November 1st, 2018
Almost One Year Later, Liberals Refuse to Revise Service Records for LGBTQ2+ People Kicked out of the Military
OTTAWA – Nearly a year after the Prime Minister’s official apology to the LGBTQ2+ community in the House of Commons, the Department of National Defence is saying they will not remove dishonourable discharges for those who were kicked out of the military because they were LGBTQ2+. Instead of a record revision, a note will be placed on these records stating that any previous notes were inappropriate.
“Nearly a year ago the Prime Minister stood in this House and apologized for the historic injustices suffered by the LGBTQ2+ community. This included an apology to the hundreds of members of my community who were kicked out of the Canadian Forces with dishonourable discharges,” said NDP Defence Critic, Randall Garrison. “Now, the government is refusing to revise service records of those kicked out to reflect their honourable service. Offering compensation through the class action law suit is fine, but this is more than a question of money to LGBTQ2+ veterans.”
The NDP believes that these men and women deserve more than a note on their files. The revision of service records is the most important symbol of action on the Prime Minister’s apology for both the LGBTQ2+ community and the broader veterans’ community. In October 2016, the Standing Committee on National Defence passed a unanimous motion calling on the Minister of Defence to revise these service records, and the Military Ombudsman stated clearly that his office has both the expertise and resources to revise service records. When asked in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister failed to answer why he would not correct these records once and for all.
“Enough is enough. If this government is serious about correcting the historical wrongs faced by the LGBTQ2+ community it needs to listen to what community members have called for and right these wrongs,” added Garrison. “A dishonourable discharge with a note is still a dishonourable discharge.”