Petawawa Diversity Festival celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion

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By Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

Diversity in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) brings with it a strength that allows members to distinguish themselves both on and off the battlefield.

The Garrison Petawawa Cultural and Diversity Festival held in March celebrates these differences, shining a spotlight on the four subgroups of the Petawawa Diversity and Employment Equity Advisory Group (PDEEAG), which includes women, aboriginal people, people with disabilities, visible minorities, and the LGBTQI2S community. 

Speakers from each subgroup shared their experiences in the CAF after the opening ceremonies, which began with a traditional Indigenous smudging by Algonquins of Pikwakanagan Knowledge Keeper, Willy Dick, and a performance by author, singer and composer Jean Miso who sang O Canada in Oji-Cree, French and English, accompanied by sign language interpretation. Following this, visitors were invited to explore several exhibits laid out in Dundonald Hall.

The festival “celebrates those strengths that we find from our diversity and brings it to our soldiers to educate them,” said PDEEAG Champion Lieutenant-Colonel Darcy Wright, 4th Canadian Division Support Base Petawawa Personnel Services Commanding Officer.

He noted that in any homogenized organization there is a risk of ‘groupthink’ – the practice of making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility. By having other entities and viewpoints, one becomes stronger and better at solving problems.

“I believe that diversity is our strength and it’s something we really need to cherish,” said LCol Wright.

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