Canadian sailors seize 2 tons of cocaine in a joint anti-drug trafficking operation in the Pacific Coast of Central America, a Canadian pilot perishes in crash in Cold Lake and L 3 partners with Boeing on the Super Hornet Program.
These are the stories we’ll talk about on this edition of the Vanguard Radio.
But first, CAF faces a class action suit….
Former Royal Canadian Navy member Nicola Peffer is on a mission. She’s seeking to change the culture of sexual harassment and abuse in the military.
And she’s filing a class action suit against the CAF, which the lawyer representing her believes will embolden hundreds of other former and current military members who suffered sexual harassment and abuse to join.
The 34-year-old former sailor served onboard frigates in Esquimalt near Victoria B.C.
She left the force in 2012, after the military rejected her complaints of unwanted sexual advances by her superior.
Peffer said she faced retaliation and professional repercussions after refusing to comply with the sexual demands of one of her superiors.
“When I arrived, I learned the culture was not one of camaraderie, at least for women or LGBTQ members,” Peffer said in a phone interview. “The culture was one of fear and intimidation. The culture was one of abuse, discrimination, bullying, and harassment. The culture was of sexual assault.”
Her allegations have yet to be proven in court. DND said it is aware of the planned legal action and is reviewing its options.
This is only the second class action suit linked to sexual misconduct in the military.
Last month, Glynis Rogers, a former CAF member from Nova Scotia, filed a statement of claim against Ottawa before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
She claims she was subjected to sexual orientation-based discrimination, bullying and harassment during training and during her time as a regular member of the armed forces.
Rogers, who joined the service in 2006, said that female CAF members were often called names and treated as inferior members of the military.
If the case proceeds, it could include other women who claim to have suffered similar treatment in the military.
Peffer and Rogers’ statement of claims underscore a 2015 StatsCan survey which indicates that 960 members of the were victims assault involving fellow military members in the workplace.
More than 43,000 responses were collected representing 53 per cent of the CAF population. The survey was only released this November.
Unwanted sexual touching was the most common form of sexual assault, reported by 1.5 per cent (or 840) regular force members.
79 per cent members of the regular forces saw, heard, or were personally targeted by sexualized behaviour in the military workplace or involving military members, DND employees, or contractors.
Women in the regular force were more likely than men to be sexually assaulted (4.8 per cent versus 1.2 per cent) in the twelve months preceding the survey.
Some of these incidents occurred even after the CDS Gen. Jonathan Vance had given an order for such behavior to stop.
These recent developments are important because they bring home the gravity and insidious impact of this highly sexualized and abusive culture in the military and its members.
When you have nearly 1,000 employees admitting to be sexually victimized – your organization has a problem.
To be fair, the CDS has made efforts to deal with the situation. Op Honour, which was launched by the CDS last year, has resulted in 30 CAF members being punished and 97 investigations into other cases of inappropriate behavior are underway.
In the period of April to July 2016, a total of 148 incidents of harmful sexual behaviour were reported to the chain of command.
But there are still doubts as to whether the message is getting through.
The 148 reported incidents are far overshadowed by the 960 individuals who reported being victims of sexual assault in the StatsCan survey.
Why are fewer people coming forward to formally report these incidents?
What barriers could be preventing them? Are whistleblowers and victims afraid of reprisal? What protections could be provided to them? How much buy-in from officers if Op Honour getting?
Perhaps, we will get the answers to these questions through the class action lawsuits of Peffer and Rogers.
It was with sadness that Vanguard reported the demise of Capt. Thomas McQueen of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Capt. McQueen was killed Nov 28th when his CF-18 fighter jet crashed at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Saskatchewan. He had been flying on a regular training mission.
McQueen had been in the RCAF since 2006,
Cold Lake is known as the busiest fighter training base in Canada providing training for all Canadian Forces pilots. The air weapons range covers almost 30,000 square kilometres spanning the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The crash is currently investigated.
In November, the Liberals announced its plan to buy 18 F/A18 Super Hornet jets from Boeing as an “interim purchase” to address its immediate fighter jet “capability gap.”
It was a controversial announcement since the purchase was being done even before the Federal Government had initiated its competition for the CF-18 replacement program.
And appears to have placed Boeing at an advantageous position over its rivals – primarily Lockheed Martin which is proposing the F-35 Lighting II fighter jet.
At least L-3 Communications was happy to announce early this month that it has memorandum of agreement with Boeing on the production and support service for the aerospace company’s Super Hornet fighter aircraft.
L-3 MAS is one of more than 560 Boeing suppliers across Canada.
The MOU comes at a time when L-3 MAS is celebrating its 30th anniversary of providing integrated technical support for the RCAF’s current fleet of CF-18 Hornets. L-3 MAS was awarded on October 31, 1986, an ITS contract for the CF-18 Hornet, a platform that was first produced by McDonnell Douglas before the company merged with Boeing in 1996.
One more thing, L-3 has undergone a branding transformation.
Effective December 31, 2016, the company will be known as L3 Technologies, Inc.
Well, that’s it for this week’s show.
This is your host Nestor Arellano, saying see you again next week
On the next episode of the Vanguard Radio.