The Department of National Defence (DND) is failing in the goal to recruit more women and more visible minorities into the forces. DND raised their targets for recruitment in 2010.
Their targets are for 25 percent of the force to be made up of women, around 12 percent to be visible minorities and just under 3.5 percent Aboriginals. According to CBC, the forces now have just over 14 percent women, not quite 5 percent visible minorities and 2.12 percent Aboriginals.
This is especially problematic since the youngest population of Canadians is Aboriginal and immigration is growing all the time. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence says they are pushing for these targets because it is important to have the make up of the forces represent the demographics of the country.
Meanwhile, DND recently put together ads to try and attract more Aboriginal youth into service. They spent approximately $53,000 doing testing of the ads and the company they paid came back with some bad news. The ads, they were told, were “offensive to the point of being comical.”
The ads failed to recognize the different accents and dialects of Aboriginal language. Reportedly one of the ads compared traditional canoe-building with serving on a naval ship. The six focus groups that were made up of First Nations, Inuit and Métis told a representative from Corporate Research Associates Inc. that the ads reinforced negative stereotypes. They also said that in some cases the language translation didn’t match the English text and that the wrong dialect was used in at least one case.
Whether the issues facing the RCMP and their traditionally white male environment will have any effect on DND recruitment of women remains to be seen. Also, the treatment of veterans by the current government could sway people away from signing up.
Photo Credit: Western Sentinel
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