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 worth repeating.
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]
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.