Canada Forcing Wounded Vets To Sign Agreement Not To Criticize The Military On Social Media

from the free-speech? dept

Rob Hyndman alerts us to yet another attack on free speech up in Canada. The Canadian Armed Forces are apparently forcing wounded veterans to sign a form promising not to criticize the military on social media. In fact, they’re told they should “discourage others in uniform.” They’re also told not to discuss “your views on any military subject.” Not surprisingly, many of those receiving these forms are not too pleased about it. The military claims that it’s just been designed to “educate” veterans. The statement to the Ottawa Citizen is quite incredible:

In an email to the Citizen, the JPSU denied that the creation of the policy and document was designed to stifle criticism of politicians and senior military staff. It was created “in an effort to educate our members and personnel on what constitutes the appropriate and inappropriate use of social media and the possible ramifications for a CAF member,” the email added.

But, many others quoted in the same article note that it goes way beyond an education effort, and is clearly much more of an attempt to stifle free speech and criticism of the military.

Ottawa lawyer and former military officer Michel Drapeau said the form is an obvious attempt to intimidate those who were injured and prevent them from speaking out about ill treatment.

“It’s not illegal but it’s obviously a threat,” said Drapeau, who has represented injured soldiers as they try to get benefits from the federal government. “The criticism about the leadership’s failure to take care of the wounded is obviously hitting home.”

There is, of course, a fine line — especially with military personnel — about what they can and should communicate with the rest of the world. But this really does seem like a way to try to silence wounded vets who might have very legitimate criticisms as to how they’ve been treated.

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Comments on “Canada Forcing Wounded Vets To Sign Agreement Not To Criticize The Military On Social Media”

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BS Simon (profile) says:

Is this for Active Duty or Retired?

If this policy is for retired veterans then it is Bad. If the policy is for personnel on active duty then the policy is not unreasonable. (It’s not right. Just legal.) Even the US military has a similar policy. The reason being that being critical of ones chain of command can have a detrimental effect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Options for dealing with the military as a politician

Options for dealing with members of the military who don’t like you if you’re a politician.

1) Change your policies to appeal to military people more.

2) Awkwardly pose for photos with military people who clearly don’t like you (see the video of Bush near the end of his 2nd term posing for a picture with 20+ military people who keep on getting disgusted looks on their faces and slowly back away from him).

3) Silence the military by abusing your power, such as making them sign a contract that says they won’t say bad things about you.

#1 is a good idea, #2 is hilarious in execution and will be replayed constantly on late night comedy talk shows for a while, and #3 is a great way to get them to hate you even more.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have the same advice for the US military I have for the Canadian one.

If you don’t like taking care of the wounded soldiers that put their ass on the line for their country, then don’t make so many of them and you won’t be having this issue.

Those soldiers would not be bitching were they treated right. Trying to cover up the poor handling of wounded vets by trying to stifle their speech says more about the intentions of the military and of politicians not to take care of those who have given their all.

As such citizens as well as currently serving and ex-members of the military should be screaming to high heaven over the lack of taking care of them after they have sacrificed so much.

T says:

Intended “to educate”. What would normally be referred to as indoctrinate but not much is normal these days. This needs exposure. These men and women are the ones being sacrificed for policy and profit, just as Kissinger so shamelessly put it. I don’t expect the MSM to give this story the exposure it deserves so it’s up to us to have the military’s back, just like they have ours. These are brave but loyal people. The bravery doesn’t change. The loyalty will have to. The military should think hard about being loyal to the government as opposed to the people. There is a big difference. The government is not Canada and does not represent Canadians. It represents money. Greed. Peace.

Anonymous Coward says:

The article says they’re not being forced to sign:

If military personnel refuse to sign, a JPSU staff member will indicate on the document the individual has been briefed about the unit?s social media policy.

Although this contradicts the first line which says “The Canadian Forces is requiring … soldiers to sign a form”. It seems like a form of intimidation but maybe it’s not as bad as this writeup makes it seem.

Anonymous Coward says:

i wouldn’t have thought this of Canada. but hey, i didn’t think of it from the USA, but was proven totally wrong. it seems to me that the countries that are condemning the likes of China, N Korea, Iran are, in actual fact, a hell of a lot worse! democracy has been removed from countries simply because certain powerful people want to remain so and having the people become too knowledgeable, too able to send and receive information, is seen as a threat by them and it has to be stopped at all costs!

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