No charges in Halifax ‘Proud Boys’ incident, servicemen returned to duties: Navy

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HALIFAX — No criminal charges will be laid against five so-called “Proud Boys” who disrupted a Mi’kmaq ceremony in downtown Halifax on Canada Day, the Royal Canadian Navy says.

In a statement, Rear-Admiral John Newton says an investigation has wrapped up with no further actions taken against the members.

The servicemen had been relieved of their duties and re-assigned to other jobs, pending the results of the military police investigation into the incident at a statue of Halifax’s controversial founder Edward Cornwallis.

Newton says one of the servicemen has since left the navy, but the others are being returned to their operational units and regular duties.

He says they displayed “behaviour inconsistent with the values and ethics expected of those in uniform,” and the military has taken appropriate measures to address “individual shortcomings.”

The navy has ensured the servicemen have a clear understanding of the expected ethical behaviours and standards of conduct within the Canadian Armed Forces, he says.

“Any further inappropriate behaviour could result in their termination from the Canadian Armed Forces,” he says.

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The investigation began in early July, a few days after a group of “Proud Boys” confronted Indigenous people gathered in a park for what they described as a sacred rite.

The Armed Forces confirmed five members of the military were involved, and apologized for their actions.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, both condemned the actions of the men.

The “Proud Boys” — known for matching black polo shirts often worn by members — was founded in the U.S. by Gavin McInnes, a Canadian who helped establish Vice Media and is now an outspoken, right-wing political pundit.

The “Proud Boys” call themselves “Western chauvinists.”

In a statement Thursday, the military said the Halifax incident has provided a leadership opportunity for military brass — and the best way to confront and defeat intolerance is through education and training.

“Any action by a Canadian Armed Forces member (in uniform or not) that demonstrates intolerance or shows disrespect towards the people and cultures we value in Canada is completely unacceptable,” it said.

“The Canadian Armed Forces celebrates the contributions that First Nations, Inuit and Metis people have made to Canada and its military.

“The chain of command has taken appropriate measures to address individual shortcomings, intended to drive home a clear understanding of the ethical behaviour and standard of conduct that we demand all our members uphold and maintain.”

It said the Armed Forces view diversity as a source of strength and flexibility.


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