Defence minister Bill Blair announced this week the establishment of the Canadian Military Colleges Review Board and named the five “external education and culture experts” and the two Department of National Defence-employed members who will make up the board. They are charged with making recommendations to the Department of Defence in response to two of Louise Arbour’s recommendations (No. 28 and the first part of No. 29) which she made in her report titled Independent External Comprehensive Review, issued in May 2022.
More specifically, the board will assess whether Canada’s two Royal Military Colleges, RMC Kingston and RMC Saint-Jean, should continue providing education to officer candidates or be eliminated in favour of educating them at civilian institutions.
“The military colleges appear as institutions from a different era, with an outdated and problematic leadership model,” were one of the conclusions Arbour included in her report. “There are legitimate reasons to question the wisdom of maintaining the existence of these military colleges, as they currently exist.”
Arbour served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Canada and also served as the UN Commissioner of Human Rights and as the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals that dealt with Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
According to Blair’s press release, the civilian board members include a “young adult socialization expert”, a “culture evolution expert”, an “executive expert”, and an executive from within the DND. The sole military representative is a Canadian Army colonel who graduated from RMC Kingston. The board’s chairwoman is Kathy Hogarth, PhD (Social Work).
“The review of the Canadian military colleges will enable meaningful culture change at these institutions and is an important milestone in our work to build a Canadian Armed Forces where all members feel protected, respected, and empowered to serve,” said Blair.
The board has one year to submit its report.