General Jon Vance, Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, is certainly wholly correct when he says, in an interview with the Toronto Star, that “there are members within the Canadian Armed Forces who harbour right-wing extremist and white supremacist beliefs.“
He explains that the recruiting and selection systems try to weed them out, but the systems are anything but perfect. He also says that the training system tries to change views and values, but it, too, is less than perfect. He says, and I agree, that racism is out of place in a professional military but it can be hard to detect and harder to deal with.
The key issue for Canadians to remember is that the Canadian Armed Forces consist of your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and friends and neighbours … most, almost all of them, are good people but a few are flawed. Sometimes the flaws are barely visible and, maybe, will never do harm but General Vance is right to be concerned. He is also right to be concerned about sexism and a lack of logistics vehicles, and with drug use and the delay in getting a new fighter aircraft, and with the lack of First Nations recruits and an equal lack of new warships in which they might serve.
The military has a whole hockey sock full of problems, racism is one of them … but it is, I assert, a minor one and I am confident that General Vance knows how to deal with it,