Canada considering formal apology to veterans who were sacked for being gay

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Former soldiers launch class-action lawsuit over LGBT ban

Post by Guest on Tue 01 Nov 2016, 16:27

Former soldiers launch class-action lawsuit over LGBT ban

Published Tuesday, November 1, 2016 11:33AM EDT

Two former members of the Canadian military – including a woman from Quebec – are launching class-action lawsuits against the federal government for being discharged due to their sexuality.

A statement of claim filed in Ontario is seeking $600 million in damages for former military and public service members of the LGBTQ community, who were pushed out of government jobs based on their sexual orientation. Another one filed in Quebec is seeking a proportionally similar amount, although no dollar figure has been named.

Martine Roy and Todd Ross want the government to compensate armed forces members “who were investigated, targeted, sanctioned and/or who were discharged or terminated by the Government of Canada because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” a statement of the claim made to the Quebec Superior Court reads.

They made the announcement at Parliament Hill in Ottawa Tuesday morning.

Separate lawsuits are being files because the Quebec legal system is different than in the rest of Canada.

Roy told reporters Tuesday that she admitted her sexual orientation to investigators at the age of 20, after several hours of questioning. "To save myself I told them the truth, and I signed a paper and they released me," she said.
Roy says she was sent to a psychiatrist and initially allowed to continue her career, but was abruptly dismissed four months after signing a new contract.
"At one point they told me that if I was honest they would keep me," she said. "I'm looking for an apology and redress."

Some veterans came forward to CTV Montreal this summer, sharing their stories of being interrogated, mistreated, and forced out of the military under Canadian forces Administrative Order 19-20, which banned gay people in the military.

The order began in the 1950s and was repealed in the 1990s.

Many suffered long-term consequences such as PTSD from the experiences they endured, and received no veterans’ assistance for their conditions.

Lawyer Doug Elliot said he still hoping to reach a negotiated settlement with the federal government.
The class-action lawsuits must be certified in court before they can move forward.

Prime Minister's Office said last week it is still looking into it and conducting a full review of the matter.
There is still no timeline, however, as to what the plans may be.
The full statement from the PMO is as follows:

'As Canadians, we know that protecting and promoting fundamental human rights are an imperative for governments and individuals alike – and this includes gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Our government is committed to equality, and has recently tabled historic legislation to ensure that full protection against discrimination based on an individual's gender identity and expression is included in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
As a society, we have made great strides in securing legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community in Canada – from enshrining equality rights in the Charter to the passage of the Civil Marriage Act. But the fight to end discrimination is not over, and a lot of hard work remains. Canadians know our country is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it.
The government continues to take these issues very seriously, and is conducting a full review of the matter. We do not have a timeline to announce at this stage.’

With a report from's Josh Elliott


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Re: Canada considering formal apology to veterans who were sacked for being gay

Post by Bruce72 on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 04:35

I wish all involved in this lawsuit the best of luck.  Just because the regulations existed to oust them from the military, doesn't make it ok.  We evolve as a society and part of that evolution is addressing the things done wrong in the past.  Otherwise we would just accept every injustice and move on. But we don't, residential schools were wrong, the Nazis were wrong and the list goes on and on.

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Re: Canada considering formal apology to veterans who were sacked for being gay

Post by Teentitan on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 10:37

Well I agree with prawnstar the rules and regs were in place until 1992.

Correct me if I'm wrong here but wasn't there a sexual orientation question on the application to join the CF? So if there was these people lied on application which was another reason for dismissal from the CF.

Look it is 2016 and times have changed but how many times do we have to apologize for what was done before some of us were even born? Also what is going on right now that our grandchildren are going to have to apologize for?
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Re: Canada considering formal apology to veterans who were sacked for being gay

Post by prawnstar on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 10:54

During the Cold War the security threat was real and anyone with a secret or TS clearance was a potential target for foreign agents. I personally know of cases going back to the seventies and eighties. Again I compare this to the BMI days. Because you were fat you got the boot. That was a CFAO as well. Now as we saw in a post on here somewhere a sailor got VAC benefits cause the Navy made him fat. I think the recent settlement with the female RCMP has opened a door. Don't get me wrong those women deserve every penny they get but let's compare apples to apples. Many of those released from the CAF for being a security risk, not being gay. They were in the very early stages of their career during their initial security screening background checks. If they were flagged during this process they were then subject to positive vetting, meaning face to face interviews with the dreaded SIU.

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Military 'purged' LGBTQ

Post by Guest on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 12:26

Military 'purged' LGBTQ
The Canadian Press - Nov 1, 2016 / 5:37 pm

Todd Ross, 47, came out as gay to a stranger.

It was no ordinary stranger, either, but a military interrogator grilling him about his sexual orientation, with Ross strapped to a polygraph machine, seated in a chair facing a two-way mirror, a recording device capturing his confession.

"I had not even come out to myself," Ross, who became suicidal as a result of the 1990 incident, said Tuesday as he began to cry.

"I knew an injustice was done. I knew it was not right."

The story of how Ross was given an honourable discharge — the result of an ultimatum — from the Canadian Armed Forces, where he had served as a naval officer aboard HMCS Saskatchewan in the late 1980s, is contained in the statement of claim for one of two class-action lawsuits being brought against the Liberal government on behalf of LGBTQ people who say they were persecuted and forced out of their military and civil servant jobs.

"We have been waiting patiently for the federal government to take action to address these grievances, but so far we have just had kind words and no action," Doug Elliott, a Toronto-based lawyer and veteran gay rights activist, said Tuesday.

"Our clients are crying out for justice and we can wait no longer."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make a formal apology to people in the LGBTQ community for past discrimination sanctioned by the state, following a government-wide review of the related issues.

That is likely to include those who suffered after the military and federal government began pushing members of the LGBTQ community out of their jobs in the 1950s.

That "purge," as Elliott called it, continued even after homosexual acts were decriminalized in 1969, following a Criminal Code review that saw Pierre Trudeau, who was then justice minister, famously declare: "there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation."

The military did not end its policy banning gay and lesbian people from service until 1992.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the apology will be accompanied by compensation, although the Liberal government has not closed the door on the possibility.

Elliott said the two lawsuits, filed Monday in Montreal and Toronto, are one way to push that conversation along should a negotiated settlement not arise.

The Ontario lawsuit is asking for $600 million in damages, while the Quebec statement of claim does not specify an amount.

Elliott said many of the people who would fall under the lawsuits, which have yet to be certified by a court, are getting older.

"I'm not going to have Mr. Trudeau apologize to a cemetery," Elliott said. "We want people to get help now, and so we can do it in a nice way — in a negotiated settlement — or we can do it in a not-so-nice way, in court."

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan did not directly address the compensation issue when asked about the lawsuit Tuesday.

"Diversity is an operational necessity in the Canadian Armed Forces and we are looking at a wider departmental initiative as a government in terms of how to address this concern, but a lot more work that needs to be done."

Elliott had noted a 2015 report by retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps on sexual misconduct in the Canadian military had said there are still "strains of homophobia" affecting the culture.

"That culture has not changed enough in the military today," he said.


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Re: Canada considering formal apology to veterans who were sacked for being gay

Post by Teentitan on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 15:29

So is Elliot looking for redemption and justice for the LGBTQ who were released prior to 1992 or is he 'threatening' the CF today about homophobia within the ranks?

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Re: Canada considering formal apology to veterans who were sacked for being gay

Post by Guest on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 18:04

Sounds like he's going for 600 million in damages for those released for being gay prior to 92.

Two lawsuits, one in Ontario, the other in Quebec.

I'm sure will hear more on this subject in the near future.

I have nothing against the gay community, but personally when I see them parading out in the public, I can't help but think it's taken it overboard, not to mention looking for trouble.

I don't parade out in public with my girlfriend, how often do you see couples parading themselves in public showing the whole world they are happily in love?

To each their own I guess.


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Drag queen says Remembrance Day wreath a statement on LGBTQ service

Post by Guest on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 06:01

Drag queen says Remembrance Day wreath a statement on LGBTQ service

More from Postmedia News
Published on: November 2, 2016 | Last Updated: November 2, 2016 8:45 PM MDT

Mz. Rhonda poses for a photo at home in Calgary, Alta., on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Mz. Rhonda will make history on Nov. 11 when she'll mark the first time a drag queen has laid a wreath during Remembrance Day ceremonies in Calgary, intended to honour gay service members past and present. Lyle Aspinall/Postmedia Network LYLE ASPINALL LYLE ASPINALL / LYLE ASPINALL/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

He’s chosen an all-black outfit, out of respect — but when Ron Eberly changes into the dress, shawl and hat, he plans to make a statement.

When the drag queen approaches the Memorial Park cenotaph to lay a wreath the morning of Nov. 11, Eberly will be Mz. Rhonda, his alter ego and an outspoken LGBTQ activist who wants to make history by honouring the gay men and women who gave their lives fighting for Canada.

“I’m going as Mz. Rhonda because Rhonda is a gay activist, the one who speaks at schools and at churches,” says Eberly, an ordained pastor.

“Yes, I could go as Ron, but that’s not making a loud enough statement.”

The 59-year-old married Calgarian is a champion of gay rights. In 2012, Eberly went on a speaking tour of churches, schools, workplaces and seniors homes around the province, where Mz. Rhonda offered a personal account of gay bashing and homophobia in Calgary.

Eberly says the wreath-laying, endorsed by Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, is not meant to anger veterans or disrupt the Remembrance Day service, but to pay respect to people who haven’t always been able to represent themselves in the military, due to intolerance.

The Canadian military spent more than a century as an organization where homosexuality was not only outlawed, but grounds for immediate dishonourable discharge.

That finally changed in 1992, when the ban on non-heterosexual soldiers was lifted. But Eberly says there’s been no honouring the gay men and women forced to hide their sexuality for fear of bullying and disgrace.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the culture of military, and what they went through,” says Eberly. “They weren’t allowed to speak up for themselves.”

Eberly says Mz. Rhonda will offer nothing but respect.

“I have a black dress, a wrap and hat, and I will be conservative and respectful. I’ll show the utmost reverence,” says Eberly, who hopes others in the LGBTQ community attend too.

When the wreath dedicated to gay soldiers is laid at the cenotaph, Eberly says it will be a historic recognition.

“As far as I know, it will be the first time in Canada, and certainly the first time in Calgary.”

Officials connected to Calgary Remembrance Day services have told Eberly he’s welcome to place a wreath, just like anyone else from the LGBTQ or any other community.

Susan MacCauley, general manager of Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 1 in downtown Calgary, echoes that sentiment.

“We live in a new world, and they have a right to be there, the same as you and I,” says MacCauley.

Eberly has found support at the highest level in Ottawa, and Hehr told Postmedia he hopes the drag queen wreath-bearer is welcomed like any other person.

“It is well known that I have long been a strong proponent of LGBTQ rights in Calgary and in Canada,” said Hehr in an email.

“As a member of Parliament or even as a cabinet minister, I do not have the authority nor do I intervene in who is invited to events held by third-party organizations. I do hope that members of all communities are included and welcome to participate in national celebrations, commemorations and events without fear of prejudice or discrimination.”

Hehr acknowledged the role LGBTQ Canadians have played in the military.

“As a nation, we are stronger when we stand together, especially when we reflect on and pay tribute to the sacrifices that our men and women, many who have been LGBTQ, have made to ensure the safety and security of this great country,” he said.


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DND face class-action lawsuit over alleged treatment of gays, lesbians

Post by Guest on Fri 09 Dec 2016, 17:19

Military, DND face class-action lawsuit over alleged treatment of gays, lesbians

'There was a constant aura of intimidation and fear within the forces for anyone who was gay or lesbian'

By Jack Julian, CBC News Posted: Dec 08, 2016 6:30 AM AT Last Updated: Dec 08, 2016 6:30 AM AT

Halifax lawyer John McKiggan filed the claim Wedneday on behalf of representative plaintiff Alida Satalic.

A Halifax lawyer has launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of homosexual members of the Canadian Forces and employees of the Department of National Defence who say they were targeted by the military because of their sexual orientation while serving in Atlantic Canada.

"There was a constant aura of intimidation and fear within the forces for anyone who was gay or lesbian. Because they knew that if ... their sexual orientation became public, they were at risk of being terminated," said John McKiggan, founding partner of the Halifax law firm McKiggan Hebert.

McKiggan filed the claim yesterday at the Federal Court in Halifax on behalf of representative plaintiff Alida Satalic.

An email from a Canadian Armed Forces official said DND was aware of the lawsuit.

"As the claim has only recently been served, the details are being reviewed to determine the next steps," wrote Major Alexandre Munoz, chief media operations.

'Not Advantageously Employable' release

According to court documents, Satalic joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1981 at CFB Cornwallis in Deep Brook, N.S., and served at CFB Borden, CFB Trenton and CFB Greenwood.

While working as a postal clerk at CFB Trenton, Satalic was interrogated by the Special Investigation Unit.

"They interrogated her in graphic detail, humiliating her and intimidating her," McKiggan said. "She was forced to undergo a humiliating medical examination to determine that she met the military's definition of a homosexual."

According to the lawsuit, after admitting her sexual orientation, Satalic was given the option of staying in the military with no further training or promotions, or a release from service as "Not Advantageously Employable."

She accepted the release in January of 1989 and re-enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1993.

Career, earnings impact

The statement of claim says Satalic suffered impacts to her career trajectory, earnings and pension.

It also says her experience affected her sense of self-worth, and has left her with anxiety, anger and fear of additional discrimination.

Through her lawyer, Satalic declined to comment to CBC News.

Through Satalic's claim, McKiggan hopes to certify a class action that includes military members and civilian DND employees with similar experiences.

The lawsuit spans the years 1969 to 1995, and applies to anyone who served in Atlantic Canada.

Canada decriminalized homosexual sex in 1969.

By 1995, McKiggan says the Canadian Forces had given up investigating the sexual orientation of its members.

$150 million lawsuit

The lawsuit is claiming $100 million for the federal government's breach of duty of care, fiduciary duty and violation of charter rights, plus a further $50 million in punitive damages.

"In our view, the losses that these men and women who just wanted to serve their country have suffered is incalculable. So the number that we've claimed is simply to reflect what we believe to be the magnitude of the losses that these people have suffered," McKiggan said.

McKiggan says he's been researching the case for six years, and has spoken to dozens of former CAF members who faced discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

He says it's difficult to determine how many people the class action will include, because it captures members who kept their sexual orientation secret for fear of losing their jobs.

But he estimates it could be more than 1,000 people in the Atlantic provinces alone.

Template for national settlement

McKiggan has considerable experience with large class-action lawsuits against the federal government.

He represented Mi'kmaq elder Nora Bernard, who was the first aboriginal person in Canada to sue the federal government for abuse and cultural losses experienced in the Canada's residential school system.

That contributed to an eventual national negotiation of a $1.9 billion settlement for all residential school survivors.

McKiggan believes this lawsuit could serve as a template for a larger national settlement.

He notes that class-action lawsuits have already been filed in other provinces for discrimination faced by homosexual military members, federal civil servants and the RCMP.

"The nature of the discrimination and the practices are very clearly identified within the military, so I think using the military claims as a stepping stone to a resolution of the broader claims is a manageable way to address it with the courts," he said.


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