CF Ombudsman Rakes CAF, DND Over the Coals …
… in a submission to the Defence Policy Review now under way figuring out what the CAF should and shouldn’t be doing these days. The conclusion alone bears reading — highlights mine:
“The Ombudsman Office is a resource for those who find themselves frustrated by failures in the system. When we point out those shortcomings, and they are addressed, the Department of National Defence and/or the Canadian Armed Forces become better and more effective employers for it. However, as I have noted throughout this submission, the systemic failures are too often not corrected.
With that in mind I want to emphasize that everything in this submission is based on calls, complaints and expressions of frustration and anger that pour into our office on a regular basis.
I am not suggesting there are malicious, uncaring people in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces – the contrary is true. I am stating there is an absolute need for modern innovative thinking that flips the paradigm from the rules and regulations controlling the people to the people controlling the rules and regulations. It is always easy to find a rule or regulation that allows for inaction. It is always easier to review or study than take action and right a wrong.
In this submission, I have deliberately avoided recommending studies or reviews and the myriad of others words and phrases that have become euphemisms for lets-announce-a-study-and-hope-it-goes-away when the heat is on from the public, politicians and journalists who have glommed on to some injustice.
Yes, the media, politicians and public will inevitably move on to other matters and the lack of public scrutiny might bring temporary comfort to a few people; but under the rug the problems live on and continue to gather dust.
- Mentally ill members unable to get help will continue to take drastic steps and bring a lifetime of sorrow to their families.
- Indigenous Youth in need of role models will continue to miss the opportunity.
- Our Reservists will continue to wait for parity with Regular Force members and the compensation, care and respect parity represents.
- Those attempting to negotiate the bureaucratic end-of-career maze will not be helped by another study when they know that the phrase “seamless transition” is in stark contrast to reality.
- Many military spouses and children will not be placated by claims of ‘caring for our families’ when they know from experience that whether meaningless or well meaning, it’s an empty slogan.
None of the issues addressed in this submission need another prolonged study or review and none require the expenditure of vast amounts of money. What we need now is leadership with the will to right the wrongs before the credibility and image of this treasured institution is further eroded. No matter what position or stance we take at home or abroad, a well-supported military force will be the factor in determining success.
So let me end as I began: This is about the future. It is about our national security and our ability to attract future generations of great army, navy and air force members. It is about getting back to a place where the Canadian military regularly had pools of highly motivated, talented people knocking on the recruiting office door. Today, far too many of those talented Canadians are walking past that door with neither a second thought nor a backward glance.”
A bit more from the CF Ombudsman here.
Well said, Mr. Walbourne!