Author Topic: Top general slams ‘toxic narratives’ in media coverage of Canadian Forces  (Read 4009 times)

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Offline LogOLife

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From the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/top-general-slams-toxic-narratives-in-media-coverage-of-canadian-forces/article33891706/?1486128843861

The whole thing seems a bit ironic to me given that Gen Vance has been so vocal about these current topics with the media.

Quote
Canada’s top general says the country’s armed forces have been demeaned by “very toxic narratives” in media coverage of sexual harassment in the military and poor treatment of soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance made the comments during a speech to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, where he also said that Canada is poised to do “great things” with its American allies in the era of U.S. President Donald Trump once the new administration gets its footing.
 
“If you’re paying attention to the news today, there are some very toxic narratives about the armed forces,” Gen. Vance said.




“The narrative that seems to prevail right now is if you join the armed forces, you are going to be sexually assaulted, raped or you’re going to suffer from PTSD at some point and may commit suicide.”

Gen. Vance said he has worked to be transparent in the way the Forces have responded to those issues. But that has wrongfully encouraged an impression that his troops are mired in the controversies.

“The more I deal with it, the more transparent I am about dealing with it, the more it prevails and carries on the myth that this is what we are all about. It’s not,” he said.

He said about 20 per cent of personnel who suffer trauma on operations will suffer PTSD.

“But don’t think, for a minute, that we are a bunch of victims about to happen because we’re not. Most of the time we are the biggest, strongest and best anywhere we go. People forget that sometimes in this narrative of accusation about who we are.”

The general’s remarks come as the Canadian Forces are grappling with issues of sexual harassment and assault in its ranks. In December, Gen. Vance said he would discharge anyone who sexually harassed or harmed another member of the military.

According to a Statistics Canada survey released in December, about 1.7 per cent of full-time members of the armed forces, or nearly 1,000 members, said they have been sexually assaulted within the previous year. Proposed class-action lawsuits have also been launched by former members of the armed forces.

The Globe and Mail has examined the suicides of Canadian soldiers and veterans who served on the Afghanistan mission. The newspaper’s investigation has revealed that at least 72 have ended their lives after returning from the perilous deployment. Many were on the front lines in Afghanistan and struggled with post-traumatic stress or other mental illnesses connected to their experiences in the war.

More than 40,000 Canadian military members deployed to Afghanistan. A military study has found that 14 per cent of those who served on the mission were diagnosed with a mental-health disorder linked to the tour. The rate was higher among those who were in combat.

On another issue, Gen. Vance said he is an “eternal optimist” about the path ahead, and despite the alarm in some quarters about the U.S. direction under Mr. Trump, “We are on the verge, I think, of great things together with the new administration.”

He talked of common interests in procurement, the ability to share intelligence with close allies and his close professional relationship with the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff – the body of senior uniformed leaders of the American defence department. He declined to take questions from the media to clarify his remarks.

Toward the end of his appearance, he added: “I am happy to have the lash laid to me in the media, but you know what? A little bit of encouragement to carry on and do our thing? I could use that too.”

Offline Eye In The Sky

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The last line is a nice summary.  I suspect the CAF will continue to get the lash and little encouragement though.
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Offline Rifleman62

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He talked of common interests in procurement....

What does that mean?
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Offline Half Full

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What does that mean?
I am assuming he is talking about getting better deals from industry...eg. F35s...
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Offline Good2Golf

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I am assuming he is talking about getting better deals from industry...eg. F35s...

...or more effective procurement from whole-of-Government itself... :nod:

Regards
G2G

Offline Rifleman62

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...or more effective procurement from whole-of-Government itself... :nod:
If you mean Canadian government military procurement system, I suspect you are joking.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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If you mean Canadian government military procurement system, I suspect you are joking.

I turned in my winter boots a year or two ago on order.  I still don't have winter boots and I was just out standing on a range all day where it was - 30C

How is the media supposed to put a good spin on that?
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Offline Dimsum

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I turned in my winter boots a year or two ago on order.  I still don't have winter boots and I was just out standing on a range all day where it was - 30C

How is the media supposed to put a good spin on that?

You didn't tie garbage bags to your feet and stuffed them with old newspapers?   >:D
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Offline Good2Golf

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If you mean Canadian government military procurement system, I suspect you are joking.

In no way am I joking that I think the CDS wants procurement to be better, and the GoC (not just DND) is critical to that.

Regards
G2G

Offline Rifleman62

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Not what I meant. It is the system that is a joke. I agree the CDS wants a functioning system. Is the CDS hinting at procurement deals with the US or is the context "He talked of common interests in procurement" part of the sentence the Reporter's screw up.
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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I got the new boots from Kodiak, three weeks of wearing them and the side heel blew out on one.  Not even at the seam, the fabric just came apart.

I have a project the next Army SM can focus his 100% energy towards.  It would be refreshing to see leadership take an actual interest in the lifting of our soldiers. 

Footwear is sort of important in an Army.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 12:20:25 by Humphrey Bogart »

Offline Dimsum

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Footwear is sort of important in an Army a military.

Us light blue folks don't generally walk as much as you do, but when the soles are like pucks in the winter and the heel cups carve our feet, that's no bueno.  We also can't (by the rules) get much lighter boots, thanks to the requirement for steel toes.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

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Offline jollyjacktar

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I'm not saying our sea boots are perfect, but we don't seem to be having the same issues the other two arms are.  I wonder why that is?  I have no complaints about what I have for either hot or cold climate.  If I have anything to ***** about it's our jackets.  The Gortex just doesn't cut it in winter and that's the best we've got.  You guys have shitty boots, we have shitty winter jackets.  Go figure...

Offline Eye In The Sky

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We also can't (by the rules) get much lighter boots, thanks to the requirement for steel toes.

Well, the requirement is for safety toe, not necessarily steel...despite what is stated on page 27 of this article "...the use of composite materials was considered, but these materials did not offer the CSA safety standard that was required – therefore leading to the use of steel plates and steel toes...

It also states "unlike Air Force requirements, Army boots were not designed with Flame Resistant (FR) or Shock Resistant qualities, part of the CSA Grade 1 certification requirements";  so, assuming the RCAF boots were to be a CSA 1 grade level for sole puncture and toe impact.

I'm using the Safety Symbol Index from the Work Authority for the sole (ha!) reason that this is where my Wing Clothing sends me for my LPO boots for both my TCB and CWWBs.

CSA Green Triangle

The CSA Green triangle patch indicates sole puncture protection with Grade 1 Protective toe to withstand impacts up to 125 joules. Sole puncture protection is designed to withstand a force of not less than 1200 Newtons (270 pounds).


I haven't had the issued air force Temperate or Cold Wet Weather boots in some time now, but IIRC they have the Green triangle on them in the inside of the tonque.  However, both my LPO Temperate Combat Boots, Magnum Stealth Force 8.0s and my LPO Cold Wet Weather boots, Bates GX-8 Model #2284 [Goretex, Composite toe/plate, 200g thinsulate] are also CSA Grade 1 boots with the Green Triangle.

The requirement is safety toes, according to the article CSA Grade 1 but composite toes/plates are certified to Grade 1.  What is different...the price.  My Bates cost about $250/pair, whereas the issued Cripplers are about $90/pair I was told.

This whole "must be steel toe" thing sort of irks me.  IMO, the CAF/RCAF went with 'steel' to save money and then said it was because composite can't attain the same CSA grade as steel, which is just BS.  I can assure you, though, that both my Magnums and Bates boots are MUCH lighter than the issued Cripplers, which were over 5lbs a pair.

Now you have something to ask the "guest speaker" at the next town hall you're forced to go to  ;DWhy are AF people carrying steel weights around for hours a day on their feet??

Us light blue folks don't generally walk as much as you do, but when the soles are like pucks in the winter and the heel cups carve our feet, that's no bueno. 

Make sure you are wearing the CWWBs in the colder temps if you are forced to wear issued boots;  page 28 of the same Flight Comment article:

The Cold Wet Weather Boot (CWWB) will cover the -25°C to +10°C range “in all operating locations.” The boot sole is designed much like a winter tire, with a softer compound that will more easily grip icy surfaces without becoming a FOD hazard.

The Temperate Combat Boot (TCB) will address the +10°C to +30°C range and will have a harder rubber compound sole, providing the appropriate amount of cushioning in warmer climates.

If you don't have boots that are black on the inside, and ones that are grey on the inside, you don't have both TCBs and CWWBs.  Most people I knew didn't know there was a winter and summer one, or just wore the TCB all year around.  Harder sole on that one and no Gortex liner, less Thinsulate too IIRC.

Of note, the ECWB and CWWB have a Gore Tex liner within the boot wall, providing the Wet Weather resistance, whereas the TCB and DCB are made with breathable liners, thus providing the
appropriate wicking in moist/warm environments.


« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 14:36:03 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline daftandbarmy

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From the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/top-general-slams-toxic-narratives-in-media-coverage-of-canadian-forces/article33891706/?1486128843861

The whole thing seems a bit ironic to me given that Gen Vance has been so vocal about these current topics with the media.

I guess he's forgotten what a hull down position is supposed to look like. Stand by for more incoming :)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Haggis

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I am assuming he is talking about getting better deals from industry...eg. F35s...

One best case would be access to discounted brand new US military contract Sig Sauer P320s to replace our Brownings or....
worst case a huge bunch of hand-me-down Beretta M9 pistols to replace our Brownings.

Train like your life depends on it.  Some day, it may.

Offline Good2Golf

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One best case would be access to discounted brand new US military contract Sig Sauer P320s to replace our Brownings or....
worst case a huge bunch of hand-me-down Beretta M9 pistols to replace our Brownings.

I'm pretty sure the folks at DLR could shoot holes (see what I did there? ;D ) in an expedited procurement of P320s, or VP9s, or S&W M&Ps, etc.... :nod:

G2G

Offline Haggis

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I'm pretty sure the folks at DLR could shoot holes (see what I did there? ;D ) in an expedited procurement of P320s, or VP9s, or S&W M&Ps, etc.... :nod:

Nicely played...
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Offline Colin P

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One best case would be access to discounted brand new US military contract Sig Sauer P320s to replace our Brownings or....
worst case a huge bunch of hand-me-down Beretta M9 pistols to replace our Brownings.

Our pistol contract is small potatoes, a nice to have but the numbers are smaller than many US police departments. The only issue is our procurement system. We now have the G17, Sig 2022 or P320 as NATO pistols. Just order any of them.