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What Veterans Think About the Future of the Canadian Armed Forces: ‘Still Worth It’ – National

On Memorial Day, Canadians honor veterans who died in service. But as the country observes a moment of silence for those who served Canada during the war, current veterans face mental health issues, cheating, and a long wait for disability benefits from the federal government.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is also facing multiple crises, from criticism of its handling of sexual misconduct and abuse of power to a shortage of manpower. CAF now needs at least 7,600 members, he said in an email to Global News.

Despite the barriers that veterans continue to face, some told Global News there was still value in joining the CAF, while others said they were skeptical about making systemic changes to effectively tackle the crisis. He added that the military needs to listen to its members, veterans and survivors on how to implement it.

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Dawn McIlmoyle, a military veteran and advocate for sexual trauma and domestic violence in the military, believes the way veterans are treated contributes to people’s reluctance to join the military.

“If you’re a World War I or World War II veteran, great, they throw poppies at you. If you’re a modern veteran, there’s no respect anymore,” McIlmoyle said. rice field.

McIlmoyle said that after veterans are “released from being in the military,” they have to “run around” and work through hardships to get the physical or mental health support they need.

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There are also ongoing issues with disability benefits. With the current average waiting time of 43 weeks, some veterans said Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) handling of disability benefits had failed them and made them feel forgotten by the federal government, Global News previously reported. There are growing calls for the removal or resignation of Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence Macaulay.

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The Canadian military is also facing an identity crisis after Afghanistan, according to Megan Mackenzie, Simon’s Chair of International Law and Human Security at Simon Fraser University.

“As a country, we have to have a public conversation,” she told Global News. And how do you want your defense force to work? Where would you like to spend your money as a country in terms of security priorities?”

Catherine McLellan, who joined the CAF in June 1999 and was dismissed in June 2020, says the CAF “still has value”, but the CAF can be done in a different way that is in line with modern values. You need to be able to brand yourself.

“The military is facing a staffing crisis because the military’s view of humans hasn’t quite moved away from the 1950s,” McLellan said.

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“It is now 2022. Women want to have careers and husbands are happy to support their spouses. People have different family structures. I want to have a balance in my life.”

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McClellan believes the military’s culture, which does not see the individual as a whole, alienates many members and contributes to recruitment problems. I left the military because I felt the system could no longer support my family.

“If they can sell themselves as ‘I can help my neighbor in a time of crisis’… many will be eager to join the military.” We were even able to respond to COVID-19 by backing up nursing home staff when medical workers were in short supply.”

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McIlmoyle, on the other hand, says he is grateful that the skills he learned in the military helped him become a resilient person.

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“I’ve had so many curveballs and obstacles thrown at me in my life,” said McIlmoyle, who said he was sexually assaulted while on duty in 1992 and left the military in 1993. rape in the army, In it, she spoke of the incident as one of 13 survivors who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by the Canadian military.

“Without the training I received in the military, I would not have been able to overcome and adapt to these conditions,” she said. “Being in the military was scary for me, but I only had 23 months. It taught me a lot.”

Helping Veterans ‘Find Purpose Again’

McIlmoyle told CAF veterans who are survivors of sexual assault about sexual trauma in the military by sharing their stories “to prevent these mistakes from being made on an ongoing basis.” I propose to invite you to teach.

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In February 2021, Global News first reported on allegations that former Chief of Defense General Jonathan Vance was involved in inappropriate behavior, including sexual misconduct with a female subordinate. This has since led to allegations of sexual misconduct against other senior military members, and the CAF has been criticized for its handling of them.

In May of this year, a report was released that delved into the culture of CAF. The report, conducted by Louise Arbor, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, found that CAF leaders were “incapable” of recognizing “flawed” parts of the military’s culture, leading to sexual misconduct and It allows abuse of power to take root in society. system.

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In October, Defense Minister Anita Anand appointed Joslyn Terrien as an external observer to oversee the military’s implementation of efforts to combat sexual misconduct following the Arbor report.

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In a statement to Global News, the CAF said the agency had accepted and started implementing 17 of the Arbor report’s 48 recommendations and “worked to analyze the remaining recommendations and provide a way forward.” I’m here.”

The Department of Defense (DND) will allocate $236.2 million over the next five years to end sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military and assist survivors, according to a statement.

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McIlmoyle says he acknowledges that “a lot may be going on behind closed doors” to deal with sexual misconduct, but survivors are unaware of it.

She says bringing survivors back as educators also gives them meaning. Because many lost their careers to being assaulted in the military and struggle to “find purpose again”.

“We never gave up our desire to serve,” McIlmoyle said. “We are serving differently now by finding each other and empowering each other to overcome any obstacles.”

According to Mackenzie, The sexual misconduct crisis and military culture crisis are inseparable from the recruitment crisis.

“I think Canadians have seen what is going on in the Defense Force. Many people, especially young people, have realized that this is not the job they want … We realize or decide that it’s not the kind of culture we want (at work),” she said.

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Mackenzie says the first solution to addressing sexual misconduct in the military is accountability.

“To fix the problem, we need to give military personnel a clear signal that perpetrators will be held accountable,” she said.

McIlmoyle said that if Canada could “act collectively” and tackle sexual misconduct in the military, “other countries will follow suit.”

“We don’t have to be like the greatest combat force of all time. We can be a force in bringing about unity and equality the right way,” she said.

What Veterans Think About the Future of the Canadian Armed Forces: ‘Still Worth It’ – National

Source link What Veterans Think About the Future of the Canadian Armed Forces: ‘Still Worth It’ – National

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