Canadian soldiers warned not to use ‘Rank My Sarge’ website


Canadian soldiers participating in advanced amphibious training n Halifax, July 30, 2013.

OTTAWA — Canadian Army commanders are warning troops they could be punished if they post comments on a new Internet site that allows military personnel to rank their fellow soldiers.

An email sent Oct. 28 by Brig.-Gen. Karl McQuillan, chief of staff of land operations at the army’s Ottawa headquarters, takes issue with the website Rank My Sarge, which he says is hosted anonymously on an American-based server.

“The site currently contains comments which vilify and demean a number of Canadian Armed Forces members, including currently serving members of the Canadian Army,” McQuillan wrote. His email was forwarded to the Ottawa Citizen.

The webpage has since disappeared but there is a Facebook Rank My Sarge page that reproduces some of the postings.

“Anonymously insult or compliment your fellow soldier,” it notes. “Award them for having a medal for being a brown noser, having a hot wife, or simply having a stupid moustache.” The message was posted by “Sgt. Slander.”

The Facebook page has listings for three Canadian soldiers and one British corporal who, it is claimed, hit a recruit in the groin with a stick. Another individual highlighted is a civilian nurse at the military base in Edmonton who is facing charges for allegedly trafficking steroids.

Similar websites have been set up allowing members of the public to anonymously rank or post comments about their university professors and doctors.

“The posting of such inappropriate comment by our members contravenes various regulations and requirements,” McQuillan stated in his email to officers. Those include rules about “improper comments” which point out that no officer or non-commissioned member shall do anything that, if seen or heard by the public, might discredit the Canadian Forces or any of its members.

The general also pointed out another military message about blogs and Internet communication, which stated that Canadian Forces members are to consult with the commanders before publishing military-related imagery and information to the Internet.

“I would ask you to remind everyone in your command of these policies,” McQuillan stated. “And that violation of them can have serious consequences, including disciplinary procedures and administrative actions.”

‘The Canadian Army holds its soldiers to the highest standards of decorum and professionalism’

But Michel Drapeau, an Ottawa lawyer and retired military officer, said there is little the senior army leadership can do unless they can identify those posting the comments.

“They could charge them if they could find them, but it would be unusually difficult as is most anything on the Internet,” said Drapeau, a retired army colonel. “Technically, if they were in Canada they could get a court order to get the service provider to provide computer addresses. But it’s not likely to take place if this is in the U.S.”

Drapeau said army leaders could try to appeal to the professionalism of soldiers, pointing out that posting such material is not part of “good soldiering.”

Doug Drever, the army’s senior public affairs adviser, did not answer the Citizen’s question on what specifically the army could do if those posting are anonymous.

Drever noted the army recently sent out the regulations dealing with improper comments as well as the guidance about posting on blogs.

“Regardless of the circumstances or medium involved, the Canadian Army holds its soldiers to the highest standards of decorum and professionalism as outlined in the Code of Service Discipline,” he stated in an email.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Forces told physically and mentally wounded soldiers to sign a form acknowledging they wouldn’t criticize senior officers on social media outlets or discourage others in uniform with their comments on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The form, given to military personnel who are transferred to the Joint Personnel Support Unit, was sent to the Citizen by military members upset with what they see as a threat against speaking out about the failure of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces to take care of the wounded.

The Joint Personnel Support Unit, or JPSU, was created to help the wounded and oversee support centres across the country.

But in August the Citizen revealed that the organization is rife with problems, with soldiers and staff speaking out about the lack of resources and concerns that some of the support centres are dysfunctional.

Some of the wounded and their families have also spoken out publicly about the failure of the military and government leadership to help those injured in the service of their country. In addition, veterans are becoming more vocal in online chat rooms about their treatment.

In an email to the Citizen, the JPSU denied that the creation of the policy and document was designed to stifle criticism of politicians and senior military staff. It was created “in an effort to educate our members and personnel on what constitutes the appropriate and inappropriate use of social media and the possible ramifications for a CAF member,” the email added.

Postmedia News


Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre

At first glance, it sounds like a good idea, but then you need to remember that often in the Military, there are officers who never get a complaint and there are others who get lots of complaints.

Often the very worst personality disorders get "transferred out" , to "get rid of them" because the solution is to "promote them" to get them to "go away" rather than deal with the problem further up the ranks.

Officers are also entitled to justice and a presumption of innocence, however when complaints become obvious, they are often ignored or swept under the table.

The Canadian Military like many other government departments or professions such as Lawyers and Judges, spends little in the way of resources in mental health and personality screening.

There is nothing worse than finding someone with absolute power, abusing that power. The solution is to carefully screen new hires in these professions to remove the 50% of the population who are guaranteed by their personality to abuse absolute power.

On the plus side, if you have a reasonable personality and a good reputation, it is possible to diplomatically and appropriately draw attention to a problem officer and there should be, in theory no need to use a dangerous "rank my sarge site".

Such a site will become the weapon of choice for vindictive ex-spouses and those with personality disorders.