Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour (Video clips from the CDS Leadership Engagement on Operation HONOUR)

Video / November 20, 2015


GEN JONATHAN VANCE: I’ve called you specifically here because I have great faith in not only the chain of command, but in leadership, and you’re the leaders. You’re my formation commanders and above with your chiefs. 

Well, it doesn’t matter how big the problem is in the armed forces, as I said, I won’t debate it, I’m not going to get into discussions with anybody about, “It’s not that big.”  It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how big it is or how severe the issue of sexual misconduct is in the armed forces, those who are victims of it, it’s their entire life. They’re engulfed by it. 

LGEN CHRIS WHITECROSS: It is both a social imperative and an operational necessity in a force that includes members of different sexes, sexualities and sexual orientations.  In meeting these imperatives, it is clear that what we’re really trying to affect is culture change. And culture change takes time, but it does not lend itself to quick fixes as much as it does to persistent effort aligned with the CAF and Department of National Defence Code of Values and Ethics. 

VADM MARK NORMAN: We have to come to grips with this destructive behaviour, any destructive behaviour, but we’re here to talk about one specific type that undermines who we are and what we stand for as an institution. 

LGEN MARQUIS HAINSE: We need to take action.  No bystanders. It’s not because you’re not in a command position or in a leadership role that you don’t have a responsibility, so we need to bring this to the fold of everyone.  It’s everyone’s business.

LGEN MICHAEL HOOD: So now what we’ve got to move to is we’ve got to actually build that just culture of personal safety. It’s not enough to just lead units, but we’ve got to actually focus on individuals. 

GEN VANCE: We’re going to take care of our people because it’s the right thing to do. We’re not doing it as well as we think we are and maybe you’re not doing it as well as you think you are. I know you want to do well. I know you’re spring-loaded to do well.  It’s in your DNA to do well, but I think we’ve been blind, as I said, a bit tone deaf, to those things that actually affect our people.

LGEN WHITECROSS: In the three decades of my career, I honestly and truly thought that we had come a lot further than those articles said and the report.  So that made me actually really fairly ticked.

LGEN HOOD: And when I read that Deschamps report, I couldn’t believe that I could actually have been so blind to this issue. 

VADM NORMAN: We have to accept unequivocally that we have a problem.  We have to tackle it aggressively and then we have to do everything we can to ensure that we achieve and sustain lasting change over time.

LGEN HOOD: As soon as you bring yourself to the thought that one case is too many — one case is too many for the Canadian Forces — that’s the mind set we’ve got to drive. 

LGEN HAINSE: It’s about observing and acting. This is where we have the opportunity to inspire — inspire with our actions, inspire with our deportment. 

CWO KEVIN WEST: We need our people to work hard.  We’re going to demand a lot from them, but we need to treat them fairly, and we need to treat them with the respect they deserve. We have to remember everybody in this room and everybody that joins the Canadian Armed Forces did it because they wanted to. We didn’t go pull them out of society. They came to us. So we have to treat them that way. They’re great Canadians that came to us that want to serve the same institution that we’re extremely proud of being part of. 

GEN VANCE: So Op Honour is more about – it’s nested in an idea where we really do need to raise our game in terms of taking care of our people.

LGEN WHITECROSS: The responsibility for instituting the prescribed measures to address the problem of inappropriate sexual behaviour remains with the chain of command. 

GEN VANCE: The chain of command is an instrument of the leadership of the armed forces. It’s an instrument. It’s leadership is what we are about, what you’re about.  Failing our people is a failure of leadership. 

VADM NORMAN: We have to scrutinize and sanction those on the deck plates who are not doing the right thing.

GEN VANCE: None of you will be judged by how free you are in terms of complaints of sexual harassment and misconduct. You’re not going to be judged by that. You’re going to be judged by what you’re going to do about it. You’re going to be judged by the efforts that you will take to try and prevent harmful behaviour.

VADM NORMAN: We’ve got a proven record, collectively, of facing adversity.  We’ve got a few obstacles we’ve got to come to grips with. One of them, I believe, is disbelief, and we’ve got to come to grips with that right now. 

LGEN HAINSE: We will prevail. Why? We have no choice. 

LGEN HOOD: There’s no doubt we can and we will lead our way out of this.

GEN VANCE: And we are an armed forces that absolutely embraces everybody — everybody. If you don the uniform, you deserve to feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof just like I do.

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