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Opinion

Canadian Forces culture in desperate need of change

By Sean Bruyea      

Ultimately, politicians and the public must force change. The removal of incompetent and inept leaders perpetuating a culture of persecution, impunity and intransigence is a start. Then, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promised openness and transparency can begin. Without transparency and openness, the military and Canada will fail to keep faith with those who have got our six.

Thirty years and countless CF sexual abuse cases of women and men later, current Chief of Defence Staff Johnathan Vance has declared 'This stops now.' He established a harassment reporting hotline. But so far in 2016, complaints of sexual misconduct have risen 22 per cent over 2015. CF culture appears incapable of change over three decades, writes Sean Bruyea. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

OTTAWA—“Got your six” also means “I’ve got your back.” It is the cultural bedrock of how military members look after each other. Canadian Forces members, veterans, and other Canadians increasingly perceive senior military ranks and the federal bureaucracy as defending the institution and their own careers rather than caring for military members and veterans in need of assistance and protection. This deteriorating situation can change.

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