Toronto (September 29, 2020) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) applauds the Canadian Army for a path-breaking new directive aimed at combating hate within its ranks.
The directive, issued directly by Army Commander Lt.-Gen Wayne Eyer and sent to units across the country, states in unequivocal terms that hateful conduct and activity among service members represents a threat to the integrity and reputation of the army as well as to its ability to fulfill its mission as a protector and defender of the Canadian people. The directive instructs all army personnel to report to their superiors any hateful activity they either observe or become aware of, noting that failure to report these activities will now be considered an act of complicity. According to the directive, all reported incidents of hateful conduct are now expected to be followed by an “immediate and decisive” response by the army’s commanding officers, including a detailed investigation and legal and/or disciplinary action if required.
The new Army directive follows months of active outreach efforts by FSWC regarding its ongoing concerns with military service members linked to white supremacist groups. FSWC has been engaged in dialogue with the Minister of National Defence, the Army and other branches of the Armed Forces regarding measures that can be implemented to prevent and combat hate and extremism in the military.
“We very enthusiastically welcome this directive as a major step towards combating hate and extremism within the Canadian Army, and we look forward to seeing other branches of the Armed Forces taking similar action. This new directive sends a strong message that members involved in extremist, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups have no place in the Army and that their activities will no longer go unnoticed or unaddressed,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “While we applaud both the substance and tone of the directive, at the end of the day we want to see action and results – we will continue to monitor developments and engage with the Army to ensure the policy is implemented fully and that those members affiliated with hate organizations are quickly identified, brought to justice and removed from service.”