CDS and Minister of Defence respond regarding military members disrupting Indigenous activists protest in Halifax
Five members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are currently being investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service for disrupting a protest organized by Indigenous activists in Halifax on Canada Day.
These members, who are affiliated with a “Western Chauvinistic” organization entitled Proud Boys, have also been currently removed from duties and training.
Both the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Minister of National Defence released statements condemning the actions of the CAF members.
“I detest any action by a Canadian Armed Forces member that is intended to show disrespect towards the very people and cultures we value in Canada. We are the nation’s protectors, and any member of the Canadian Armed Forces who is not prepared to be the defender we need them to be will face severe consequences, including release from the forces.
“What happened in Halifax over the weekend is deplorable, and Canadians should rest assured my senior leadership is seized of the matter. The members involved will be removed from training and duties while we conduct an investigation and review the circumstances. Their future in the military is certainly in doubt.
“On behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces, I apologize to our indigenous peoples for the behaviour of a few, who certainly do not represent the broader group of proud women and men who serve our country. I expect better,” said Gen. Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff.
The Minister of Defence took to Facebook to condemn the actions of the men.
“I want to give you my personal assurance that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated within the ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence,” said Harjit Sajjan.
The Indigenous activists were holding the protest at the Edward Cornwallis statue in downtown Halifax, a controversial monument that is seen by some groups as a symbol of systematic oppression.
According to a CBC News story, the five Proud Boys members thought the protest was an anti-Canada protest and claimed to have left after learning that it wasn’t. It is reported that words were exchanged between the two parties.
The Proud Boys are a pro-Western fraternal organization who state that they “will no longer apologize for creating the modern world,” according to the Proud Boys Canadian Chapter Facebook page.