In May 2021, the Honorable
Louise Arbour, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, was mandated to
examine two key issues: sexual misconduct and leadership in the
Canadian Armed Forces. During the course of her study, Justice Arbour conducted
over 115 interviews of senior members of the Defence Team and other government
officials. She also visited a number of defence establishments including but not
limited to Royal Military College (meeting with over 330 people) and recruiting schools
(meeting with 155 people). She also held town hall meetings and held focus
group sessions with junior and senior officers as well and non-commissioned members
on a number of CAF bases.
In May 2022, she
provided her final report to the Minister of National Defence and senior defence and military leaders. Her report contained a total of 48
recommendations, most of which serving to eradicate sexual misconduct in the
CAF. However, she also made specific recommendations pertaining to the future
of the Royal Military College. I will be returning to this point later.
Justice Arbour’s parting words in her report are
The CAF and the DND have an opportunity to take a major, decisive step
in the creation of a safe, secure, equitable working environment, not only for
women, but for the many others long left out of the profession of arms despite
their desire and ability to serve.
As challenging as it is,
this organization must demonstrate enough humility to accept external help
and open itself to the outside world. [My emphasis]
Meaningful change will rest
on the political will and determination of the civilians who oversee the CAF. Still, it will not happen without the support of CAF
leaders and, ultimately, the goodwill of all its members who are, every day,
entrusted with the duty to protect our country, and who do so on our behalf. [My emphasis]
ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE (RMC) – THE WAY AHEAD
In response to the various recommendations made by Justice Arbour about the operation of the Royal Military College, attached is an
article titled "A changing role for the RMC" published in the January 2023 issue of Esprit de Corps military magazine
written by Michel W. Drapeau and Joshua M. Juneau. This article is recommending
reforms to role and structure of the Royal Military College. Specifically, it recommends that the role of the RMC be re-engineered as a national training institution for graduate strategic and defence studies .
OTHER ACTIONS TAKEN DURING PAST EIGHT MONTHS BY AUTHORITIES
- There is no discernable action taken so
far by the CAF/DND to address any of Justice Arbour’s recommendations.
There is no discernable action taken
so far by the Canadian parliament to address any of Justice Arbour’s