Weasel World: Bullied by Battista? A CDAI sluggo’s tale

I see Tony Battista, supremely unpleasant supremo of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute (Franks passim), continues his multilateral charm offensive.

The CDA Institute, readers will recall, is a “non-partisan” clutch of military old boys, which clamours incessantly for fatter military budgets, and reliably hypes procurement boondoggles like the F-35, long after lesser shills succumb to attacks of shame and/or sticker shock. The enrichment of defence contractors and lobbyists, themselves military old boys, is merely a happy side effect of these efforts.

Tony B.

The Institute is perhaps best known for its logrolling Ross Munro Media Award for conspicuous credulity and patriotism in covering defence issues. Winners of the statuette, and $2,000 sweetener, include such braünnosers as Postmedia cheerleader-at-XXXL, Matt Fisher, who can always be relied upon to quote CDA blowhards with regularity and deference.

Since Battista took over as CEO in 2014, the rebarbative ex-military flatfoot has seldom missed an opportunity to alienate Institute staff, supporters and random bystanders.

Among the first changes he made was the cancellation of all free space at the CDA’s annual conference, where budget-embarrassed wrinklies like the Merchant Marines Veterans Association had previously been permitted set up a table in the hallway for free to pass out pamphlets and pins. That ended in the Age of Battista, and now anyone, but anyone, who wants to hang out a shingle now has to cough up the $2,000 exhibitors’ fee.

Retired Lt-Col. Fran Chilton-Mackay, the peripatetic military band leader and tireless organizer of events for the army, who’d been volunteering her talents for CDA happenings for years, soon wearied of Battista’s shit and quit right in the middle of the Institute’s 2015 Vimy Award Dinner.

Now the Institute is staring down the barrel of a $100K+ wrongful dismissal suit, with Tony again playing lead dick.

Program manager Denise Lemay, who went on stress leave last October, claims she was walked off the plank in absentia December 13. She filed suit at the Ottawa courthouse this month, her briefs carried by employment legalist Jean-Francois Lalonde (Vice & Hunter LLP).

Denise and an unidentified minister of Veterans’ Affairs.

She’s seeking six months’ salary ($26,250), plus $50,000 in “punitive and/or aggravated damages,” unspecified expenses stemming from her termination, plus $30,000 under the Human Rights Code for “infringement, including but not limited to injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

“These breaches,” Frank reads with interest in the statement o’ claim, “include harassment and bullying by the CEO of the CDA Institute, Mr. Tony Battista. As a direct result of the harassment and bullying of Ms. Lemay, she had no alternative but to go on medical leave due to stress as of October 5, 2016.”

Because she was toasted while on stress leave, Lemay further alleges discrimination based on the prohibited grounds of disability (shurely ‘Post Tony Stress Disorder’?!–ed.), bad faith, misrepresentation and on and expensively on.

The CDA Institute, busily preparing for its annual Conference on Security and Defence suckfest at the Shaw Centre next month, has yet to file a defence. Stay tuned.

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