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Veterans Affairs tightens social media vetting after Nazi gaffe in VE-Day video

Veterans Affairs has reviewed how it approves videos for posting on social media "to ensure rigour and accountability," following an embarrassing incident last May that saw Minister Lawrence MacAulay apologize for a Second World War tribute that "erroneously" included footage of German, not Canadian soldiers.Documents obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act show multiple staff, including managers, copied on messages to review scripts, share drafts and offer feedback during the vetting process for several commemorative videos produced last spring.But none of the bureaucrats on the email chain managed to spot the difference between Nazi and Canadian uniforms in the video commemorating Victory in Europe Day (VE-Day)."While the existing approvals process is sound, it was not properly applied in this case, ultimately contributing to the error," concluded a briefing prepared for the department's deputy minister (and a former chief of the defence staff) Walter Natynczyk. "Staff deeply regret the error," it continued. "They see this as an opportunity to review and re-establish internal roles and responsibilities."CBC News reported on the video bungling on May 9, after sharp-eyed history buffs who saw the video on the department's Twitter account noticed footage of Nazi soldiers laid over the minister's tribute to Canada's war effort. The eagle on the uniforms, the shape of the helmets, the cut of the uniforms: Anyone familiar with the imagery of the Second World War could identify several shots early in the video that were not Canadian soldiers or their Allies, but the German soldiers they were fighting. Watch the video the department deleted: Veterans Affairs pulled this video off social media after it was revealed that instead of showing Canadian troops during the Second World War it was showing soldiers in the German Wehrmacht, the unified Nazi forces in in the Second World War. 0:40Someone in the department saw posts talking about the Nazi images and a manager quickly had the video deleted from Facebook and Twitter."Folks, apologies for the late evening note," reads an email from Natynczyk sent to seven staff at 10:17 p.m. "There seems to be some angst within [Minister MacAulay's office] about D-Day historical footage on our site."'A completely unacceptable mistake'By the next morning, Conservative MP Michael Barrett was chirping that "Liberals marked VE-Day by thanking Nazis for their sacrifice."MacAulay apologized in the House of Commons."This was a completely unacceptable mistake and the video was removed immediately," the minister told question period. "I and the people involved are very concerned, and we are taking steps to make sure this does not happen again."Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay reacts after his department put out an online video celebrating the achievement of Canadian troops during the Second World War that featured Nazi soldiers. 1:11Emails released to CBC News show officials scrambling to do that.By May 14, Natynczyk had signed off on a new approvals process and more staff training.Ministerial videos for posting on Facebook or Twitter are now vetted in two stages. First, draft videos need to pass by two team leaders, two other managers, a "divisional fact-check," the director of publ ...Read more

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