February 24, 2022

Freeland ‘surprised and disturbed’ navy head kept job after golfing with Vance

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says she was “surprised and disturbed” to learn Vice-Adm. Craig Baines will be keeping his job as head of the navy despite a widely condemned decision to go golfing with Gen. Jonathan Vance while the former top solider remains under military police investigation.

The decision that Baines can remain in his post as commander of the Royal Canadian Navy was billed as a chance for him to “redeem himself” by acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre in an internal message to military members on Monday.

Freeland was asked about that decision, and said she doubts women in the military feel comforted to see Baines keeping his position.

READ MORE: Navy head keeping job, must ‘redeem himself’ after golfing with Vance: military head

“I think every single woman in Canada knows after the revelations of recent months that Canadian women in uniform work in a toxic culture. They work in a toxic system which must be changed,” she said, before offering her response “as a Canadian woman.”

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“I was surprised and disturbed by the decision and my immediate thought was, how would I feel if I were a Canadian woman in the armed forces and what would that decision tell me about how seriously my bosses were taking the essential work of transforming the culture of the Canadian Forces?

“I don’t think, if I were wearing a uniform today, I would be reassured by that decision.”

— More to come.

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