I had a conversation with a lawyer a few days ago. Another one of these ex-JAG lawyer types.
I’ve had calls with these ex-JAG lawyers before. And this call, just like the others before it got off on the wrong foot.
See, Captain McRae was never supposed to have been given a courts martial for Gross Indecency, Indecent Assault, and Buggery. So, when someone like me calls up claiming that the military conducted a courts martial for a Captain charged with sexual crimes against children these ex-JAGs obviously think that I’m some fucking nut making bullshit claims against the Canadian Armed Forces.
And that’s more or less how this call went.
For the last eight years, all the way from Halifax N.S. to Victoria B.C., ex-JAG lawyers have basically given me the same brush off. Captain McRae could not have been prosecuted by Courts Martial as crimes such as rape, gross indecency, indecent assault, bugger, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference, etc, were ALWAYS handled by the civilian courts, never the military tribunals.
And previously, all I ever had was newspaper stories referring to the courts martial. I never had anything in concrete.
Well know I have a copy of CFSIU investigation report DS-120-10-80 which clearly states that Captain McRae appeared before a courts martial to answer for the charges of Gross Indecency, Indecent Assault, and Buggery.
I have Department of Justice paperwork that clearly referres to the courts martial of Captain Father Angus McRae.
I also have copies of back and forth communications between the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada referring to the courts martial of Captain Father Angus McRae.
I sent copies of some of these documents off to the lawyer.
These documents changed things.
The lawyer’s reply back was probably the most detailed and concise response that I’ve had to date.
The lawyer explained that criminal case notwithstanding, my ability to make a civil claim against the babysitter, Mr. P.S. actually expired long ago. Criminal code matters have no “statute of limitations”. Civil claims do. My legal guardians, acting on my behalf, would have had to initiate a civil claim against Mr. P.S. years ago. I could have possibly argued in court using my social service records as evidence that my guardians at the time were unfit and were not acting with my best interests in mind. But the time frame for that claim would have been 2011 to 2013.
So far as initiating a civil claim against the Minister of National Defence. The Crown Liability and Proceedings Act has a limitation period of 6 years.
This is why when Mr. P.S. sued the Minister of National Defence in 2001 he had to state in his claim that “due to counselling, he had just become aware of the effect the abuse had on his life”. By making that statement in his claim, Mr. P.S. reset the countdown timer to March of 2001.
In 2011, I became aware of the effect that the abuse at the hands of Mr. P.S., and possibly Captain McRae had on my life, and the psychological scarring that I suffered due to the forced conversion therapy I endured at the hands of Canadian Armed Forces officer Captain Terry Totzke in the period of 1980 to 1983. Therefore the time for me to bring an action against the Minister of National Defence expired in 2017.
The lawyer did mention that those members of the Canadian Forces who were suspected of being homosexual and who were subsequently booted out of the military during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s would have run out of time to file a civil action against the military long ago. Moreover, those members of the Canadian Forces who were suspected of being homosexual and who were subsequently booted out of the military prior to 1985 could never bring a Section 15 charter challenge against the Canadian Forces as the Charter did not exist prior to 1985. Even though the government could have blocked the lawsuit, it didn’t. The lawyer said that this was more than likely for political reasons.
The lawyer did mention that I could approach the MPCC and ask for a review of the current CFNIS investigation.
This I actually did last year and the review is ongoing. Remember though that during a review the MPCC does not have the power to subpoena documents, nor does it have the power to subpoena witnesses, nor can it administer oaths. The MPCC can only accept documents from the CFNIS. The MPCC cannot question the veracity of those documents. And if the statement of former MPCC chairman Glenn Stannard is to be believed, the MPCC has never been given access to the policy guidelines or manuals that govern to operation of the Canadian Military Police Group and therefore the MPCC has no idea of the documents that it should be requesting.
Because of the shortcomings of an MPCC review, I did request that the MPCC conduct and inquiry into the CFNIS investigation. The MPCC declined this request.
It should be noted that the Deputy Commander, Colonel Martin Laflamme, of the Canadian Forces Military Police Group / Professional Standards refused to conduct a review as requested. In his reasoning for directing that no review be undertaken, Mr. Laflamme leans heavily upon the flawed 2011 MPCC review. The initial 2011 MPCC review found in favour of the CFNIS. However, bear in mind that I was unable to view any of the documentation that was supplied to the MPCC by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal until AFTER the MPCC had reached its decision.
An interesting thing about Mr. Laflamme’s response to me is that my complaint was far more than just a complaint about a “verbal debrief”.
The lawyer suggested approaching the Canadian Forces Ombudsman. The lawyer did mention something that I’ve been aware of since 2012, and that is that the Ombudsman cannot review anything that occurred prior to 1998. 1998 is the date that the Canadian Forces Ombudsman was created. The lawyer explained that the Office of the CF Ombudsman was created by ministerial authority and not by statute like the Military Police Complaints Commission.
The Military Police Complaints Commission is unable to review any military police investigation that occurred prior to 1998. This I believe is for a few reasons. The first reason is that the MPCC was created in 1998. The second reason is the existence of both the “Summary Investigation Flaw” and the “3-year time bar flaw”. The third reason is that the military justice system as it was before the reforms of 1998 via Bill C-25 was so broken that the MPCC would be eternally bogged down reviewing each and every questionable decision made by the pre-1998 military justice system.
How broken was the military justice system prior to 1998? Look no further than the Somalia fiasco. Or look at the Captain Father Angus McRae fiasco. Same broken justice system.
The Minister of National Defence can request that the CF Ombudsman look into matters that occurred prior to 1998, but there are limitations to what the Ombudsman can do.
For example, the Ombudsman cannot investigate the military police or the military justice system. However, the Ombudsman could look at tangential issues.
I have contacted the Office of the CF Ombudsman numerous times since 2012, the most recent being June 22, 2019.
My complaint involves the Canadian Forces Military Police and the Canadian Forces Special Investigations Unit, therefore it cannot be looked at by the CF Ombudsman (nor by the MPCC for that matter). However, as the lawyer inferred, and as Mr. Lick has stated, the Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, has always had the authority to request that the CF Ombudsman review any pre-mandate matter.
The problem with Harjit Sajjan is though, he was a career soldier. He’s not going to shit in the bed that he sleeps in considering that his military career launched his political career.
The CF Ombudsman is appointed by the Minister of National Defence. The Minister therefore may be inclined to appoint an Ombudsman whose ideology aligns with that of the Minister.
In 2013 the Ombudsman received numerous complaints about the 1974 Valcartier grenade incident in which 6 teenagers were killed and 62 more were injured due to the negligence of a member of the Canadian Armed Forces who allowed a live grenade to be handled by teenagers. The Minister of National Defence at the time was Rob Nicholson. Mr. Nicholson requested the CF Ombudsman review this matter, even though the matter fell far outside the legal mandate of the CF Ombudsman.
I have no doubt in my mind that the only reason why Mr. Nicholson called on the CF Ombudsman to review the Valcartier cadet matter is that Mr. Nicholson had no tangible connection to the Canadian Armed Forces.
The CF Ombudsman noted that the cadets fell into a “legal void”. As they weren’t members of the Regular Forces, and as they weren’t civilian employees, they were unable to receive any matter of compensation from the Canadian Forces or the Federal Government. What the CF Ombudsman found most alarming is that the members of the Canadian Forces who were wholly responsible for this incident did in fact receive compensation for their injuries related to this event.
The entire Ombudsman’s report can be downloaded here:
So, where does this leave me, or any other person who as a child was sexually abused on a military base in Canada?
Going through the courts would be an obvious waste of time. The Crown Liabilities and Proceedings Act pretty well slams the door shut. The fact that the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence have no culpability for anyone who was injured on a Defence Establishment if that person was not a civilian employee or a member of either the Regular force or the Reserve force also places any type of civil action outside the realm of possibility. I think that the inability to bring any manner of legal action against DND or the Government of Canada is the primary reason why child sexual abuse on the bases in Canada has been unheard of to date.
It’s not that child sexual abuse didn’t occur, it’s that the courts offer absolutely no remedy. Don’t forget, Mr. P.S. setteled with the Minister of National Defence. There was no court award. There never could be a court award. However, the Department of National Defence and the Department of Justice felt that it was better to settle with Mr. P.S. than to risk the public humilation of a trial where all of these shortcomings would be aired in public.
What would the public think if it became public knowledge that Angus Alexander McRae could not be sued by Mr. P.S. as Mr. McRae was an employee of the Department of National Defence at the time?
What would the public think if it became public knowledge that the Department of National Defence could not be sued for the actions of one of its employees which occured in military housing on a military base?
So a settlement was reached, DND admitted no guilt, Mr. P.S. walked away with some cash, and everything went away.
Public attention is about the only way that the Government of Canada or the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence are ever going to be coerced into owning up to what happened.
The real question is, will the media get on board, or will the media sit back and wait for the Minister of National Defence or one of their minions to announce that there was in fact a problem?