Canada’s wounded warriors are now being told they cannot criticize military leadership if they want to receive medical treatment, a top Canadian newspaper reported Wednesday.
Injured troops are first being told they must sign a form that requires they do not discuss “your views on any military subject” and should not “write anything that might discourage others or make them dissatisfied with their conditions or their employment,” The National Post reported.
A top Canadian military officer, Col. Gerry Blais, director of the nation’s casualty support management, said the form is for troops’ own good.
“The form is there more for the protection of the individuals because unfortunately there are occasions where people, especially when they are suffering from mental health issues, will make comments or become involved in discussions that, later on in the full light of day, they would probably prefer that they had not been involved,” he told the Post.
Mr. Blais said the form is aimed at cutting down comments on Facebook and Twitter, but when questioned by Canadian political leaders, admitted it could also curtail what troops say to the media.
He described the policy as “guidance,” but others have said it is a form of intimidation.
Retired Canadian air force officer Sean Bruyea told The National Post that the policy was “right out of something you would see during the Soviet era.”
Like America’s own Veteran Affairs Department, Canada’s government has been heavily criticized recently for poor handling of medical care for troops.
The Ottawa Citizen first reported about the policy in September, after members of the military leaked a copy of the form in protest of what they say as senior leadership trying to muzzle dissent.