Canadian spy agency’s frat house atmosphere revealed in new report
A trenchant review of the Toronto office of Canada’s spy agency has painted a picture of nothing short of a college frat house,than a government’s intelligence-gathering agency.
According to the said findings, the agency is said to be in desperate need of leadership as the conduct within the agency is said to be worse than imaginable. To make matters worse, employees who decide to speak out face reprisals for their snitchy actions.
Former employees who had at one point served in the Toronto region for more than two years referred to the past as an “old boys club” with degrading behaviour which included swearing, misogynistic and offensive comments about fellow employees, even by supposed managers;
Weekly drinking by the “cool group” during office hours or at designated pubs where decisions as delicate as staffing were made.
It was reported that some employees were seemingly intolerant and judgmental towards their fellow employees, and managers “do nothing to stop the character assassination and back stabbing that occurs.”CSIS director David Vigneaulthad this to say with regards this report which took him aback“As I have stated previously, CSIS does not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or bullying under any circumstances.” Some however argue that this statement is far from the truth asVigneault is relatively new in the job but CSIS and its managers have tolerated harassment, discrimination and bullying for a very long period of time.There was a report of a number of intelligence officers in the Toronto office who came forth some years ago to lay complaint about this type of behaviour but wereignored as the CSIS managers simply denied the existence of the problem.
Earlier in this year 2017, another group of five intelligence officers and analysts filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court for claims ranging frombullying and harassment while working at the spy agency.What type of harassment you might ask. Here is an actual quote from a manager at the Toronto office to an intelligence officer who happened to be gay and has a Muslim partner. “Careful your Muslim in-laws don’t behead you in your sleep for being homo.”
It is quite unfortunate that these negative vices in the society exist even within sensitive spheres like the spy agency. It is even more unfortunate, that the Department of Justice (which reports to Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould) seem to be of dragging its heels on the lawsuit.
Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star reported onhow Federal judge Simon Noel slammed the Canadian government for its nonchalance towards the lawsuit. “You can’t act as if the Court is not there,” Justice Noël told Department of Justice lawyers during a teleconferencecall about the case September 2017.
“(T)here is a course of action to be followed and you are no different from any other parties in Canada,” Noël told the Justice lawyers in regard to the government’s delay in filing a statement of defence to the lawsuit. “It is not because you are the Attorney General of Canada that you can act as if the Rules do not apply. This is not acceptable.”
We all are quite hopeful as to what might happen next; pundits however claim that not much will be done in the wake of this lawsuit, as the report suggests that CSIS managers as well as staff in the Toronto office engaged in the dubious conduct.
If indeed the rot is that pervasive, it would most likely require the removal of a part of CSIS management and no bureaucratic organization would want that or would allow that.