By Peter Moon
OTTAWA – Three Canadian Rangers from Northern Ontario have participated in a change of command ceremony that saw the highest ranking Indigenous officer in the Canadian Armed Forces assume command of the army in Ontario.
Brigadier-General Jocelyn Paul, a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation, is the new commander of the army’s 4th Canadian Division. He took command at a ceremony at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
At a reception afterwards, he talked with the three Rangers about growing up on his First Nation’s reserve near Quebec City where he learned to hunt and fish, something he said he looks forward to doing with Rangers when he travels north to visit their communities in the Far North of Ontario. He told them how proud he was of his culture.
“Going into the infantry was like a piece of cake when I started as a reserve soldier,” he told them, “because I was going hunting and fishing all the time when I was growing up on the reserve.”
According to his official biography, General Paul is “a dedicated hunter and fisherman, (who) likes to roam in the Canadian wilderness. He also enjoys playing hockey and golf occasionally, even though he has absolutely no talent for either sport.”
“I enjoyed meeting him, I liked him,” said Master Corporal Emily Beardy of Muskrat Dam. “He talked to us about what the Rangers do and about learning his culture when he was growing up. He used his own language when he talked about his grandmother.”
Master Corporal Beardy participated in the parade along with Corporal Terrence Duncan from Muskrat Dam and Sergeant Charlie Linklater of Sandy Lake. “It was kind of hard having to stand for so long,” she said. “But I enjoyed taking part in it.”
General Paul said he looks forward to visiting Camp Loon next month. The eight-day camp provides advanced leadership training for Junior Canadian Rangers and is held annually in the bush north of Geraldton.
General Paul joined the army as a reservist in 1988 and as a full-time soldier in 1991. For his service in Afghanistan, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross. He is a graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the U.S. Marines’ School of Advanced Warfighting, and the national security program at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.
He replaces Brigadier-General Stephen Cadden as the commander of 4th Canadian Division. General Cadden, who was promoted to major-general, was presented with a ceremonial Canadian Ranger axe as a farewell gift from the Rangers of Northern Ontario.
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)