The inherent racism of Canadian Forces
Federal report released Monday raises questions about increased military funding
A federal government report on racial discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces released on April 25 points out what should be obvious to anyone paying attention — that the Canadian military has a white supremacy problem rooted in the foundations of the Canadian state, which is not being taken seriously.
The failure of the Defence Team to be representative of Canadian demographics is rooted in the system that was created by European settlers. The systemic and cultural racism that is institutionalized in regulations, norms, and common worldviews in the Defence Team is a direct consequence of Canada’s colonial past and the associated treatment of Indigenous, Black and racialized people… The colonization of the land we now call Canada by both the French and the British saw the forced removal, genocide and attempted assimilation of Indigenous Peoples. The non-consensual establishment of Canada as a British colony furthered the control and economic exploitation of the country through slavery and forced labour. Historical and continuous racist and discriminatory actions towards segments of Canada’s population have led to internalized racism and prejudice that continue to shape biases and practices in Canada and within the Defence Team.
The report, which also examined rampant sexual harassment in the military, said there exists “a toxic environment within both the military and civilian workplaces, [including] persistent racial discrimination for Black and racialized members, harassment of women and members of the LGBTQ2+ community, lack of informed medical support for transgender transformations, neglect of persons with disabilities and a disregard for the importance of partnership with Indigenous Peoples.”
Notably, the advisory panel was composed of four retired military members — Maj.-Gen. E.S. (Ed) Fitch, Sgt. Aronhia:nens Derek Montour, Maj. Sandra Perron and Capt. D.L. (Door) Gibson.
As APTN News reports, white supremacy in the Canadian military has been well-known as early as the 1993 Somalia Affair, in which Canadian soldiers with neo-Nazi ties tortured and murdered Somali teenager Shidane Aronem during a UN-backed so-called peacekeeping mission. A public inquiry into Canadian Forces’ conduct uncovered the presence of Swastika, Ku Klux Klan and Confederate insignia at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, and revealed that the regiment’s sole Black member was regularly called the n-word.
More recently, a 2018 internal probe into far-right extremism in Canadian Forces found between 2013 and 2018 the military’s criminal intelligence branch confirmed hate group connections for 53 military members. While acknowledging the number was likely much higher, since these were just the people who were caught, the report implausibly concluded that “hate groups do not pose a significant threat” because they only compose 0.1% of active military members.
With thousands of people in the Canadian Armed Forces, that’s still a lot of white supremacists.
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