Issued October 5, 2021
Today, It’s Not Just 700, a grassroots volunteer peer support group for those who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma in the Canadian Armed Forces, was shocked to read an article in the news that Major General Dawe has been appointed to review recommendations of Former Justice, Louise Arbour’s report on Military Sexual Misconduct.
To say our Community of persons impacted by MST is disappointed in General Eyre’s decision to appoint MGen Dawe to this position, is a gross understatement.
This decision clearly illustrates an inability to think rationally about the MST file and the challenges it presents. It also undermines the efforts of the Community harmed, their families, and the members of the CAF who go to work each day to serve Canada and work hard to bring about culture change.
Additionally this decision also perpetuates the perspective that the senior officers are more concerned with taking care of each other at the expense of others. A damaging perspective that further erodes trust at a time the Community felt their lived experiences and the judicial reports were finally being validated.
Once his letter was submitted to influence the sentencing outcome of a convicted sex offender, Major General Dawe, while not having done anything legally wrong, has clearly shown his disregard for legal due process, and a lack of understanding of the additional pain he would cause to the Schamuhn family.
In turn, this also caused further harm to the many thousands of those who have been brave enough to come forward with their reports of Military Sexual Trauma in hopes of finding justice and peace.
As a Community, we have no choice but to wonder how MGen Dawe can possibly make unbiased report recommendations. While he may have the technical skills to do this job, the plethora of messages we have received, and tweets posted indicate that he does not have the trust of those still serving, and he certainly does not have the trust of those that have been traumatized as a result of military sexual misconduct.
So in our mission to provide a voice for our Community of persons impacted by military sexual trauma, we must ask:
1. Usually General rank appointments are a public announcement with a congratulatory message; so how come the appointment was not announced in the usual manner and only became known to all when reported by the media?
2. Why isn’t LGen Carignan, Chief of the newly formed Professional Conduct and Culture leading the review?
3. Was any thought given to the negative impact on morale and well-being of persons impacted by MST and their loved ones by appointing someone who has clearly defended and supported a convicted military sex offender?
4. Will MGen Dawe engage in Restorative Sessions in order to ensure he has the full picture and better understanding of the importance and weight the judicial reviews carry?
These and so many more questions need answers before any review and recommendations made can be believed as having sincere understanding and credibility. Furthermore, it must be clear, that while we are extremely disappointed in this decision, INJ700 remains committed to those stakeholders who continue to engage in the dialogue necessary to help bring about Culture Change in the Canadian Forces and to facilitate continued healing to the Community harmed.
Sam Samplonius CD
Co-Chairperson Communications, Policy and Governance