|Commodore Craig Baines, RCN|
was stood up in July 2014 in response to a small number of RCN personnel failing to meet the Navy’s expectations for personal conduct. Given that the actions of officers and sailors reflect not just upon the individual and the unit, but upon the RCN and the nation as a whole, the Internal Review of Personal Conduct was initiated to review the policies and procedures that underpin the deck-plate leadership of the RCN to ensure that the right level of effort and focus was being directed in this area.
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9. The key recommendations of the IRT [Internal Review Team] are as follows:
a. Establish an RCN Code of Conduct that is enshrined in a Naval Order (NAVORD), which will form the basis for a sustained focus on expectations for RCN personal conduct and become part of RCN doctrine;
b. Execute a Communications Strategy that reinforces the RCN Code of Conduct through a deliberate and ongoing awareness campaign;
c. Develop Personal Conduct modules for the Naval Training System;
d. Institutionalize the teaching of the Divisional System (embedded within the RCN Code of Conduct) at the Naval Officer Training Centre (NOTC) and in the other RCN schools;
e. Institutionalize reinforcement of RCN personal conduct expectations through ship and school in-routine processes;
f. Develop a First Night Protocol for ships/submarines; and
g. Include a Personal Conduct module in Command Team training.
10. In addition, the IRT Lead recommends the following regarding alcohol management:
a. That consideration be given to banning the consumption of alcohol while ships are at sea, (except in special circumstances that would be authorized through specific Navy policies, such as when the ship is at anchor or for special/ceremonial occasions);
b. The practice of allowing individuals to access alcohol while alongside or at sea without a “server” being in the loop be discontinued; and
c. Alcohol prices onboard ship be raised to more closely reflect the amounts charged in messes in Navy shore establishments in Halifax and Esquimalt, and that a pan-Navy pricing system be adopted. [Emphasis added.]The recommendations in ¶ 10 have received considerable attention in the media. The Associated Press reports:
Last July, HMCS Whitehorse cut short its deployment and returned to its home port in Esquimalt, British Columbia, after some crew members were accused of sexual misconduct, shoplifting and drunkenness. Three incidents are in various stages of being dealt with through the military justice system, including a planned court martial of the sailor accused of sexual assault.
Vice Admiral Mark Norman agreed with the recommendations, saying the actions of sailors, at home and abroad, reflect on the navy and the nation as a whole. Unlike their U.S. counterparts who serve on completely dry ships, off-duty Canadian sailors have been free to purchase beer or wine, including from soda machine-style dispensers.
Those are being removed as part of the reforms, which Norman acknowledged might not be popular, but necessary.
"I have no doubt there will be some folks who see this as negative, but I have great confidence based on broad consultations through all ranks of the navy that this will be seen as a positive, measured and progressive step," he said.
The alternative, Norman said, was to go the U.S. route and ban booze entirely.