Mar 06

Landriault, Mathieu et Jean-François Savard (2020), Engagement with Inuit People by the Canadian Military via social media. NAADSN.

Canada’s 2017 defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged emphasized the need for recruiting and retaining underrepresented groups such as Indigenous People in the Canadian Forces. This renewed engagement with Indigenous communities received particular attention in Canada’s North: “As Indigenous communities are at the heart of Canada’s North, we will also work to expand and deepenour extensive relationships with these communities.”

In the digital age, engagement also means engaging meaningfully through social media communication with key constituencies. Messaging via social media in general and Twitter more specifically has to adjust by delivering information differently and building ties on these platforms. In general, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence have engaged meaningfully with Inuit communities: the coordination between the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Rangers as well as the current cooperation with Inuit communities to organize annual military exercises are obvious examples of such engagement. Naturally, face-to-face interactions remain the gold standard in communication. However, social media has brought new channels of communication to engage with constituencies; it is an added tool to reach out to partners and build relationships.

By mentioning, relaying or liking messages of allies, advocates or supportive groups, an organization can foster a healthy interaction rather than deliver information in a unidirectional fashion. These media can also diffuse more widely specific messages reaching the greater public to better raise awareness and promote specific values. Finally, by following partner organizations, mentioning them and forwarding some of their messages, social media can help foster a policy network and connect with like-minded partners.

In this policy brief, we want to summarize evidence documenting how the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have mentioned Inuit issues and People on their different Twitter handles. This evidence can help us figure out if Inuit issues and People find its rightful place on the DND and CAF
Twitter messaging and identify ways in which these organizations can maximize engagement with this key constituency in Canada’s North.

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