Defence minister has lost all credibility on military sex misconduct: experts

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Several experts say Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has lost all credibility when it comes to tackling sexual misconduct in the ranks.

The comments follow a report from The Canadian Press that one of Sajjan's military assistants was ordered suspended three years ago from the Vancouver Police Department for having had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

Sajjan's office says the two men served together as senior officers in the same army reserve unit, but that neither the minister nor his staff knew about Maj. Greg McCullough's past and the military was responsible for hiring him to the position.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously defended Sajjan, who was already facing opposition calls to resign for his handling of sexual misconduct allegations involving senior commanders.

But Megan MacKenzie, an expert on military sexual misconduct at Simon Fraser University, says the latest revelation suggests the minister himself is part an "Old Boys network" where senior military officers protect each despite allegations of misconduct.

Charlotte Duval-Lantoine of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says Sajjan has lost all moral authority when it comes to leading the type of change that is needed to eliminate inappropriate and criminal sexual behaviour in the ranks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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