Canadian military’s sexual misconduct reporting process ‘disappointing’, says officer – National


The naval officer who filed a misconduct complaint against Canada’s top commander said on Friday the military’s reporting process is confusing, “disheartening and disappointing.”

“I wish there were more tips for me. There are a lot of policies out there, but I don’t know if Operation Honor has yet been widely accepted within the Canadian Armed Forces, ”said Lt.-Cmdr. Raymond Trotter told the House of Commons defense committee, referring to an official mission to eliminate sexual misconduct in the ranks.

Trotter was called to testify following a Global News report that he received two anonymous threats after making an allegation of misconduct by Admiral Art McDonald last month.

McDonald has temporarily resigned as chief of defense, after six weeks on the job, while military police investigate the allegation, which has not been publicly detailed.

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Trotter said on Friday that the threats were made on March 4, but declined to go into details as he said he understood the case was under investigation by the military.

Opposition conservatives accused the Liberal government of being behind the alleged threats, an accusation that the defense minister’s office strongly rejected.

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Trotter described back and forth between the military’s sexual misconduct response center and what he believed to be the defense minister’s office – although he may have spoken with bureaucrats of the Ministry of Defense.

Each referred him to the other to file the complaint, with apparent confusion as to whether the response center was a place to report misconduct or a larger victim support resource.

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“They had let me know they were going to take the allegation to the minister,” Trotter said of conversations with defense personnel.

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On February 5, the day after he started making calls, Trotter sat down for an interview with members of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which he had initially sought to avoid as he reports to the chain of command and ultimately reports to the Chief of the Defense Staff, opening the door to a conflict of interest. Nonetheless, McDonald withdrew 20 days later.

“At this point I felt like I had been going around in circles all day and said I was ready to talk about it,” Trotter said in committee.

He added that he had had worse experiences with another sexual harassment complaint, involving a comment made on a video conference. “In fact, I was scolded in a very humiliating way for following up on my reporting. I believe I was treated that way because the complaint also concerned another senior officer, ”he said.

“In this environment, I can certainly understand why so many victims of sexual misconduct would be reluctant to come forward.”

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Defense committee member argues with Sajjan over his handling of Vance’s allegations

Defense committee member argues with Sajjan over his handling of Vance’s allegations – March 12, 2021

Earlier on Friday, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan admitted that “confidence has been shattered” in the Canadian military following accusations of misconduct against high-ranking officials.

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The Canadian Armed Forces will create an independent complaints process for allegations of misconduct, where “all options are on the table” as to its structure, he said in a virtual meeting hosted by the Institute of the Conference of Defense Associations.

“We will do all we can to restore the trust we have lost in those who have been the victims of misconduct,” Sajjan said, pledging to eliminate sexual misconduct from the armed forces.

The defense committee is also hearing from Sajjan about his handling of an allegation of sexual misconduct against then defense chief Gen. Jonathan Vance in March 2018.

Sajjan previously refused to confirm that Military Ombudsman Gary Walbourne raised the allegation with him at the time, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has since confirmed it.

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Trudeau insisted, however, that the government did everything right by referring the matter to the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic operation that supports the Prime Minister’s Office and the cabinet. Trudeau said there was nothing more he could do because Walbourne declined to provide information about the allegation.

The prime minister also said the government did not know the details of the allegation until a global report last month.

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The report alleges that Vance entered into an ongoing relationship with a subordinate that began over a decade ago and continued after he became Chief of the Defense Staff in 2015.

Global also reported that Vance allegedly sent an obscene email to a much more junior soldier in 2012.

Vance declined to respond to repeated requests from The Canadian Press for comment, and the allegations have not been independently verified. However, Global reported that Vance has denied any wrongdoing.

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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said last week that a Conservative government would establish an independent body to deal with complaints outside the chain of command, among other measures. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the military ombudsman should report directly to Parliament.

On Friday, Trotter described an incident he said occurred during a video conference where a senior officer commented on a serviceman’s bedroom, visible in the background.

“He called it his“ red room, ”which many people on the call took to be a reference to the movie“ Fifty Shades of Gray. ”Several other members of that Zoom call followed to echo this comparison. and making inappropriate sexual remarks. There were a lot of women on that call, “Trotter told the defense committee.

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Trotter, who was not present on the video call, said he reported the complaint after his colleague relayed his experience. At least one other woman on the call reported a second complaint, he said.

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Sajjan says he “followed the investigative process” regarding Vance’s allegations

Sajjan Says He “Followed Investigation Process” Regarding Vance Allegations – March 12, 2021

He entered the complaint into a database and said the investigation was assigned to a subordinate of the senior officer who made the alleged “red room” comment.

He said when raising concerns about the conflict of interest, a senior officer downplayed the incident and suggested that the officer who responded did not know what he was talking about when he made this comment.

“It seemed to me that it prejudged and predetermined an outcome,” Trotter said.

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