So, it turns out that Minister Sajjan not only refused to allow the Canadian Forces Ombudsman to investigate complaints against General Jonathan Vance, but Sajjan also started to avoid communication with the Office of the Ombudsman.
What is really disappointing about this whole sad affair is that it illustrates how much power is concentrated in the hands of the Minister of National Defence.
The Government of Canada often trumpets the “independence” of the Canadian Forces Ombudsman, however it’s becoming readily apparent that the Ombudsman is under the direct control of the Minister of National Defence.
The rules that govern the operation of the Canadian Forces Ombudsman can be found here:
The Ombudsman may be independent of the chain of command and the management within the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence, but they are firmly on the leash of the Minister of National Defence.
The Ombudsman acts solely on the Minister’s behalf and reports directly to and is accountable to the Minister of National Defence.
This is the same Minister of National Defence that seems to have an intense desire to hide and bury any type of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Forces. As I said in a previous posting, we’re very lucky that Sajjan wasn’t the Minister of National Defence when Stephanie Raymonde went public with her matter in 2014. I don’t think that Sajjan would have acknowledged the matter nor would Sajjan have called for an Independent Review as was conducted by Madame Marie Deschamps.
How are investigations by the Canadian Forces Ombudsman commenced?
According to Section 4(a), the Minister of National Defence can give a written directive to the Canadian Forces Ombudsman. This would be similar to when the former cadets from the grenade incident at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier asked former conservative Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson to look at their issue even though the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence had no legal obligation to these former cadets.
According to Section 4(b), the Ombudsman can undertake an investigation AFTER informing the Minister of National Defence of their intention to do so. And as we’ve heard recently, Minister Sajjan would not allow the former Canadian Forces Ombudsman to look into allegation made against former Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance. Minister Sajjan would also not authorize the Canadian Forces Ombudsman to review the matters surrounding the 1980 court martial of Canadian Forces officer and serial child molester Captain Father Angus McRae.
What are the difference between Nicholson and Sajjan?
Nicholson was a lawyer before he entered politics. Nicholson had absolutely no connection to the Canadian Armed Forces and therefore in the matter of the grenade incident Nicholson would have been more inclined to do what was right as opposed to lifting the corner of the carpet and sweeping things under.
Sajjan on the other hand has been involved with the Canadian Forces since back in the early ’90s. He was also a member of the Vancouver Police Department. The VPD were the police department that allowed the Pickton murders to occur due to their absolute lack of concern for the women who were going missing from the downtown east side. I was a victim of a mugging in ’95. The VPD officer that was investigating the matter was sure that I was to blame as I must have been trying to pick a guy up. It’s not far fetched to say that police in general have a very wary eye towards “victims” and treat them as part of the problem.
Sajjan was also a member of the Canadian Forces reserves and did numerous tours overseas in the ’90s and ’00s. He’s a military man through and through. And if there’s one thing that Sajjan is not going to do is he’s not going to shit in the bed that he sleeps in. Men like Sajjan are the reason why the military justice system progressively went off the rails right from the work go back in the ’50s when Canada had it’s first National Defence Act which allowed for the military police and the CFSIU to look after criminal matter “in-house”. It took the murder and subsequent cover up of Shidone Arone in Somalia to expose just how corrupt the military justice system was. It wasn’t that the military justice system was inherently evil. It’s that the military justice system was being administered by men who (a) didn’t want to rock the boat, (b) didn’t want to be the one to piss on the Canadian Forces, and (c) didn’t want questions asked about their leadership abilities.
“That Lonely Section Of Hell” is a book by former VPD detective Lori Shenher. In this book she describes the toxic environment that existed within the Vancouver Police Department during the 1990s and into the 2000’s.
“The Somalia Experience in Strategic Perspective : Implications for the Military in a Free and Democratic Society” and “Independence in the Prosecution of Offences in the Canadian Forces : Military Policing and Prosecutorial Discretion” are two books that are required reading if one wishes to understand just how dysfunctional the military justice system was during the lead up to the Somalia fiasco.
So, who can avail themselves to the Canadian Forces Ombudsman?
Under section 12 (f), I have the right to make a complaint to the Canadian Forces Ombudsman. My father was a member of the Regular force at the time of the Captain McRae child sexual abuse fiasco on CFB Namao. We lived in housing on a Defence Establishment which at the time of the fiasco was directly owned and administered by the Department of National Defence. Access to this Defence Establishment was controlled and limited to persons subject to the Code of Service Discipline or their guests. Captain Father Angus McRae was a member of the Regular Force and was also residing on the Defence Establishment in housing provided to him by the Canadian Forces. Security and policing services were also provided by persons subject to the Code of Service Discipline. And finally the prosecution of Captain McRae was also conducted by persons subject to the Code of Service Discipline.
Of course, there are limitations to what the Ombudsman can investigate:
Section 14 (a), section 14(b), and section 14(e) would all seem to indicate that the Ombudsman could not investigate what occurred on Canadian Forces Base Namao between May12th, 1980 and July 18th, 1980.
However, I haven’t asked the Ombudsman to redo the investigation of Captain Father Angus McRae that commenced on May 12th 1980 at the request of base security officer Captain David Pilling. Nor have I asked the Ombudsman to reopen the court martial of Captain Father Angus McRae.
We know that the Canadian Forces knew that Captain McRae was molesting numerous children on the base at the rectory and that he was using alcohol to do so. We also know that Captain McRae abused and groomed his altar boy P.S. and was using P.S. to bring younger children over to the chapel for McRae to abuse.
What I have asked the Canadian Forces Ombudsman to investigate is how the decision to prosecute Captain Father Angus McRae for “acts of homosexuality” may have negatively affected the lives of his victims. I know this fixation on “homosexuality” is why I spent 1-1/2 years receiving “conversion therapy” at the hands of the Canadian Forces social worker that I was placed under the care of when I was 9 years old. I also asked the Canadian Forces Ombudsman to look at how the sweeping of the victims under the rug would have also affected the lives of the victims. None of these asks would have run afoul of 14(a) and 14(b).
14(e) isn’t a signifiant issue to overcome either. In 2010 Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson asked the CF Ombudsman to review the 1974 CFB Valcartier Grenade incident even though the event occurred 24 years before the date specified in 14(e) and legally the Canadian Armed Forces was not responsible for these children on a Defence Establishment.
So, why doesn’t Harjit Sajjan want the Canadian Forces Ombudsman to review the 1980 investigation and court martial of Canadian Armed Forces officer Captain Father Angus McRae?
I think that Sajjan doesn’t want the Canadian public to discover that children living on Canadian Forces bases were not safe from child predators wearing the uniform of the Canadian Forces. I also think that Sajjan doesn’t want the Canadian public to discover just how truly horrifically flawed and out of control the military justice system was. Sajjan more than likely doesn’t want the Canadian public to know that male children living on the bases who were sexually abused by members of the Canadian Forces were considered to be “homosexual” and were given counselling by the military. Sajjan probably also doesn’t want the Canadian public to find out that some people committed suicide due to the way the military handled this matter. And more importantly, Sajjan doesn’t want other childhood victims coming forward with their tales of abuse at the hands of Canadian Forces personnel on the various different bases in Canada.
Right now, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence have been able to keep a very tight lid on this. However, if the Ombudsman conducts one publicized investigation, I have no doubt that this will lead to far many more complaints. And more complaints leads to civil actions. And this will not do.
Think back to the matter of Donald Jospeh Sullivan who in late 2019 was convicted and sentenced to court for molesting boys in the Ottawa area in the 1970s when he was involved with Scouts Canada. Donald was under investigation by the Ottawa Police Service in the ’70s after the OPS started to receive complaints. Donald disappeared. The OPS couldn’t find him. Turns out that Donald Joseph Sullivan had enlisted into the Canadian Armed Forces. That’s how low the bar was for the Canadian Armed Forces. The Canadian Armed Forces were hiring people that were the subject of police investigations. Sure, the Canadian Armed Forces more than likely had no idea that they were hiring a child molester. But still, there obviously wasn’t that deep of a back ground check performed. How many other men slipped into the military like Sullivan only to find themselves with easy access to children. Children that moved from base to base frequently. Children that weren’t likely to say anything least they be seen as liars or troublemakers.
Child sexual abuse in th Canadian Armed Forces is a matter that the Canadian Forces Ombudsman should be able to investigate.
The fact that Sajjan won’t allow the Ombudsman to do so speaks volumes about what is already known in the halls of 101 Colonel By Drive.