Friday, May 17, 2019

The Media

On thing that seems to work in the favour of the Canadian Armed Forces is the almost universal disinterest that the media in Canada has shown towards the issue of child sexual abuse within the defence community.

The one thing I hear over and over again from the media is that if there was a problem with child sexual abuse in the Canadian Armed Forces, the public would have heard about it by now.

All I can say is that you have to look at how the Canadian Armed Forces was able to hide the sexual abuse of their female soldiers from the Canadian public for so long.

The Department of National Defence enjoys a very unique position in Canadian society. The Defence Establishment Trespass Regulations places military bases, including the private married quarters off limits to the general public, including the media. Active members of the Canadian Forces require permission from their respective chain of command before they may talk to the public, and then at that they may only discuss what they have been allowed to discuss.

Yes, in theory, court martial hearings are open to the public. However, these hearings occur on Defence Establishments from which the public and the media can be barred.

The Canadian Forces can move court martial hearings "in camera" at will with almost nothing for public oversight.

The National Defence Act and the Queen's Regulations and Orders place the military and its personnel outside of the civilian criminal justice system. Technically, yes, the civilian police have concurrent jurisdiction with the military police / CFNIS, however that only works if the military police / CFNIS invite the civilian authorities on to a Defence Establishment.

The Security of Information Act restricts what current members and former members may or may not disclose. You would think that this Act would only apply to top secret materials and information, however it applies to "ANY information a person subject to the Code of Service Discipline became aware of while on a Defence Establishment"

So far as the jurisdiction of the military police and the CFNIS go, the National Defence Act is very vague and grey. The National Defence Act gives a very detailed definition of who the military police have jurisdiction over, but at the same time the National Defence Act also does not set firm boundaries as to who the National Defence Act does not apply to. Hence why the CFNIS think they can investigate a 30 year old matter of child sexual abuse when they wouldn't even have the legal authority to arrest the person they are investigating. They would have to enlist the services of the local civilian police to effect the arrest.

The pre-1998 National Defence Act places a 3-year time bar on ALL service offences, which also include criminal code indictable offences such as gross indecency, indecent assault, and buggery. This 3-year time bar does not exist in the civilian world. If a civilian school teacher molested a civilian child back in the '60s and the molested child came forward with a complaint today, as long as the evidence was good, the teacher could be arrested, charged, and possibly convicted. However, if a child was molested on a military base by a person subject to the Code of Service Discipline prior to December of 1998, unless that molested child made a complaint and the charges went to a tribunal within 3-years of the date of the offence, the abuser could never be charged.

Or, if prior to November of 1997, the commanding officer of the accused had dismissed the charges brought against their subordinate, those charges could never be brought against the accused at a later date either.

How many people over the years have had CFSIU / CFNIS "play" investigations conducted into their complaints. And by "play" I mean an investigation that the CFSIU / CFNIS knew would never result in any type of charges or convictions, but was designed as a theatrical "play" to give the victim the illusion that the military justice system was taking their complaint serious when the military justice system knew full well that they could never bring charges?

Look no further than the Brigadier General Roger Bazin issue back in 2010.

You would have thought that someone in the media would have simply asked back in May of 2015 when Madame Marie Deschamps released her report that pilloried the military police and the CFNIS for their inability to properly investigate sexual assault, who was investigating child sexual abuse on the bases and how could the CFNIS / military police be competent to investigate these issues?



So, with all of these smoking fires, you'd think that someone in the media would have had a eureka moment and said to themselves "something smells a little smokey here, there must be a fire somewhere".

Nope.

The media wants me to come forth with more victims. I don't know where they are. There's no central database of military dependants. There's not central repository of service charges that were dismissed or dropped due to either the 3-year time bar or commanding officers dropping charges. The media itself would have to go digging and overturn stones. Or more than likely, the media would have to make open appeals for victims to come forward.


And I have had other victims of military child sexual abuse come forward. One of these victims was a male from CFB Namao who was abused by both master P.S., and Canadian Armed Forces officer Captain Father Angus McRae. He was supposed to be interviewed by CBC Go Public as I had been. However, he asked that his identity be concealed as he didn't want the public to know that he had been sexually abused on base. Yes, the stigma of being sexually abused on a military base is that powerful, especially for males. CBC Go Public wanted to record him and then blur his face and distort his voice after. This is not what had been agreed to. Another victim of child sexual abuse on a military base had been contacted by the media. But from what I was told by this other victim is that the person she was speaking to really wasn't interested in the sexual abuse, but was more fascinated by what it was like to grow up on a military base. The CBC Go Public story fell apart when a new reporter was assigned to the story. This reporter wanted to scrap the video interviews and all of the work of the previous reporter and instead wanted to make an "interactive" time-line that web visitors could click on if they were interested in learning about military life. This Go Public reporter was a lost cause. Couldn't program her voice mail. When I had received word from Canadian Forces Defence Committee Vice Co-Chair Randall Garrison that Lieutenant General Christine Whitecross had stated on the record and in front of the committee that matters involving child sexual abuse are always handed off to the outside civilian authorities, I tried to contact this new reporter to let her know about this. It took over 3 weeks to get hold of her. And she was working on a different story now, but she might be able to get back to mine in 6 months to a year.

And to be fair to CBC Go Public, they're not the only ones to have gotten cold feet.
CBC News had no interest.
The Edmonton Journal had not interest.
Global News had no interest.
Global 16X9 had no interest.
CTV News had no interest.
CTV W5 has no interest.
The Toronto Star has no interest.
Esprit De Corps had no interest.
The Ottawa Citizen has no interest.

And as long as the media in this country show little to no interest, the Canadian Forces don't have to worry.
And as long as the media in this country show little to no interest, former military dependants are just going to keep their dirty secrets to themselves.