Monday, April 20, 2015

Historian of the Canadian Rangers gagged UPDATE: NOT

The silence of the north
CBC News reports a troubling story today about an unusual number of unexplained deaths among Canadian Rangers, the mostly aboriginal units that assist the regular Canadian forces with northern activities and surveillance.  The deaths are the prime concern, but there's a subtext about academic freedom here.

The Canadian government and the forces are stonewalling the media.  More surprisingly, the radio report declared that CBC news had also been prevented from speaking with a historian who has written about the Canadian Rangers. The CBC website is more specific
The military also blocked CBC from speaking to historian Whitney Lackenbauer, who has written a book on the Rangers. Lackenbauer is also the honorary lieutenant colonel of 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. In an email, the military said Lackenbauer was "not familiar with the whole story."
Whitney Lackenbauer is a professor and chair of the history department at the University of Waterloo. His history, The Canadian Rangers: A Living History was published by UBC Press in 2013, and it's not a little brochure, it's 658 pages.  Lackenbauer is widely published in issues of Arctic sovereignty and security. His Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North: Terrestrial Sovereignty, 1870-1939 was published by University of Calgary Press last fall.

And he is not allowed to talk to the press... because some army flack says he is not familiar?  Friends of academic freedom need a little more information here.

Update, April 21:  I have since had the "more information" and Whitney Lackenbauer has not been gagged.  See the new blog post.

Follow @CmedMoore