In 1998, Maclean’s wrote a four part series on sexual assaults in the Canadian military. Even though 16 years have gone by, the situation is still worrisome. On average, five members of the Canadian military are being sexually assaulted every day. Maclean’s (L’Actualité) published another piece on the topic last month.
Australia has also faced problems with sexual assault in their military. Last year, Australia’s Chief of Army, Lt. Gen. David Morrison, sent out a clear message to all the members of the military:
“Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this army. (…) If that does not suit you, then get out. You may find another employer where your attitude and behaviour is acceptable, but I doubt it. The same goes for those who think that toughness is built on humiliating others.”
Lt. Gen. David Morrison (full declaration : http://youtu.be/QaqpoeVgr8U)
Unfortunately, here in Canada, our Minister of National Defence isn’t ready to make such a blunt and effective statement. He’d rather blame other parties and play partisan games than address the real problem at hand :
“I have to point out to her that when the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake, my parliamentary secretary, introduced a legislation that would toughen the sentencing for sexual assault, kidnapping and murder, the New Democrats were the first ones on their feet opposing that. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Rob Nicholson, House of Commons, May 26th 2014
Conservatives pretend to be champions of victim rights, but they keep ignoring victims in the Canadian army. Canadians deserve more than a government that pushes back such important issues and delegates the important work to bureaucrats. Canadians deserve better.