Former general condemns Canada's ‘woke’ military culture

'Our country has been led by a government that has been focused on virtue signalling,' said Michel Maisonneuve, a retired Canadian lieutenant general. 'Apologizing for who we are and how we came to be.'

Former general condemns Canada's ‘woke’ military culture
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A Retired Canadian lieutenant general condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for turning Canada’s military into a ‘woke’ mess during the 2023 Conservative Convention in Québec City.

"Our country has been led by a government that has been focused on virtue signalling," said Michel Maisonneuve. "Apologizing for who we are and how we came to be."

His wife echoed the sentiment, accusing Trudeau of having an "innate ability to see endless flaws in everyone else, but none in himself."

In 2022, Maisonneuve criticized the federal government in a similar speech where he derided cancel culture. On September 7, he claimed, once again, that the “woke movement” is destroying "Canadian values."

"The red maple leaf is the flag that can and should unite all Canadians," he said. "Why should we not be patriotic and show it?"

In March, Canada’s National Defence Department claimed the military needed “self-reflection" on the racism, privilege and "white fragility" of its members.

An anti-racism report detailed by the ministry outlined steps for members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to examine the "ways that whiteness and white superiority become embedded in policies and processes."

"Racism and discrimination still manifest in our workplaces through bias, privilege, policies and power dynamics," said the report, Guide To Courageous Conversations On Racism And Discrimination

According to Blacklock's Reporter, the anti-racism guide claims, "we all have to do the work in shifting mindsets and promoting an inclusive workplace and acknowledge that together we're different."

"Critical self-reflection is key to understanding and unpacking seen and unseen assumptions and biases we have," it said.

In January, Andy Knight, a political scientist from the University of Alberta, received a grant to produce a 25-minute documentary and derive policy suggestions on the "radicalization, antisemitism, xenophobia, and anti-black sentiments" in the military.

The professor claimed the CAF is riddled with institutional racism that pursues 'xeno-racism' against newcomers. He contends that individual cases of racism are "not the main problem." 

In the 2017 Strong, Secure, Engaged policy, the military established racial quotas to recruit visible minorities. It said the quota must increase from 8% to 12% by 2026.

However, a 2020 commentary by The Royal Canadian Air Force Journal said minorities are disinterested in military careers, making the higher quota "almost impossible to achieve."

Defence department polling unveiled that most visible minorities consider the military a "last resort" as a career option. 

"They tend to see it as an oblique and arduous pathway to success," pollsters wrote in a 2014 report, Visible Minorities Recruitment And The Canadian Armed Forces

At a National Defence town hall in December, a Saint Mary's social justice professor told public sector executives their implicit racial biases and white supremacy "completely infected" Canada. 

"White supremacy is a global problem that has completely infected our nation," said Rachel Zellers. "It comes in all shapes and sizes and cleans up real good."

As reported by Blacklock's Reporter, these conversations aim to raise awareness and consciousness "with hopes that a deeper understanding and empathy will lead to a commitment to shift mindsets and behaviours."

In May 2022, the Ministry of National Defence released a report documenting white supremacy as one of the more significant problems plaguing the Canadian military. 

The final 108-page report included a 15-page glossary defining terms such as "ableism," "cisgender," and "invisible disabilities." Its authors accused Canada of being inherently racist, and recommended the adoption of discriminatory hiring practices against monotheistic religions like Christianity.

"The failure of the Defence Team to be representative of Canadian demographics is rooted in the system created by European settlers," the report reads. 

Without corroborating evidence, it also claimed that Canada has "300 active far-right extremist groups" operating in the country.

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