Research center calls for resignation of retired general behind speech

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A veterans chronic pain research organization has demanded and won the resignation of a retired general over a controversial speech criticizing government and Canadian Forces policies.

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The Chronic Pain Center of Excellence for Canadian Veterans initially announced Nov. 10 that the retired Lt. Gen. Michel Maisonneuve, who sat on its board of directors, will lead the organization’s fundraising campaign.

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The previous night, Maisonneuve had received a standing ovation from senior Canadian military officers for a speech in which he criticized everything from the removal of historic statues and apologies to victims to government policies on climate change. The speech also challenged the new policy of the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Wayne Eyre, who recently made changes to military dress regulations to include beards and hair coloring, and to give women and men more options in the choice of uniforms.

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Although he initially stood by Maisonneuve after his controversial remarks, the center has now announced that he has parted ways with the retired general.

He released a statement Nov. 25 that said Dr. Ramesh Zacharias, the organization’s CEO, « requested and received, on behalf of the board, the resignation of Lt. Gen. (Retired) JO Michel Maisonneuve. »

The Chronic Pain Center of Excellence for Canadian Veterans offered no explanation as to why it called for Maisonneuve’s resignation. « We have no further comment on the statement made on our website, » spokeswoman Lauren O’Grady said.

Maisonneuve told this newspaper that he had no comment.

The Hamilton center received funding from Veterans Affairs Canada, but would ask Maisonneuve to lead an initiative to raise funds from businesses and other groups.

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In May 2020, the federal government announced it was working with McMaster University to launch the new center to conduct research and help improve the well-being of Canadian Armed Forces Veterans with chronic pain. The government announced funding of $20 million over five years.

Maisonneuve’s speech upon accepting a supreme defense award in Ottawa divided the military community. Some retired military personnel, upset by the crackdown on sexual misconduct and charges against several senior officers for sexual assault as well as “wake-up” policies and lack of defense funding, saw it as a rebuke from the government liberal.

Maisonneuve also complained about social media, cancel culture and a society « lost in these days of rights, Me First, not my problem and endless grants and donations ».

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He also criticized the apologies issued to various groups. « Today’s world is also one where taking personal responsibility for our own actions has faded from the landscape as the phenomenon of collective apologies flourishes in our country, » he told an audience of 600 people. « coat ».

Defense Minister Anita Anand apologized last year to those who suffered sexual assault and harassment in the Canadian Forces.

Trudeau has apologized to residential school students as well as Indigenous groups for the abuses and deaths that occurred in that system. He also apologized for Canada’s decision in 1939 to deny asylum to 900 German Jews fleeing the Nazis, 254 of whom died in the Holocaust.

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Trudeau recently apologized for the systemic anti-black racism that members of the 2nd Construction Battalion endured before, during and long after World War I.

Maisonneuve also criticized the judgment of historical leaders « by today’s standards. Enough statues have been knocked down; erasing our history is not the solution.

A number of local governments have removed statues of Sir John A Macdonald due to his involvement in the creation of the residential school system.

Additionally, Maisonneuve complained about government policies on climate change. “Canada’s prosperity is being sacrificed on the altar of climate change instead of being used to help the global transition to clean energy,” he added.

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Some defense analysts pointed to the speech as further evidence that Canada’s military culture is in desperate need of change. Thomas Juneau, a former National Defense analyst, wrote on Twitter that Maisonneuve’s speech « was an embarrassment and a good illustration of the culture of entitlement that has led to the systematic abuse of power in the upper ranks of the military. » .

Others who experienced sexual assault while serving in the Canadian Forces expressed disappointment at the reaction of serving officers and military cadets in the room. « They keep saying survivors need to be brave enough to report their rapists, report their abusers and stalkers and trust the system, » tweeted sexual assault survivor Donna Riguidel, a retired major. « And they don’t even have the moral courage to come out of a damn speech.

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Vice Chief of the Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Frances Allen and Lt. Gen. Jennie Carignan, Chief Ethics and Culture Officer, was among the senior officers present at the speech.

Allen declined to comment.

Carignan’s office posted a tweet on Nov. 15 thanking Maisonneuve for his military service but also noting, « we also fundamentally disagree with the statements made at this year’s Vimy Gala in Ottawa.

Eyre declined to comment on the speech.

Anand did not comment directly on the speech, but noted in a statement that she was “clear that my top priority is to build an army where all members feel safe, protected and respected. I expect members of the Canadian Armed Forces to uphold the values ​​of Canada and its Armed Forces, including diversity, inclusion and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

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Maisonneuve delivered his speech as he accepted the Vimy Award, which honored him for his lifelong contributions to defence, including his work on military education, support for veterans as well as his commitment to bilingualism. .

During his speech, Maisonneuve also lambasted leaders who he said divide rather than unite. Without specifically naming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Hillary Clinton, Maisonneuve said, « Can you imagine a military leader calling half his command deplorable, fringe radicals, and nobodies, and then expecting do they fight together?

Conservative MPs, anti-vaxxers, right-wing commentators and those who supported protests that blocked border crossings and occupied downtown Ottawa earlier this year have all hit out at Trudeau for his comments about protesters. Trudeau called the protest groups that descended on Ottawa a “marginal minority” who held “unacceptable views” that did not represent the majority of Canadians.

US presidential candidate Hilary Clinton in 2016 called Donald Trump supporters deplorable, noting that they expressed racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic views.

Maisonneuve said in his speech that Canada is no longer considered a serious country.

  1. Retired Lt. Gen. Michel Maisonneuve slammed everything from the removal of historic statues and apologies to victims to government policies on climate change in a speech he gave after accepting a defense award Nov. 9 during of a gala in Ottawa.

    Canadian Forces officers applaud speech criticizing Canada’s climate change policies, quashing culture and weak leaders

  2. Chief of the Defense Staff, General Wayne Eyre

    Military attrition hits highest level in 15 years, warns prepared briefing for generals

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