The media in this country is a fickle beast of sorts.
I realize that media consolidation is a major factor. Back in the good ol’ days, every newspaper practically had it’s own editorial board that would decide what stories to investigate and what stories to pass on. But now with media consolidation, one editor can determine the editorial content of a hundred or so newspapers all in one go.
And that type of control also affects competition. If you know that your competitors aren’t going to run a particular story, then why should you. If your job is to push “infotainment” and to give the readers / viewers what they want, then give ’em lots of tits and ass. The public loves T&A. T&A moves newspapers. If your competitors are giving the public T&A stories and all of the other hollywood fluff, then why shouldn’t you?
Besides, most news rooms in this country run on skeleton crews. It’s no longer like it was back in the ’70s or ’80s, or even as recently at the ’00s. News wire services are where it’s at now. That’s one of the reason why American celebrity coverage has become so abundant in Canadian media. It’s what the news wire services are running. Why spend money on an investigative team, when you can simply buy pre-formatted news articles from a wire service?
If I were to call up the media and tell them that I was the bastard love child of some rich hollywood actor, the media would jump all over this in a heart beat with the absolute minimal requirement for proof.
Yet, when it comes to the Canadian Armed Forces, the media in this country love to run protective defence for the military.
No matter how many scandals the Canadian Forces are involved with, the media won’t touch the Canadian Forces when it comes to the topic of child sexual abuse. It’s like the Canadian Forces get a free pass from the media.
We’ve known since the mid ’90s that the Canadian Armed Forces had a major problem with sexual assaults against women.
We’ve known since the mid ’90s that the Canadian Armed Forces disciplinary system has had major issues that required an Act to be passed in Parliament to partially remedy.
We know that the 3-year-time-bar and the Summary-Investigation-Flaw still affect victims of military child sexual abuse to this day.
We’ve known since the early ’80s that the Catholic Church was having significant problems with kiddie diddling priests. According to Court Martial Appeal Court records and other public documents, the Canadian Armed Forces also seem to have been having a problem with their catholic clergy.
We’ve know since 2010 that according to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal that the Canadian Forces have a “disturbingly higher incidence of sexual crimes involving children”.
We’ve know since 2014 that according to the findings of the External Review conducted by retired Supreme Court justice Madame Marie Deschamps, that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service didn’t have the training or the experience to properly investigate sexual assaults.
We’ve also know since the release of the findings of the Fynnes Inquiry that the CFNIS investigators are not independent of the chain of command and that the CFNIS investigators do not own their own investigations and that every step that a CFNIS investigator takes must be vetted by the chain of command and that this chain of command often does not have any legal training or any experience with the topic at hand.
We’ve known since May of 2000 that the Canadian Forces have acknowledged that the military community had a significant problem with the abuse of female spouses by serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
We’ve even known since 2011 that the Canadian Forces willingly denied benefits and compensation to a group of 13 to 18 year old army cadets who were killed and injured due to the negligence of a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. In fact, according to news reports, the Canadian Forces seemed hellbent on blaming the kids for sneaking the grenade into the barracks.
And yet the media shows absolutely no interest in child sexual abuse within the defence community.
The media seem to think that because I was a military dependant, that I have every other military dependant on speed dial and therefore I can just get 20 or 30 other people to call in with their tales of abuse.
The media seems to think that there is some sort of agency that tracks and looks after former military dependants.
With the CFNIS grabbing all of the investigations from the various civilian agencies and the RCMP, there’s going to be no independent agency that can say they’ve noticed a problem.
I wish I had more time to dedicate to this matter, but with work and my social life keeping me occupied, I just don’t have the time to “pitch” this to the media.
Maybe one of the issues that I’m running into is that I don’t fit the preconceived notion of what the media believes that a victim of military child sexual abuse and conversion therapy should look like. I guess the fact that I’m not an alcoholic, that I don’t have a crack problem, and that I don’t have an unstable employment history means that there is no way that I could have endured what I said that I endured. And this obviously sets off the B.S. alarms in the media. Because everyone knows that a victim of military child sexual abuse and military conversion therapy could never have a functional life, right?
I’m also well aware that the media suffer from “Major Dad” syndrome. Most reporters these days grew up watching Major Dad back in the ’80s and use that TV show to form their thoughts on what life was like on a military base for a military dependant.
As the headline says, today I received the official word from Global News that there is no interest in pursuing our story.
If I had to surmise why this is such a difficult story for the media to cover, I would have to say that it’s the ignorance that is inherent in the media.
The media for the most part are “Book smart and street dumb”.
The current reporter wouldn’t be the first one to state to me that if there had been a problem in the Canadian Forces, they would have heard about it by now.
We know for a fact that the Canadian Forces has had some rather dubious characters in its employ: Colonel Russell Williams; Brigadier General Roger Bazin; Captain Father Angus McRae; Corporal Donald Joseph Sullivan; Blackmore; Private Buckland; Private Clabby; Corporal Ryan; 2nd Lt. Sheehy-Tremblay; Seaman Mitchell; Corporal Turner; The gang from Somalia; And many, many more. But these were the ones that weren’t quietly swept out of the military.
We also know from the report released by Colonel Tim Grubb in the aftermath of the Colonel Russell Williams fiasco that the review conducted by the Provost Marshal found a “disturbingly higher” incidence of child sex abuse in the defence community”
I asked the reporter I was most recently involved with if Colonel Tim Grubb’s report, along with the 3-year time bar, and the Summary Investigation flaw caused him to have any concerns. He said that he couldn’t see how these were related to one another.
The reporter that I most recently dealt with says that he recently filed an FOI request with DND asking DND how many members of the Canadian Forces were charged with child abuse.
Child abuse is not a crime. No, really, it’s not. And I don’t mean that it’s legal to abuse children. There is no Criminal Code offence called “Child Abuse”. So of course, DND is going to respond that it could find no records.
I told this reporter many times over that if he wanted to look for criminal convictions that he’d have to look for these charges using very specific terms such as “151 – Sexual Interference, 152 – Invitation to Sexual Touching, 153 – Sexual Exploitation” for crimes that occurred after 1985, and Gross Indecency, Indecent Assault, and Buggery for sexual crimes that occurred prior to 1985.
And even at that, DND didn’t start maintaining a database of offences until the early 2000’s. This means that if you wanted to look for sexual crimes committed against children prior to 1998, you’d have to search through every service member’s file held at the Library and Archives Canada. To do so though, you’d need the permission of either the service member or the service member’s next of kin if the service member has been deceased for less than 20 years.
And I know that DND is very deceitful with the information that it releases. Back in 2018 I filed an ATI with DND ” how many cases of child sexual abuse occurred pre-1998 and were brought to the attention of the CFNIS/MP/CFPM port-1998 and declined prosecution due to the 3-year time bar”. DND fought me on this first arguing that this would require them to create new records which they weren’t obligated to. The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada became involved and DND finally released the information I requested. Or so it appeared. What clued me off that something was amiss was that CFNIS investigation GO 2011-5754 was absent from the release of documents. GO 2011-5754 was my complaint against P.S. that I filed in March of 2011.
What I did realize quickly is that DND had released to me a list of “Sexual Assaults”. Sexual Assault is a unique Criminal Code offence that does not include “Indecent Assault”, “Gross Indecency”, “Buggery”, “Sexual Interference”, “Invitation to Sexual Touching”, and “Sexual Exploitation”.
This is something that the media in Canada just can’t seem to wrap their heads around. The media seems to equate “no records can be found” with “no crimes were ever committed”.
I suggested to this reporter that if he really wanted to see just how big of a problem sexual crimes committed against children had been back in the days prior to 1998 that Global perhaps run some spots during its nightly news broadcasts asking viewers to call in to Global to report if they were ever the victim of child sexual abuse on a Canadian Forces Base. This doesn’t accuse the Canadian Forces or anyone with the Canadian Forces of having committed anything. It’s just a request for victims to come forward. Once the victims come forward, then you listen to their stories. Once you have their stories, then you pick a common theme. Once you have that common theme, then you start hammering away on DND until DND owns up to the skeletons in their closet.
Sitting around on your arse, waiting for the Minister of National Defence or the Chief of Defence Staff to come forward and say “Hey look, we had a problem, we fucked up”, is going to waste a lot of time.
If you want an organization like DND to respond, you need to crank up the heat and make it uncomfortable for them.
The media also seems to equate the lack of victims willing to go on record as an indication of their honesty. Many former brats that I’ve spoken to, whom came from dysfunctional families on base, are for the most part terrified of saying anything against the Canadian Forces. Then there are the brats who are terrified of saying anything out of fear of some of the members of the base brat groups on Facebook.
I know for a fact that a lot of the Facebook groups for base brats will censor my posts and will remove them. So no, the base brat groups cannot be viewed as being a cross section of typical former brats, as the views espoused in some of these groups are very sanitized.
I’ve been trying to garner media attention since way back in 2011 when I first learnt of the connection between my babysitter, P.S. and Canadian Armed Forces officer Captain Father Angus McRae.
The media see absolutely no conflict of interest with having a “police” organization such as the CFNIS conduct investigations which may subject their superiors to civil actions. There were 25 children who had been sexually abused on Canadian Forces Base Namao by Canadian Armed Forces officer Captain Father Angus McRae and his altar boy P.S.. McRae taught P.S. how to sexually abuse children. McRae encouraged P.S. to abuse children. McRae requested that P.S. escort children over to the chapel to be abused by both Captain McRae and P.S. after administering alcohol to the children.
P.S. sued the Minister of National Defence in March of 2001 and settled out of court in November of 2008 with the Minister of National Defence after the Department of National Defence accepted General Legal Liability for the personal damaged that P.S. endured at the hands of McRae. I can’t say if P.S. settled with the Archdiocese of Edmonton or the estate of Angus McRae, but I can’t see DND absorbing all of the costs when P.S. had named all three parties. If each party shared 1/3 of the liability, this means that P.S. walked away with close to $600,000.00. Not bad for someone who wasn’t as innocent as the Canadian Forces portrayed him to be back in 1980.
Because the Department of National Defence accepted legal liability, the chain of liability has well been established. If P.S. were to admit that (a) he sexually abused the children he was babysitter while he was 14 years of age and older, and (b) that he acted upon Captain McRae’s instructions and brought the children he was babysitting over to the chapel to be sexually abused by both Captain McRae and himself, the victims of both Captain McRae and P.S. would have a very simple time arguing in court that they were entitled to at least the same amount of compensation that the Department of National Defence agreed to compensate P.S.. Now, let’s say that there were in fact 25 children being sexually abused by Captain McRae and P.S.. And lets say that P.S. had been awarded the maximum that the Canadian Forces Director of Civil Claims and Liabilities is authorized to sign for, which is $200,000.00. That’s five million dollars in payouts at a minimum.
Why don’t I just sue the military on my own? Suing the military without a direct connection being established between myself and P.S. would be an extreme exercise in futility, especially seeing as how the 1980 CFSIU investigation established that P.S. was in fact the only victim of sexual abuse and that there were no other victims. This is also why suing P.S. for civil damages would be out of the question as well. Surely if P.S. had been molesting children and assisting Captain McRae with his devious schemes back in 1979 to 1980, the military police and the CFSIU would have handed P.S. over to the RCMP, right?
The media seems to like to think of the members of the CFNIS as being police officers just like civilian police officers. The CFNIS and the Provost Marshal operate completely different than any civilian police force. CFNIS investigators do not run their own investigation. SAPMIS, the record keeping system used by the military police is not secure. The investigator’s superiors running the investigation aren’t necessarily trained in law enforcement and may not even have training in the field of the investigation being undertaken. And more alarmingly, there are no provisions in the National Defence Act which exempt CFNIS investigators from section 83 of the National Defence Act. This means that investigators with the CFNIS are bound by the National Defence Act to obey all lawful commands of their superiors upon threat of life in prison for disobeying the lawful command.
The Chain of Command for the CFNIS looks kinda like this: Minister of National Defence –> Chief of Defence Staff –> Vice Chief of Defence Staff –> Provost Marshal –> CFNIS commanding officer –> CFNIS regional commanding officer –> CFNIS investigator.
You can see why this is a bad arrangement and you can hopefully see why the CFNIS need to be disbanded. The RCMP, as troubled of an agency as they are, are completely outside of the command influence of the Canadian Forces chain of command.
The sad thing is that the media can’t see this conflict of interest.
In the next little while, I’m going to start naming all of the reporters that I’ve dealt with since 2011.
Global has shown no commitment.
CBC has shown no commitment.
CTV has shown no commitment.
And to be honest, media consolidation in this country has probably been the single largest contributing factor which explains the media’s lack of interest.
All I know is that these reporters and these news agencies are helping the Canadian Armed Forces keep their dirty little secrets hidden and buried in the past. I’ll be 49 in a few months. Statsically speaking, I have 20 years or so left to live So if it takes another 10 years to find a news agency willing to get off its high-horse and actually start doing some investigative work, I might be 65 by the time this story hits the headlines.
And that’s all the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence have to do is simply wait us out.
Most of the brats that lived on base during the ’50s are starting to pass on.
Next to go will be the brats that lived on the bases in the ’60s.
All DND has to do is wait until 2040 and most of the kids who were in their teens during the ’70s will start passing away.
By 2050 DND won’t have to worry about former sexually abused military dependants making noise.
There’s a reason why DND transferred control of the PMQs to an independent arms length agency in the 1990s
There’s a reason why the number of family PMQs on base are dwindling and why DND and the Canadian Forces are encouraging members to buy homes and live in the civilian world instead of in the PMQ patches on base.
There’s far too much liability and risk in running company towns. Especially when you’re the employer and you provide the security services.