Canadian Rangers sworn in by long distance

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With more than 5000 Canadian Rangers located in 200 remote Northern Canadian communities, the important task of swearing them in can be a difficult thing to do.

Most soldiers are sworn in at a recruiting centre, armoury, military unit, or at a special function. In accordance with military law, their oath of allegiance is administered by a commissioned officer. However, flying a commissioned officer to remote areas to administer a short oath is not practical.

Like many Rangers, Jason Hunter, a security guard and experienced hunter and fisherman, was sworn in while seated next to a speaker telephone in a house in the Cree settlement of Peawanuck, the second most northerly community in Ontario. Sitting next to him in an armchair was Sergeant Matthew Gull, commander of the 21-member local Ranger patrol.

On the other end of the phone was Captain Karl Haupt, an officer at the headquarters of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at CFB Borden, 1257 kilometres south of Peawanuck. Capt Haupt administered the oath over the phone while Sgt Gull acted as a witness. Sgt Gull then presented newly sworn-in Ranger Hunter with his distinctive red Canadian Rangers hoodie and ball cap.

“It’s quite unique, but not unusual, for Canadian Rangers to be sworn-in over the phone like this because of where a lot of them live in remote Northern communities,” said Capt Caryl Fletcher, the officer commanding the Canadian Rangers in Northern Ontario. “It’s not really feasible for a commissioned officer from southern Ontario to make a trip all the way up North, so we do it over the phone. It’s a practical solution to what would otherwise be a problem in the North.”

Records are not kept on how many Rangers are sworn in by phone, but Capt Fletcher estimates that he and other officers at CFB Borden have sworn-in more than 170 Rangers during the last 10 years.

In Northern Ontario, there are 630 Rangers in 23 First Nations communities.

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