Canadian Forces members accused of posting libellous comments on Facebook
Transgender B.C. woman and former member of Forces says she has been target of online attacks
Canadian military police have arrested two members of the Canadian Forces based in Petawawa, Ont., for alleged inappropriate Facebook activity.
The Department of National Defence said military police started to investigate allegations of “defamation and inappropriate comments” on a Facebook page titled “Cpl Bloggins” in early January.
The two members were arrested on Jan. 22, the department added, but charges have not yet been laid.
“They were arrested for defamatory libel under the National Defence Act pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada and use of improper comments under the Military Code of Service Discipline,” the department said. “The identity of the two CAF members arrested is protected under the Privacy Act.”
DND said military police also launched a new, separate investigation earlier this month after receiving “a subsequent complaint of alleged defamation and inappropriate comments posted on another Facebook page, also titled ‘Cpl Bloggins.’”
Some online users have complained the Facebook page is a space for homophobic and sexist content.
The complaints centre around Katherine Bickford, a transgender woman and former member of the Canadian military based near Comox, B.C.
Bickford, whose partner is a current member of the Canadian Forces, said the people behind the Facebook page have targeted her, releasing her personal information and making derogatory comments about her sexuality.
Bickford believes she has become a target because she publicly raised concerns about the nature of posts being made on the newer Cpl Bloggins page.
“We are fearful for ourselves here,” Bickford said in a telephone interview with CBC News. “I do regret that I ever heard of this page but I don't regret what I did, I did what was right. I would do it again.”
Bickford said activity has continued on the second Facebook page, despite the recent arrests made at CFB Petawawa.
DND said it takes all allegations seriously regarding inappropriate activity involving members.
“In all cases, investigations are conducted to determine the facts, analyze the evidence, and if warranted, lay appropriate charges,” the department said.
Military police continue to investigate.