News / Ottawa

Vance becomes first CDS to march in Pride

Chief of defence staff says military must reach out to all communities

Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, right, marches in the Ottawa Capital Pride parade Sunday, the first time a Chief of the Defence Staff has marched in a pride parade.

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Justin Tang / The Canadian Press

Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, right, marches in the Ottawa Capital Pride parade Sunday, the first time a Chief of the Defence Staff has marched in a pride parade.

Canada’s top soldier joined thousands of people in Ottawa, marching in the Capital Pride parade and became the first person in his job to lead the way.

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance marched in Ottawa’s pride parade, the first time a chief, essentially the highest ranking officer in the military, has marched in a parade.

Vance was accompanied by the senior leadership of the armed forces.

“For me being here today is a sign of solidarity and leadership with the people of the armed forces who are from this community,” said Vance following the parade. “It’s sending a signal that we care about our people.”

The forces are also always enlisting new recruits and Vance said he wanted to make it clear to Canadians at large that the military was prepared to welcome anyone who had the skills necessary to wear the uniform.  

“I really want to ensure that people understand that the armed forces is a great place to work and a welcoming environment,” he said. “I want Canadian youth to really seriously consider a career in the armed forces no matter what community you came from.”

He said it was essential for the Canadian Forces reflect Canada’s diversity.

“It’s very important for an armed forces to represent its country through its length and its breadth.”

Vance declined to comment on U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

Canada lifted a ban on the LGBT people serving in the military in 1992 and Vance said the force has had no reason to look back on that decision.

He said since that time, the Canadian military has served in several important conflicts, like Afghanistan and Bosnia and has done so with distinction.

“We are an awesome armed forces and the openly serving LGBTQ community has not hurt us one little bit. It has added to our strength.”
 

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