APTN National News
Canada’s military’s chief of defence staff says the five members of the “proud boys” group that interfered with a Mi’kmaq ceremony in Halifax have been suspended from their duties and face an internal investigation that could see their career in the military end.
“What happened in Halifax over the weekend is deplorable, and Canadians should rest assured my senior leadership is seized of the matter,” said General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff in a statement released Tuesday. “The members involved will be removed from training and duties while we conduct an investigation and review the circumstances.
“Their future in the military is certainly in doubt.”
On Canada Day, five members of the military, including members of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian army interrupted a Mi’kmaw ceremony at a statue of controversial Nova Scotia governor Edward Cornwallis.
A video of the incident shows five men interacting with spectators at the ceremony.
“This is a British colony,” one of the men says in the video. “You’re recognizing the heritage and so are we.”
In the video, one of the spectators appears to hold an upside-down Canadian flag, which someone implies has been marked with the word “decolonize.”
A voice is heard on the video saying that “this was Mi’kmaq territory – it is now Canada.”
Asked if the group is associated with an organization, one of the men in the video says, “The Proud Boys, Maritime chapter.”
The Proud Boys Canadian Chapters Facebook page says they are “a fraternal organization of Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world” and do not discriminate on the basis of race or sexuality.
A witness to the interaction says the men kept their voices down as the ceremony continued and left after about 10 minutes.
A person close to one of the individuals involved in the incident, who agreed to speak to The Canadian Press on the condition that their identity not be revealed, said the men were on a pub crawl on Saturday.
“I detest any action by a Canadian Armed Forces member that is intended to show disrespect towards the very people and cultures we value in Canada,” said Vance. “We are the nation’s protectors, and any member of the Canadian Armed Forces who is not prepared to be the defender we need them to be will face severe consequences, including release from the forces.”
– with files from the Canadian Press