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Canadian Forces can’t sweep sexual assaults under the carpet, again

The military brass cannot have been surprised. Or, if they were, they were negligent. Statistics must be reported up the chain. They must certainly have heard—or perhaps dealt with—cases that never faced a formal charge.

The Hill Times photographs by Jake Wright
National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, right, immediately ordered an investigation into sexual assaults in the Forces. It could be said the internal review ordered by General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff, left, is a step in the right direction. But from years of experience with whistleblowers, Canadians for Accountability knows it likely isn’t. Such reviews are a standard organizational response to accusations of serious misconduct. They are intended as a whitewash from the start.

Two weeks ago, L’actualité, and its sister magazine, Maclean’s, broke a major story on sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The numbers were stunning: it estimated an average of five assaults every day. What was worse, the victims reported being intimidated into not making or dropping complaints, being harassed if they persisted, and assailants getting off scot-free. National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson immediately ordered an investigation. Senior officers claimed to be shocked by the report.

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Canadian Forces can’t sweep sexual assaults under the carpet, again

The military brass cannot have been surprised. Or, if they were, they were negligent. Statistics must be reported up the chain. They must certainly have heard—or perhaps dealt with—cases that never faced a formal charge.

The Hill Times photographs by Jake Wright
National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, right, immediately ordered an investigation into sexual assaults in the Forces. It could be said the internal review ordered by General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff, left, is a step in the right direction. But from years of experience with whistleblowers, Canadians for Accountability knows it likely isn’t. Such reviews are a standard organizational response to accusations of serious misconduct. They are intended as a whitewash from the start.

Two weeks ago, L’actualité, and its sister magazine, Maclean’s, broke a major story on sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The numbers were stunning: it estimated an average of five assaults every day. What was worse, the victims reported being intimidated into not making or dropping complaints, being harassed if they persisted, and assailants getting off scot-free. National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson immediately ordered an investigation. Senior officers claimed to be shocked by the report.

  

Parliamentary Calendar
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
HILL LIFE & PEOPLE SLIDESHOWS
Lobbyists, MPs get in on the ice bucket challenge for ALS Sept. 3, 2014

Photo courtesy Summa Strategies
The team at Summa Strategies took the ice bucket challenge last week at the Parliament Pub. Summa challenged board members from the Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC) to take it next. From left: intern John McHughan, vice-chairman Tim Powers, senior adviser Louis-Alexandre Lanthier, consultant Kate Harrison, vice-president Jim Armour, vice-president Robin MacLachlan, president Tracey Hubley, senior adviser Michele Austin, and consultant Angela Christiano.
The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
The Government Relations Institute of Canada board members take the ice bucket challenge.
The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
GRIC directors feel the chill.
The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
From left: GRIC president Andre Albinati, secretary Joanne Dobson, board members Kevin Desjardins and Alayne Crawford, treasurer Phil Cartwright, and board members Alex Maheu and Jason Kerr.
Photograph provided Hill and Knowlton Strategies
Health Minister Rona Ambrose gets in on the ice bucket challenge.
Photograph courtesy Hill and Knowlton Strategies
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
Photograph courtesy Hill and Knowlton Strategies
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

MICHAEL DE ADDER'S TAKE