Military personnel in Proud Boys incident return to regular duty
No criminal charges or demotions against men who harassed people at Mi’kmaq ceremony in Halifax
By Susan Bradley, CBC News, August 31, 2017
Four of the five Canadian Forces personnel who said they were members of the group the Proud Boys and disrupted a Mi’kmaq ceremony in Halifax on July 1 have been allowed to return to their regular duties.
“The investigation has now been completed, and no criminal charges will be laid,” Rear-Admiral John Newton said in a release Thursday. The men were members of the army and navy.
On July 1, dozens of people were gathered around the statue of Edward Cornwallis in downtown Halifax to mourn the atrocities committed against Indigenous people when a group of five men clad in black polo shirts approached.
The off-duty members were carrying a Canadian Red Ensign flag and announced they were members of “The Proud Boys, Maritime chapter.”
Military investigation completed
Following the incident, five members were relieved of their duties and assigned other jobs during the military investigation into their conduct.
The defence minister and Canada’s top general denounced their behaviour.
At the time, Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of defence staff, called their actions “deplorable” apologized to Canada’s Indigenous people for the “behaviour of a few.”
The investigation was completed in mid-August, but the military did not release the results until Thursday.
In his statement, Newton said none of the men received demotions or were moved as a result of the harassing behaviour.
Warned of possible termination
“With the exception of one individual who has since left the [Canadian Armed Forces], the members are being returned to their operational units and regular duties,” Newton said.
He said the military “has taken appropriate measures to address individual shortcomings, with the intention of ensuring a clear understanding of expected ethical behaviours and standards of conduct.”
The remaining four men were also warned that “further inappropriate behavior could result in their termination from the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Cornwallis, a governor of Nova Scotia, was a military officer credited by the British for founding Halifax in 1749. Later that year, he issued a bounty on the scalps of Mi’kmaq people. There has been ongoing debate over the use of his name on public parks, buildings and street signs.