April 25th, 2022
After years of ignored reports, action on systemic racism in Canada’s military long overdue
NDP Critic for National Defence, Lindsay Mathyssen made the following statement:
“Canadians deserves a military that makes all service members feel safe and respected, regardless of their race, culture or gender.
Today’s report only amplifies what many people of colour, women, 2SLGBTQI+ and Indigenous people within the military have been saying for decades: systemic racism and discrimination is rampant in our armed forces, and real action to address this is long overdue.
Both the Liberals and Conservatives have failed to make systemic changes as numerous stories of discrimination and rising extremism within the military have gone unchecked. In the past 20 years, 41 panels and 258 recommendations alerted the government on the gravity of the situation, but just like reports of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces, these calls for help were largely ignored. Service members and employees at the Department of Defence should not have to continue to wait for concrete steps to be taken to address systemic racism within the army ranks.
Today’s report is clear: for National Defence to become an inclusive organization, all members must be actively anti-racist, champion gender equality, and challenge the barriers to a more accessible environment. We expect these changes to be led from the top – the Minister must immediately act on the recommendations that have been put forward for the past 20 years.
New Democrats will push the government to act and will continue to fight for Canadians and a military that reflects the diversity of our country, where equity seeking service members feel safe, respected, and have equal access to positions of leadership.”