Saturday, September 18, 2021

What is the real source of outrage about General Vance (retired)?

Recently, there have been a series of reports in the Canadian news media regarding General Jonathan Vance (retired) and both his 'first appearance' in the Ontario Court of Justice to respond to a charge of 'Obstruct Justice' contrary to subsection 139(2) of the Criminal Code, and to the revelation that he will not be charged under the Code of Service Discipline.

Some of that reporting has been - shall we say - sensationalist in nature.

Some people have also bemoaned the state of the Code of Service Discipline - "Look", they cry, "it cannot even be used to prosecute the most senior member!"

But, if the Code of Service Discipline is intended to be used by the leadership of the Canadian Forces to maintain the discipline, efficiency, and morale of the armed forces, ought we expect that it would be used to prosecute the officers at the apex of the armed forces?  If the Chief of the Defence Staff - a senior and experienced officer with significant public responsibilities - demonstrates bad judgement or unethical behaviour, ought our foremost concern be whether a mechanism can 're-instill the habit of obedience'?  Or is the real issue whether that officer should be CDS?

The nature of recent reporting on this issue, and potential answers to those questions are offered here:  What is the real source of outrage about General Vance (retired)?

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