Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan says data shows a spike in sexual misconduct cases in December
The commander in charge of reforming the Canadian Armed Forces' culture says military leaders are considering limiting alcohol consumption at holiday events.
Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan said Thursday the force is now tracking the link between drinking and misconduct and identified a "spike" in sexual misconduct cases in "the December time frame."
Carignan said that information has "prompted military leaders" to consider "preventative measures" during holiday periods when "we have more events where people come together."
"For example, there will be a time at which alcohol can be served. People would be asked to reduce, to have one drink," said Carignan.
"So leaders are taking this into consideration as they are designing their events and social events."
Carignan, the chief of professionalism and conduct in the military, is in the midst of a five-year campaign to combat sexual misconduct by overhauling the Canadian Forces' culture.
Her campaign started two years ago during a sexual misconduct crisis that saw an unprecedented number of senior leaders swept up in scandal at the same time.
Since 2021, more than a dozen current and former senior Canadian military officers have been sidelined, investigated or forced into retirement from some of the most powerful and prestigious posts in the defence establishment.
Most misconduct happens off-base: Carignan
CBC News asked Carignan if the military has a problem with alcohol. She said the Canadian Armed Forces is in the process of "assessing" the data.
She said the data so far shows that most incidents of military sexual misconduct happen off-base when those involved are not taking part in military operations.
"We are learning that in some periods of the year there are spikes, which now prompts our leaders to take the necessary action to prevent," said Carignan.
When asked if the military is considering going dry or imposing a Forces-wide ban on alcohol at all military events, Carignan said "we do have those conversations, of course, regularly." She didn't commit to implementing a ban of any kind.
In 2014, then-vice admiral Mark Norman announced a ban on alcohol consumption onboard navy ships following three incidents of misconduct — except during special occasions or when ships are docked.
More to come …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Burke is a senior reporter with the CBC's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa who focuses on enterprise journalism for television, radio and digital platforms. She was recognized with the Charles Lynch Award and was a finalist for the Michener Award for her exclusive reporting on the toxic workplace at Rideau Hall. She has also uncovered rampant allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian military. You can reach her confidentially by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.cbc.ca/securedrop/
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