Community, the Department of National Defence, and the Canada Border Services Agency have been conducting campaigns to encourage employees who belong to one of the four designated groups listed in the Employment Equity Act—women, Indigenous people, members of a visible minority, and people with a disability—to self-identify, as part of their efforts to improve data collection and hiring practices.

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, composed of 11 MPs and Senators and chaired by Liberal MP David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Ont.), focused on diversity and inclusion issues in the security and intelligence community in its most recent annual report.

The report notes that one of the challenges in the security and intelligence committee surrounds voluntary self-identification.

But the report also notes that “self-identification campaigns and internal communications are [a] way organizations try to increase awareness on these issues,” and that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), and the Department of National Defence (DND) have conducted campaigns to “demystify the self-identification process and encourage employees to self identify.”

The Hill Times reached out to the four organizations noted in the report for more information on how they have done that.

Communications Security Establishment

Diversity and inclusion is an important element in ensuring that the Canadian security and intelligence community can effectively protect Canada, said Ryan Foreman, a media relations representative with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

Mr. Foreman outlined a number of initiatives undertaken by the CSE to encourage self-identification, including a 2017 push to increase organizational awareness of the requirements of the Employment Equity Act, and to explain how a diverse workforce strengthens CSE’s ability to deliver on its mandate.

“This included providing data to managers, and developing strategies to attract job applicants from underrepresented groups,” said Mr. Foreman, who also noted that CSE launched a self-identification campaign called “Show us what CSE is made of,” which was designed to encourage employees to self-identify.

“The messaging for this campaign communicated the importance of employment equity data and its impact on other organizational initiatives, such as recruitment and training,” said Mr. Foreman. “Both the 2017 initiative and the self-identification campaign started in 2018 are on-going.”

Canadian Security and Intelligence Community

“As Canada’s security and intelligence service, it is critical that CSIS reflects the communities it protects, wrote CSIS spokesperson John Townsend in an email to The Hill Times. “To this end, CSIS has implemented an ongoing internal communications campaign to encourage employees who belong to one of the four designated groups listed in the Employment Equity Act to self-identify.”

“The campaign includes an annual Employment Equity questionnaire among other tools to advise employees on the importance of self-identification.”

Ninety per cent of CSIS employees have engaged with these tools, according to Mr. Townsend.

“The work of making CSIS more representative of Canada is never finished but our commitment is steadfast and our efforts continue,” wrote Mr. Townsend.

Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Staff at the Department of National Defence and members of Canadian Armed Forces have returned self-identification forms at a greater rate this year than in the past, thanks to organizational efforts to spread the word about the importance of self-identification, according to Major Smyth, spokesperson for DND.

The Employment Equity Act requires that every member be provided the opportunity to self-identify as a member of a designated group, but it remains voluntary to do so.

As such, employment equity representation rates are based on a voluntary process and may not represent the actual employment equity representation in CAF, according to Mr. Smyth.

“Overall, the CAF continues to improve upon its self-identification return rates,” said Mr. Smyth. “The first part of the self-identification form is a personal identification portion. For this portion, the regular force achieved its highest return rate yet with 97.5 per cent of [members] having had the opportunity to self-identify as a member of a designated employment equity group.”

“While the return rates are lower in the primary reserve units, the CAF saw an overall increase in self-identification as designated group members from both regular force and primary reserve members compared to 2017/18.”

“Current representation rates, as of July 2020, for the regular force and the primary reserves combined, were as follows: women, 16 per cent; visible minorities, 9.3 per cent; and Indigenous Peoples, 2.8 per cent.”

DND/CAF did not identify the representation of persons with disabilities as of July 2020 in their response to The Hill Times.

The CAF works closely with Statistics Canada to ensure that “labour market data they provide, and upon which the CAF sets its employment equity representation rate goals, is reflective of the unique occupations and employment criteria of the CAF.”

“DND/CAF is committed to reflecting the Canadian ideals of diversity, respect and inclusion. Both long and short term goals have been created, based on the labour market analysis provided by Statistics Canada. We review our progress regularly to ensure that we are always working towards increasing representation rates,” said Mr. Smyth.”

Canadian Border Services Agency

The Canada Border Services Agency’s campaign encouraging self-identification began in 2017 and was repeated in 2018, according to Jacqueline Callin, spokesperson with the agency.

“They stressed the importance of understanding our workforce composition and reinforced that employee information would be protected. Recognizing that the Agency’s manual process might be contributing to response rates of 61 per cent, an online form was piloted with success in 2019 and was set to be launched in March 2020 as part of our ‘Your Voice Matters’ campaign. It has been postponed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and current efforts are focused on how best to virtually promote self-identification,” she said.

Employment Equity Act ‘has served Canada and the public service well,’ says expert

Andrew Griffith, who is the former director general for Citizenship and Multiculturalism and has worked for a variety of government departments in Canada and abroad, told The Hill Times that the Employment Equity Act has served Canada and the public service well, and that the diversity of virtually every group has increased since the act was introduced.

“So the basic structure of the act, I think, has worked in the reporting structure and the data collection, and the publicity that comes with the results,” said Mr. Griffith, who is a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and Environics Institute.

“But if you re-open the act, I’m just not sure that it’s worth all that much effort, time, and invariable divisiveness and controversies that it will raise,” said Mr. Griffith. “I’m thinking that if you want to use government time wisely, it would be more effective, I would think, [to look] at specific anti-racism initiatives and look at some of the specific barriers rather than a wholesale of revision of the act, because I think the challenge is less with the act and more with some of the practical stuff.”

Source: Canada’s federal security and intelligence establishment encouraging employees to self-identify

PM’s ‘Tiger Team’ meant to address diversity, inclusion in Canada’s national intelligence and security community hasn’t met since 2018

Of note. Yet another initiative without apparent follow-up.

Although somewhat dated, this overall picture is unlikely to have changed significantly (in process of requesting updated reports for the CF (non-civilian), RCMP (non-civilian), CSIS and CSE as not covered in the TBS report):


The federal government still has “much work to be done” on addressing diversity and inclusion issues within its intelligence and security apparatus, according to a recent parliamentary committee report, with one leading intelligence expert suggesting more senior leadership within the Privy Council Office with “power and clout” is needed to oversee the problem—and questioning why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s launch of the “Tiger Team” in 2017 meant to address diversity and inclusion issues hasn’t met since July 2018.

In their lengthy 2019 annual report, which was tabled in Parliament only a few days before the nation-wide COVID-19 lockdown began in March, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, composed of 11 MPs and Senators and chaired by Liberal MP David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Ont.), focused considerable attention on the issue of diversity and inclusion in the security and intelligence community.

The review was conducted for several reasons, according to the report, most importantly because “challenges to increasing diversity and inclusion persist in the security and intelligence community even after decades of legislation, multiple reports and repeated calls for change.”

“These issues are particularly important for organizations responsible for protecting the national security of Canada and the rights and freedoms of Canadians.”

The report also notes that the “Tiger Team” established in 2017, created “with the stated aim of ‘exploring, advancing and implementing joint efforts to learn from one another and share best practices to enhance diversity and inclusion within and across [their] organizations through a variety of activities and initiatives,’” has not met since July 2018.

In January 2017, The leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Border Services Agency, CSIS, Canadian Security Establishment, Department of National Defense and the RCMP established the Tiger Team.

National security expert Wesley Wark, a professor at the University of Ottawa, told The Hill Times that the initiative to create a Tiger Team was a product of a push by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) in late 2016, and ultimately resulted from a meeting Mr. Trudeau requested with the heads of agencies in the security and intelligence community as well as with the Privy Council Office.

“Sadly, the tigers seem ultimately to have gone to sleep,” according to Prof. Wark’s April 2020 working paper addressing the NSICOP’s findings. “It is time, perhaps, for the prime minister to crack the whip again.”

“This kind of Tiger Team concept moved into the lane of deliverology, in the sense that it was overseen by the deputy secretary to the cabinet, but I’m not sure that was the original idea—that’s just where it ended up in terms of maintaining some momentum and producing reports for a period of time,” according to Prof. Wark.

When it comes to the specifics of diversity and inclusion in the security and intelligence community, it was “probably a mistake to move it into that lane or allow it to be moved into that lane,” said Prof. Wark.

“If an initiative of this kind was going to be sustained and picked up by all the different elements of the security and intelligence community, it needed to be overseen by senior leadership in the PCO [outside] of the deliverology mechanism,” said Prof. Wark. “In other words, it should have been taken up as a priority by the national and security and intelligence advisor, and it’s that senior officer in PCO who would have the power and clout to really make sure that something significant happened in this way.”

“I don’t understand why the national security and intelligence adviser himself did not take this up, and the committee of parliamentarians notes that although it doesn’t attach any explicit criticism to this, the whole Tiger Team effort obviously just faded away all together after a period of time,” said Prof. Wark.

The deputy secretary to the cabinet resides within the PCO, underneath the Clerk, and the national security and intelligence advisor is a very senior deputy minister position that ranks almost as an equivalent position to the clerk of the Privy Council, according to Prof. Wark.

According to PCO spokesperson Pierre-Alain Bujold, the work of the Tiger Team is ongoing, and currently chaired by the Department of National Defense (DND).

“The Government of Canada appreciates the work undertaken by [NSICOP],” according to Mr. Bujold, [and] sees diversity and inclusion as an important means to making its national security and intelligence community even more effective in protecting Canadians,” according to Mr. Bujold in an emailed statement to The Hill Times.

“We have been working for a number of years to improve diversity and inclusion in the security and intelligence community. This is critical, not just in terms of better representing Canadian communities, but in making security and intelligence agencies more effective at doing their job.”

‘Diversity is particularly important inside security and intelligence organizations’

Mr. McGuinty, the committee’s chair, was not available for an interview, but in an emailed statement to The Hill Times, the executive director of the committee, Rennie Marcoux, wrote that although the report did not make any findings or recommendations as to the national security and intelligence adviser’s role within the Tiger Team, the committee recognizes the merit of the community approach to address diversity and inclusion issues—and that its recommendations reinforce the value of the coordinated effort.

“The security and intelligence community is best placed to determine which individual or office is best suited to lead or direct this work,” according to Ms. Marcoux.

In its conclusions, the report notes that “building diverse and inclusive workforces is essential to the effectiveness of the security and intelligence community.”

When asked to expand, Ms. Marcoux noted that in addition to the “well-documented” benefits of a diverse workplace and inclusive workforce across a large body of research, as well as the committee’s belief that Canada’s public service should reflect the population it serves, “a more diverse workforce ensures that organizations are benefitting from the broad range of perspectives and talent that Canada has to offer.”

“Finally, the committee notes that diversity is particularly important inside security and intelligence organizations because it allows them to leverage language skills, community contacts and cultural competencies, and protects against groupthink mindsets that permeate more homogeneous organizations,” according to Ms. Marcoux.

Tim McSorley, national coordinator with the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, told The Hill Times that “there needs to be a level of accountability and transparency in terms of what the words on paper mean.”

“I think a big question is that we see, year-after-year, whether it’s three-year plans or five-year plans or in line with Treasury Board recommendations, it seems like there’s a plan and then the next plan seems to repeat very similar issues around the importance of lowering barriers [around] increasing diversity and inclusion within these organizations,” said Mr. McSorley. “While it does seem that the numbers have gotten slightly better over the last 10 or 11 years, it doesn’t seem like anything new is coming out, it seems that it remains the same question each time a new plan is put together.”

“So what are they doing on the ground to actually change and to increase diversity and inclusion in the security and intelligence community,” said Mr. McSorley. “Who is accountable if they don’t meet those goals, and what kind of consequences are there?”

When asked about the Tiger Team, Mr. McSorley said that looking at some of the critiques within the report, the fact that it was concentrated solely of members from HR departments was part of the problem.

According to the report, the committee noted several shortcomings with this initiative, including the lack of specific objectives for diversity and inclusion as well as the development of a performance measurement framework to assess the success of its initiatives.

“The representatives from each organization were all from human resources departments and organizations did not seek out members of employment equity groups for membership or participation on the Tiger Team,” according to the report. “[Throughout] its discussions, the Tiger Team focused on short-term initiatives without considering systemic challenges raised in various organization-specific studies or class-action lawsuits (the CAF and the RCMP), such as workplace culture and discrimination.”

‘Things won’t change on their own’

The Abella Commission, which led to the creation of the Employment Equity Act, unfolded in 1984, said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, director of the equality program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“The first Employment Equity Act was in 1986. The current [act] is 25 years old, and that act calls for serious accountability measures, serious long-term and short-term goal setting, serious monitoring and reviews for organization accountability,” said Ms. Aviv.

“So we always need to be optimistic and hopeful and try to move things forward, but we’ve also been working on these issues for a very long time,” said Ms. Aviv. “There are clear obligations there, obligations that, according to this report, have simply not been met.”

Ms. Aviv said she believes that there is a notion that things are getting better, they get better on their own, and that patience is required to change organizational culture.

“But if you actually look at the trajectory and the amount of time that’s passed, and the amount of harm that’s been done to people in these organizations, and the ill-effect it’s having on the effectiveness of the organizations themselves, then you understand that things won’t change on their own,” said Ms. Aviv.

According to RCMP spokesperson Catherine Fortin, the RCMP has implemented a number of initiatives to increase the ratio of women, visible minorities, and Indigenous people within their ranks, with objectives to include 30 per cent women, 20 per cent of people from visible minority groups, and 10 per cent Indigenous people.

“We intend to reach these goals through a targeted approach to recruiting, using advertising and marketing to position the RCMP as the employer of choice to people who may not have considered a career in policing,” according to Ms. Fortin. “The RCMP is committed to inclusiveness and diversity of all types within the organization. We believe that the more diverse we are when it comes to gender, ethnic background, religion or sexual orientation, the better we are able to serve all Canadians.”

According to DND spokesperson Major T.A. Smyth, “DND and the CAF place unprecedented emphasis on ensuring diversity and gender equality in military human resource management as part of efforts to strengthen the operational force and to position DND and the CAF as inclusive organizations. Diversity is viewed as a source of strength and flexibility to build the capacity of the CAF and the civilian workforce.”

“DND and the CAF are working with other government departments as a community and considering the findings and recommendations of this report to inform future decision making,” according to Mr. Smyth. “Various experiences, knowledge, and skillsets contribute to our operational effectiveness. By increasing the representativeness of our Forces and our civilian personnel to reflect Canadian society, diversity enables DND and CAF to be forward-looking, resilient, and relevant.”

—-

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians made the following recommendations in it’s 2019 Annual Report, released in March 2020:

1. The committee conduct a retrospective review in three to five years to assess the security and intelligence community’s progress in achieving and implementing its diversity goals and inclusion initiatives.

2. The security and intelligence community adopt a consistent and transparent approach to planning and monitoring of employment equity and diversity goals, and conduct regular reviews of their employment policies and practices.

3. The security and intelligence community improve the robustness of its data collection and analysis, including GBA+ assessments of internal staffing and promotion policies and clustering analyses of the workforce.

4. The security and intelligence community develop a common performance measurement framework, and strengthen accountability for diversity and inclusion through meaningful and measurable performance indicators for executives and managers across all organizations.

Source: PM’s ‘Tiger Team’ meant to address diversity, inclusion in Canada’s national intelligence and security community hasn’t met since 2018

Canadian military works to define ‘hateful conduct’ to help it detect and discipline extremists

Coming up with agreed definitions in a government context is harder than it appears given the range of potential situations beyond the more clear cut cases:

Canada’s military is still defining the term “hateful conduct” as it grapples with how to better detect and discipline white supremacists in its ranks.

In a recent wide-ranging interview with CBC News, military leaders said they have identified areas of improvement and are working toward change. They hope to announce details in the coming months.

“I do understand that sometimes from the outside we might look opaque, but that is due to privacy reasons that we can’t divulge specific information,” Brig.-Gen. Sylvain Menard, the chief of staff operations for military personnel, said at DND headquarters in Ottawa.

“I think the fact that we’re here today trying to demystify and explain what we’re doing is our attempt to say, ‘No, we are open and transparent.'”The military has been grappling with a prominent example of extremism in its ranks, following the high-profile arrest of Patrik Mathews, a former Manitoba-based reservist, as part of an FBI undercover operation into a violent white supremacist group called The Base.

Last month, a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Mathews, 27, and two U.S. men on firearms- and alien-related charges. His next court appearance there is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Mathews is also facing additional counts in Delaware. If convicted, he could face up to a maximum of 90 years in U.S. prison.

In court documents, prosecutors say Mathews videotaped himself advocating killing people, poisoning water supplies and derailing trains.

They also allege that Mathews and two other co-accused had been planning to violently disrupt a gun-rights rally in Richmond, Va., in hopes of inciting civil war.

The Canadian military began investigating Mathews in the  spring of 2019, after someone reported comments “incompatible with the Canadian Forces.” At the time, he was a former combat engineer with the 38 Canadian Brigade Group in Winnipeg, with training in explosives.The military fast-tracked his request to be released from the reserves. That officially came through on Aug. 30, 2019.

“It takes a while to conduct these investigations. We have to follow due process, every Canadian has the same right, where innocent until proven guilty, and at the time of release, we just didn’t have enough to do anything about Mr. Mathews,” Menard said.

Brig.-Gen. Sylvain Menard says the military has ‘zero tolerance’ for hateful conduct and describes the Canadian Armed Force’s code of conduct. 1:56

“I think it’s a success story that we were investigating the member, even though we did not have a chance to fully close the loop.”

Defining ‘hateful conduct’

Part of the problem is that the military is still defining and codifying the term “hateful conduct,” something that has to be done in conjunction with the military justice system, Menard said.

Until that’s done, it is hard to discipline members and keep good statistics, he added.

Right now, hateful conduct is lumped into a category of behaviour that doesn’t measure up to expectations. Every year, the military reviews about 200 cases. Of those, approximately half of those are released.

“We have to evolve just as Canadian society evolves,” said Brig.-Gen. Yvonne Thomson, who is responsible for military careers and discipline.

“Adjusting our language is part of the issue we’re trying to solve.”

Brig.-Gen. Yvonne Thomson describes the range of disciplinary and administrative options available for anyone accused or found to be engaged in racist or discriminatory behaviour. 3:01

But retired Col. Michel Drapeau said it’s taking too long.

“You’ve got to have the definition,” he said from his law office in Ottawa.

“Just as an aside, it took them almost a couple of years to define sexual harassment. They didn’t know what that was. …There is no excuse in 2020 for not knowing this. Get on with it.”

However, the military maintains that even without a formal definition of “hateful conduct,” it is taking action.

Retired Col. Michel Drapeau, now a lawyer in Ottawa, says the Canadian reserves are a ‘back door’ for extremists to get into the military, and they do it for weapons training. 1:35

Menard pointed to reports by the Military Police Criminal Intelligence Section on white supremacy in the armed forces. Between 2013 and 2018, there were 16 identified members of extreme hate groups in the Canadian military, and another 35 engaged in racist or hateful behaviour.

As of Dec. 5, 2019, no wrongdoing was found in eight of those cases. Fifteen members still with the CAF received interventions ranging from counselling to disciplinary measures. Three people were discharged because of hateful conduct. Seven investigations are still underway.

Salvaging careers

There is a range of disciplinary and administrative options for anyone accused or found to be engaged in racist or discriminatory behaviour, and Thomson maintains they are effective.

For example, if someone has a problem with alcohol abuse, they could be warned and offered counselling. If they are drunk and get into a fight, they could be charged under the Code of Military Discipline and then offered remediation.

In both cases, the military will give the member an opportunity to correct their behaviour.

“If we can salvage somebody’s career then we’ll take the steps that we think are necessary,” said Thomson, who is responsible for military careers and discipline.

“The punitive issue is the visible signal to the rest of the folks in the unit that this is counter to our behaviour and it needs to be stopped. The administrative measures can be sometimes more quiet and more — I don’t want to say behind closed doors — but they naturally will unfold and they can be more sensitive in nature.”

Administrative measures can ultimately lead to a member’s release from the military, she added.

‘Oh shit. Not again’

The Mathews case has also raised questions about whether the reserves are what Col. Drapeau characterizes as a “back door” for white supremacists to get into the Forces.

“If I were chief of [Canadian military] personnel my first comment, ‘Oh shit. Not again,'” Drapeau said.

“You are a prime target for people who want to come and join and become members of the armed forces. … They have to be more diligent and more alert to a vulnerability in there,” he said.

Tony McAleer agrees.

As he watched the arrests in the U.S., McAleer wasn’t surprised to hear Mathews and a co-accused had ties to their respective militaries.

“Due to the nature of the military and the wide range of people it attracts, I think it always is a problem, but I think as the organizations like The Base or Atomwaffen [Division] become more and more militant, the need for vigilance is heightened,” McAleer said recently from his home in Vancouver.

“You know there’s fine lines between patriotism and nationalism and ultra-nationalism. There’s overlap,” said the former skinhead and organizer for the White Aryan Resistance. He has since de-radicalized, co-founded a nonprofit organization called Life After Hate, and written a book.

Tony McAleer is a former white supremacist who joined the reserves for weapons training. He has some advice for how to identify extremists in the military. 1:37

McAleer knows what he’s talking about. He joined an airborne infantry reserve unit in the 1990s and encouraged other white supremacists to do the same.

“I first joined the reserves infantry for the weapons training. That was the attraction. …  I think the military has always had to guard itself against people joining for the wrong reasons,” McAleer said.

However, there are already steps to identifying recruits with extremist views for both the regular forces and the reserves, said Brig.-Gen. Liam McGarry, the commander responsible for recruiting.

They include an aptitude test, reference and conduct checks, security screenings, and a personal interview.

Recruiters look through social media and even tattoos. If someone has body art deemed to be part of a hateful-conduct organization, that would make them unsuitable, McGarry said.

“Having a level of vagueness or mystery to the whole process actually prevents everyone from ultimately being able to game or have a detailed plan to get through everything. The expectation should be anything that you have done … chances are it will come to light throughout the process,” he said.

Of the 45,000 applications for regular forces last year, 370 were rejected for a category of unsuitability, of which 28 fall under what could be considered hateful conduct. There are no similar statistics for the approximately 15,000 reserve applications every year.

McGarry maintained the Forces are becoming a much more diverse group every year, better reflecting Canadian society and creating a more inclusive atmosphere.

Getting outside help is suggested

In light of what’s become an embarrassing and ongoing problem, Drapeau and others are urging the CAF to get outside help in de-radicalizing members exhibiting hateful conduct.

In Quebec, the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, trains organizational leaders to prevent radicalization rather than just reacting to it.

“Even if it’s not a huge number of people that might be connected to violent extremism or who might get radicalized, just a few individuals can actually represent a strong threat because of the training that they have had in the military, and also just a few people can actually really destroy the reputation of the Canadian Forces by just being associated with an extremist group,” research manager Benjamin Ducol said.

Military leadership is acutely aware of that.

It’s why Menard has this message to any extremists currently in CAF ranks:

“You have no place in the military,” he says.

“We have zero tolerance for such behaviour for anything that is discriminatory in nature … and we will get you out of uniform if you don’t correct your behaviour.”

Source: Canadian military works to define ‘hateful conduct’ to help it detect and discipline extremists

Elghawaby: Those who serve our country should not face discrimination of any kind


The Canadian Forces, like the RCMP, struggle with diversity:

Almost every public institution in our country claims it wants to better reflect the populations it serves. The same is true of our military. Parliament’s defence committee has even begun a study to determine which groups need better representation.

As the nation marks Remembrance Day, it’s important to reflect not only on those who have sacrificed their lives and well-being serving our nation, but those who have had to face racism and harassment in doing so. If such barriers continue to exist, efforts to recruit people of colour and people of various faiths and backgrounds will ultimately fail.

One needs only look to the very top to understand the challenge at hand.

Canada’s defence minister, Harjit Sajjan, has acknowledged facing significant racism throughout his long career in the Canadian Armed Forces. This has been his reality since joining the Forces in 1989 and even more recently. The first Sikh-Canadian to command a Canadian Army regiment has faced racist and vulgar comments on his personal Facebook page, as well as on the Forces’ official page. “I still can’t take this guy seriously as head of the armed forces!” posted one person. “Man, it’s not us! Sikh?”

Consider the case of Bashir Abdi, a Canadian of Somali descent who served for 10 years in the Forces. In 2013, Abdi says he obtained permission to attend Eid celebrations for the day. Yet, when he returned, he was fined and eventually convicted at a military summary trial for being “Absent Without Leave.” He was fired from his post and took his case to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. “As Canadian society and workplaces continue to grow and diversify,” reads his GoFundMe page, “it is imperative that we bring more attention to the issue of fair religious accommodation so that no one else has to experience Bashir’s humiliation.”

Canada’s defence minister, Harjit Sajjan, has acknowledged facing significant racism throughout his long career in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Or take the disturbing episode this past spring, when a group of officer cadets were expelled from the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, Que., after video emerged of them desecrating a Qur’an with bacon and semen during a cottage party.

The head of Canada’s military, Gen. Jonathan Vance, has admitted that the Forces are struggling to identify those within the ranks who not only hold racist views, but who are actively engaged in white supremacist and right-wing activities. “Clearly it’s in here,” Vance said earlier this fall in an interview.

None of this makes joining the military a particularly endearing proposition, nor will it help improve the numbers. As of 2018, 15.4 per cent of the military were female, 2.7 per cent were Indigenous, and 8.1 per cent were visible minorities. The Department of National Defence has said that by 2026, it wants the military to comprise 25 per cent women, 3.5 per cent Indigenous peoples, and 11.8 per cent visible minorities.

“I used to wonder how Indigenous soldiers who went to residential school felt about serving for a country whose government discriminated against their people,” wrote Indigenous journalist Wawmeesh Hamilton in a recent online post.

At the very least, their contributions must be acknowledged, and existing challenges addressed. That begins with education as well as clear consequences for racist and anti-immigrant behaviours and attitudes.

Success looks like Capt. Barbara Helms, who joined the Forces as its first Muslim female chaplain this past April. And we can look as far back as 1996, when the late Wafa Dabbagh became the first Canadian Muslim woman to wear the headscarf in the Forces. In a 2008 media interview, Lt.-Commander Dabbagh described her experience as“95-per-cent positive.”

As defence committee chair Stephen Fuhr put it recently, “having a diverse, healthy, happy military personnel will have a direct impact on combat effectiveness. So we need to determine that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Among those we memorialize are those who defeated the very worst fascist and white supremacist forces of our time. Lest we forget.

Source: Elghawaby: Those who serve our country should not face discrimination …

Canadian military falling well short of its target for recruiting women

Endemic problem but recruitment and culture change takes time and premature to evaluate success or failure with the new plan. Need to wait 3-5 years before assessing properly:

The Canadian military has barely moved the needle on its ambitious plan to recruit more women, just over a year after the Liberal government introduced its gender-focused defence policy, new figures reveal.

The stated intention of Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance was to have women make up 25 per cent of the Armed Forces by 2025-26.

Statistics released by the Office of the Chief of Military Personnel show that while the number of female recruits coming through the door has increased slightly, it has not been enough to boost overall representation.

As of the end of April, women made up only 15.4 per cent of both the combined regular and reserve forces.

The story is the same for Indigenous Canadians and visible minorities — those recruitment numbers remain just as anemic as they have been for several years.

Indigenous Canadians make up about 2.8 per cent of the Armed Forces; DND has set a goal of getting that share up to 3.5 per cent. Visible minorities make up 8.2 per cent; the target percentage is 11.8.

But the military and the Liberal government have more political capital invested in the effort to get more women into uniform. It’s central to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mantra of gender equality. and to Canada’s desire to put women at the heart of a reformed international peacekeeping system.

The drive to recruit more women comes as the military attempts to overhaul its culture in the wake of a damning report in 2015 by retired supreme court justice Marie Deschamps, who said a “sexualized culture” within the military was behind an endemic problem with sexual harassment and misconduct.

Female recruitment picking up — but slowly

There were 860 women enrolled in the military in the last fiscal year, which ended on March 31 — an increase of eight per cent over the previous year.

It’s not enough, said the chief of military personnel.

“Those are still not meeting the number we need to have in order to meet the 25 per cent target and we’re conscious of that,” Lt.-Gen. Chuck Lamarre told CBC News in an interview.

The slow pace of female recruitment has forced senior brass to take more direct control, he added.

“We recognize it’s going to take a much more disciplined approach, a much more targeted approach to go get more women, more visible minority and more Aboriginal folks to come join the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Lamarre, who insisted the Armed Forces can still hit the target, which was first established in early 2016.

Military looks at foreign recruits to boost ranks

The direction from Vance back then had been to increase the representation of women in the forces by one per cent per year over a decade. The new statistics show the military has seen healthy increases in the number of women applying to be officers, or to join the navy or air force.

But National Defence is having a harder time convincing women to join the army, and to become non-commissioned members of the rank and file.

Lamarre said he believes the military is fighting against perceptions about the kind of career being offered.

“People have a tendency to self-select out before they give it a shot, and I think that’s a mistake,” he said, pointing to the military’s struggle to get women to consider signing up for trades such as aircraft, vehicle and maritime mechanics.

“We are attracting more women into the officer corps, but I think we need to broaden that even more. Part of it is demystifying some of those occupations. Some of them look to be hard and exclusively centred towards men. That’s not the case at all. We have some great examples of women who are operating in every occupation.”

Military’s image problem persists

Others — DesChamps among them — argue that the perception of the military as a tough place to be a woman hasn’t gone away.

Despite the military’s high-profile campaign to stamp out misconduct — known as Operation Honour — and the increasing number of sexual assault cases being tried in the military justice system, many say that little has changed when it comes to the macho nature of military culture.

“In the last three years, in my opinion, more could have been done” to stop harassment and make the military a more welcoming career choice for women, Deschamps told the Senate defence committee last week.

“What I have seen is, not a lot of progress has been made.”

The federal government has faced two class-action lawsuits launched by survivors of sexual assault and misconduct in the military.

The cases entered settlement discussions last winter after it was revealed government lawyers filed a statement of defence that said National Defence “does not owe members of the Canadian Armed Forces any duty to protect them from sexual harassment and assault.”

via Canadian military falling well short of its target for recruiting women | CBC News

Canada’s special forces want to attract women for a job that’s more than kicking down doors

The above table  contrasts the overall representation of the Canadian Forces, RCMP, CSIS and CSE. The latter two organizations, more intelligence-driven than the CF and RCMP, indicate some hope for the strategy:

Canada’s special forces hope to recruit more than just a few good women in the coming years, says the commander of the elite force.

Maj-Gen. Mike Rouleau said the special forces, the highly trained military units that hunt terrorists and conduct covert operations, are considering how they can recruit more women.

More than just a nod toward society’s growing demand for gender balance, having more women in the unit would make it more effective, he said.

This is the future, and it is a bit of James Bond, but if you want to defeat a [terrorist] cellular-based network, you need to be in front of that cell– Steve Day, former commander of counterterrorism unit

“Having female operators would allow us to be more flexible in the battlespace,” Rouleau said in a recent interview. “It would allow us to be more under the radar in certain cases.”

In certain countries, two men walking down the street might draw attention, but having a man and woman conduct the same mission might be less noticeable, Rouleau suggested.

A former commander of the country’s elite counterterrorism unit, JTF-2, which is part of the special forces command, said the need for such mixed gender teams is something Canada’s allies have already recognized.

The more special forces are called on to fight terrorists, the more they will have to act and fight like intelligence agents, rather “door-kicking” commandos, said retired colonel Steve Day, who is now president of Reticle Security.

“Our closest allies routinely deploy male and female alongside each other to do the softer, intelligence-gathering, sensor-type operations,” he said.

“This is the future, and it is a bit of James Bond, but if you want to defeat a [terrorist] cellular-based network, you need to be in front of that cell, and at the moment, we’re not there.”

Clear criteria

Up to 14 per cent of the more than 2,200 Canadian special forces personnel are women, a percentage Rouleau said he wants to increase to 25 per cent.

That figure would be in line with the overall direction of the Canadian military, which has set the same goal.

“We’re an equal opportunity employer,” said Rouleau. “We’d love to have more women in the force.”

It is, however, easier said than done.

Rouleau noted a handful of women currently serve in both the special forces command and the unit that responds to chemical, biological and radioactive incidents.

A few have even tried out for JTF-2, but none have gone on to take the training course, because they failed to qualify, he said.

In order to be successful, Day said, a cultural change is needed within the special forces that recognizes not only the value of women in the field, but the fact that the elite troops are capable of doing more than assaulting a target.

The very first introduction of women into the special forces ranks in 2003-2004 “didn’t go over that well because organizationally we were quite immature when it came to understanding what the selection process would be,” said Day.

“There was a lot of pushback and no end of short-term grief.”

The problem is not simply gender bias, he added.

The selection process of an “assaulter” — a soldier well-suited to combat — is well documented, he said, but the criteria for choosing the best people for more intelligence-based operations is not as well defined. That needs to change, Day said.

Rouleau acknowledged his organization can do more to get out the message that “female operators are not only welcome, but in many cases, they would make us operationally more successful.”

Army under strain

The Liberal government’s defence policy, released last spring, mandated the expansion of special forces by up to 605 personnel, presenting all sorts of challenges beyond the gender issue.

At the moment, troops can only join the elite unit through the regular forces, and up to 94 per cent of those transfers come from the army.

The wider military is having its own problems.

The army currently sits at 47,000, which includes regular and reserve soldiers, as well as Canadian Rangers, who patrol the Arctic. But the regular force is short up to 1,500 troops from its allotted strength of 23,100, according to Department of Defence statistics.

Members of Canadian Forces Special Operations JTF-2 unit storm a ship during a training mission off the shores of Churchill, Man. in 2012. The nature of operations for special forces is changing to include more intelligence gathering. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Senior defence officials insist they’re hitting recruiting targets, but retention of highly skilled members is a problem.

Drawing from an army that is struggling to keep qualified soldiers “is a concern,” said Rouleau, who acknowledged he and his staff are looking for a direct-entry model similar to a program introduced by the U.S. Army, known as 18-Xray.

“You can’t come from the street to be a special forces operator,” said Rouleau. “But that doesn’t mean in the future we won’t have a model that you can come from the street.

“I’m not saying that’s where we’re going. I’m saying we’re looking at alternate options to today’s model to make sure that we’re both capturing the talent that’s out there, but also try, if we can, to alleviate some of the pressure from the services.”

The American system gives recruits the opportunity to “try out” for special forces right away.

U.S.officials say it does not guarantee a recruit will be accepted, only that they will be given the opportunity to demonstrate they have “the right stuff.”

Source: Canada’s special forces want to attract women for a job that’s more than kicking down doors

With wider search for soldiers, Canada’s military broadens horizons [in hiring]

The The numbers are abysmal as shown above in the dated chart but it does appear that the military is taking more serious steps to address the gaps.

It would also be nice if their annual employment equity report would be posted publicly rather than having to request it from the Library of Parliament:

First, though, comes a significant and persistent challenge: getting more Canadians to join.

The Forces have struggled for years to hit recruiting numbers, resulting in thousands of unfilled positions such as pilots and technicians.

That’s why fixing the recruiting system is a top priority, said Lt.-Gen. Charles Lamarre, the chief of military personnel, whose role is to oversee all aspects of human resources in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Central to that goal is making the military more inclusive, diverse and attractive to all Canadians, regardless of their backgrounds.

“Our population doesn’t look like all white guys,” Lamarre said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“If you want to get the very best people – the very smartest, most capable, most committed and most ingenious – then you need to look broadly and not exclude groups that would be very useful to you.”

There is more to the push towards increased diversity and inclusiveness than simply recruiting, though that part of the equation is vitally important.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada’s chief of the defence staff, recently released a diversity strategy in which he noted that Canada was becoming more diverse – and the military needed to follow suit.

Doing so would be necessary to attract and retain people, Vance wrote, as well as to ensure the military continued to reflect the society it is sworn to protect, and to increase its effectiveness on missions abroad.

That’s why the Forces appear to be turning a page: leaders are recognizing the real importance of diversity, said Alan Okros, an expert on diversity in the military at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

“This idea that people with different views, different experiences, different skill sets are going to make the military stronger has been kind of coalescing and coming together for about a year and a half,” Okros said.

“This isn’t a luxury, this isn’t social engineering, this isn’t political manoeuvring or political correctness. This is now an operational requirement.”

Vance has since taken the unprecedented step of ordering the military to grow the percentage of female personnel to 25 per cent in the next decade, up from 15 per cent.

Recruiters are now launching targeted advertising campaigns and reaching out to women who previously expressed an interest in a military career but didn’t join.

Senior commanders, meanwhile, are reviewing everything from uniforms and ceremonies to food and religious accommodations to see whether they meet the requirements of a more diverse force.

Lamarre plans to speak Monday at a citizenship ceremony in Ottawa in hopes of explaining to new Canadians what he describes as “a tangible way in which they can serve their nation.”

And he hopes to sit down with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and other indigenous leaders to talk about ways to reach out and attract people from those communities.

Others within the military are getting in on the action too, with the head of the navy, Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, issuing a directive last week encouraging his sailors to attend Pride parades in uniform.

Vance is expected to issue a similar directive to the rest of the military in the coming days.

Not everyone agrees with what the military is doing, Lloyd acknowledged, including some of those who are already in uniform. But changing the face of the Forces isn’t just some feel-good exercise, he said.

“In order to be successful in the future, we need to be able to recruit from the entire population.”

There are other challenges to overcome besides convincing some current personnel of the importance of diversity.

The military is still trying to overcome years of bad headlines about the treatment of women and members of the LGBT community by adopting a zero-tolerance approach to sexual misconduct.

There has also been a historic lack of interest in the Forces by many ethnic communities, particularly those that trace their origins to countries where the military has a bad reputation.

And then there are the problems identified by auditor general Michael Ferguson last year, namely that the recruiting system is struggling with red tape and the effects of Conservative budget cuts.

Source: With wider search for soldiers, Canada’s military broadens horizons – The Globe and Mail

Canada’s top general launches push to recruit women

Military, RCMP, CSIS.001The Forces have struggled with increasing diversity for some time, as has the RCMP. The target of a one percent increase per year is ambitious; their annual employment equity report (available from the Library of Parliament) will allow public tracking of progress over the next few years:

Canada’s top general has set out to transform the military with a new effort to boost the number of women in the ranks.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff, revealed on Friday that he has given a directive to do what good intentions have so far failed to accomplish — get more women into the Canadian Armed Forces.

Vance said he has tasked Lt.-Gen. Christine Whitecross, the chief of military personnel, to boost the number of women in uniform by 1 per cent a year over the coming decade.

That would allow the military to meet its long-standing goal of having women make up 25 per cent of its members.

“I have asked Gen. Whitecross to increase the percentage, through retention and recruiting, . . . of women in the armed forces by 1 per cent a year over the next 10 years,” Vance told a defence conference on Friday.

“If we don’t make it a task, if I don’t give an order, it’s not going to get done. We can’t just hope that it happens. We’re going to try hard to meet our diversity targets the same way.”

Officials said later that Vance had given the directive on Wednesday during a meeting with Whitecross.

…But meeting the goal could be a challenge. There are some 15,000 women in uniform, making up 15 per cent of the regular and reserve forces.

In all, the defence department has about 66,000 full-time soldiers, short of its approved staffing level of 68,000, and about 21,000 reservists, well below its target of 27,000.

In the past, many women who joined the military were familiar with the organization, thanks either to family connections or past involvement with cadets, Leuprecht said. As the military now looks to recruit more women, it will have to broaden its appeal, he said.

Leuprecht also said that the armed forces must work to have women better represented in trades across the organization, rather than concentrated in areas such as logistics and medicine.

Vance made clear Friday that his efforts to diversify the ranks won’t stop with boosting the number of women.

“I’m also wanting to increase all manner of diversity in the armed forces to better reflect the Canadian public. It’s important. We are of the public,” Vance said.

Visible minorities currently make up 6.5 per cent of the armed forces, short of the goal of 11.8 per cent. Aboriginal peoples represent 2.5 per cent of those in uniform, shy of the goal of 3.4 per cent.

Military trying to cut recruitment targets for women despite expert’s report

Military, RCMP, CSIS.001RCMP envy (the RCMP successfully managed to negotiate lower targets). Declaring victory by changing the goalposts.

Seriously, there are particular challenges for both the Canadian Forces and the RCMP, but this approach only gives the impression that changing the targets is more important than improving recruitment and retention.

The above chart summarizes the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and CSIS. Only CSIS has a strong employment equity record, but the nature of their work, analogous to much policy work and IT makes it that much easier.

Interestingly, all three organizations do not post their reports. These have to be requested from the Library of Parliament (which is efficient in providing them):

The Canadian Armed Forces is now in consultations with Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission over how those targets are calculated in hopes they can be brought down to what the military argues are more realistic levels.

Lt.-Cmdr. Meghan Marsaw said in an email that the most recent consultations with ESDC and the human rights commission were held over the winter, though she couldn’t say when any new targets would be set “as further consultation is required both internally and externally.”

Documents obtained by the Citizen last year showed the Canadian Armed Forces wanting to cut the target for women from 25.1 per cent to 17.6 per cent. It also wanted to change the targets for visible minorities from 11.7 per cent to 8.2 per cent, and for aboriginals from 3.3 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

Military officials would not confirm whether those are still the proposed targets.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is currently conducting an audit of the Canadian Armed Forces to determine if the military is taking adequate action to increase diversity within the ranks. The commission regularly audits all federal departments and agencies.

Some have previously cautioned against cutting the targets for fear the Canadian Armed Forces will then scale back efforts to increase the number of women as well as visible minorities and aboriginals in uniform. They say the military should strive to represent the country’s demographic make-up.

However, others say that maintaining unrealistic targets could force the military to dilute recruiting standards. They also say it could draw away resources better put to other uses.

Military trying to cut recruitment targets for women despite expert’s report | Ottawa Citizen.