Defense Minister Bill Blair says the government has no plans to ban alcohol in the military, but will speak to military leaders in the coming weeks about ways to improve the culture in social facilities on military bases that serve alcohol. He said it was planned.
A recent Statistics Canada survey found that 33 per cent of military personnel who were sexually assaulted in 2022 believed their assailant’s alcohol or drug use contributed to the assault.
CBC News asked Prime Minister Tony Blair about the investigation and the military’s practice of requiring all military personnel to be part of the military’s “chaos.”
Messe are traditionally centers of social interaction for military units. A bar is also included, often with a dining area, television, and gaming area.
One military member contacted by CBC News said they were angry at being part of the chaos and being forced to pay monthly dues to fund a drinking culture they don’t support.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday that he had no knowledge that military personnel were “actually being forced to take part in the chaos”. He said he would consider it.
On Thursday, the Pentagon acknowledged that participation in the disruption was mandatory. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office said he would speak to military leaders about “what more can be done to build an inclusive and safe culture of disruption”.
In a media statement, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office told CBC News: “There are no plans to ban alcohol in the Canadian Armed Forces, but it needs to be better controlled.”
The government and military have vowed to overhaul the military’s culture in response to a sexual misconduct crisis that saw a series of senior leaders removed from prestigious posts in 2021. The crisis damaged the morale and confidence of the troops.
Sexual assault increases during the holidays
The Canadian Armed Forces has previously reported a spike in sexual assaults during the December holiday period. This month, military leaders across the country were given new guidance to prevent sexual assault, the lieutenant general said. Jenny Carignan.
Carignan, who is tasked with changing the military’s culture, told CBC News that alcohol should no longer be used as a team-building tool, that service members should not be forced to drink alcohol, and that non-alcoholic beverages should be available on base. He said it is expected to be manufactured. Available.
Carignan said he does not intend to completely ban alcohol on base. They believe this would prohibit drinking at unsupervised off-site parties.
But some military officials want the military to allow them to opt out of mandatory Messe membership.
“I owe $26.36 a month to a bar that promotes a culture of zero tolerance,” said one military member. “You can’t opt out.
“I don’t know of any other workplace that requires bar subsidies for all employees.”
Military personnel must receive permission from the chain of command to conduct interviews. CBC News is not naming the members, but says they could face retaliation if they speak without permission.
“Military Values and Traditions”
The Pentagon says disruption on military bases is “an important part of military life” and allows service members to socialize and “participate in leisure activities while continuing to promote military values and traditions.” There is. Spaces are usually separated by ranks.
“All CAF members must serve in groups appropriate to their rank,” Pentagon spokesperson Andre-Anne Poulain said in a statement to CBC News.
The Pentagon said members of the Confusion are “required to pay a Confusion dues” to pay for their activities in the Confusion. Members of the military are usually responsible for paying for their own drinks, multiple military officials told CBC News.
Charlotte Duval-L’Antoine, a fellow at the Canadian Institute for Global Affairs who studies culture change in the Canadian military, said “many service members” question the role of alcohol on base, and military leaders are questioning the role of alcohol on base. said the issue needed to be tackled head-on. the resistance they may face.
“This is one of the more complex pieces of cultural change because there is a lot of resistance, but it is one of the most important,” Duval-L’Antoine said.
“The military needs to address its culture of drinking in disorder if it wants to eliminate as much sexual misconduct as possible.”
“Culture that promotes drinking”
Duval-L’Antoine said he didn’t think the mess should be shut down completely, but that members shouldn’t be forced to participate.
“A culture that promotes drinking is an inherently non-inclusive culture,” she says.
The Pentagon said the military has moved in recent years to become “more community-focused” and disruptive with “activities ranging from children’s parties to social events to more formal events.”
Retired Lieutenant General Mark Norman said 2023 is the time for a “mature dialogue” about the role of disruption.
“Why is disruption in the traditional sense important to the military?” he said. “The military is going to have to answer that question, and I think it’s perfectly legitimate for that question to be asked.”
In 2014, Norman announced the ban About drinking alcohol on board naval ships In response to misconduct overseas. He made exceptions for special cases or when ships were at anchor. He said it was found that alcohol was considered a factor in 90 percent of misconduct cases in the Navy at the time.
But Mr Norman said a complete military-wide ban on alcohol was “not a helpful approach” and amounted to “collective punishment”. He said the key was to create a climate of responsible consumption through leadership, oversight and training.
He said he has also heard from many service members, some of whom are experiencing financial hardship, who are frustrated by having to pay dirty money.
“We don’t know whether the historical and traditional intent of these disruptions as part of the military system will be as meaningful in 2023 as it was in 1993 or 1973,” he said.
“Society has a problem with alcohol” — Blair
Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office said drinking at disorderly events was not compulsory and military personnel should not be forced to drink. When asked if the military had a problem with alcohol, Prime Minister Tony Blair previously replied: “Society has a problem with alcohol.”
Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday: “We are looking at all the circumstances that could give rise to this grossly inappropriate behavior and how we can eliminate it from the workplace experience and the lives of members of our armed forces. “There is,” he said.
Among those who have called for the military to ban alcohol on base to prevent sexual assault are former soldiers who reported being groped by their platoon commander at a large party and victims of sexual assault. There are also military law experts who have been representing people for many years.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Blair also provided an update on the government’s efforts to change the culture of the military in response to the sexual misconduct crisis.
Prime Minister Blair said the government had so far implemented 17 of the 48 recommendations in former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbor’s 2022 final report. The government has tasked Arbor with reviewing the military’s culture.
Prime Minister Blair said 19 recommendations would be completed by the new year. That includes no longer using the term “sexual misconduct,” which Arbor said is too vague. Instead, troops will use words like “sexual assault.”
Mr Blair said Mr Arbor’s key recommendation – stripping the military of its powers to investigate and prosecute sex crimes – would be implemented early in the new year. Prime Minister Tony Blair said last month that he wanted to change the law by the new year.
Prime Minister Blair also announced that Michelle Douglas had been appointed as the military’s first honorary colonel for her “professional conduct and culture”. Douglas is a human rights activist who launched a landmark legal challenge to the military’s discriminatory policies regarding LGBTQ community service members.
Douglas was honorably discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces in 1989 because he was “unemployable because of his homosexuality,” the Ministry of Defense said in a press release.