HALIFAX — Defence Minister Anita Anand says the military's sexual misconduct crisis is hurting recruitment and morale.
Anand made the comments during one of her first public addresses since taking over her new position last month from Harjit Sajjan, who was criticized for not doing more to address inappropriate sexual behaviour in the ranks.
In her speech during the opening of a security forum in Halifax, Anand said eliminating sexual misconduct from the military and transforming its culture is her top priority.
She noted one of her first decisions as defence minister was to order all military sexual assault cases transferred to civilian authorities for investigation and prosecution, though she acknowledged more will need to be done.
Anand during her speech also recommitted to the Liberal government's defence strategy, which was released in 2017 with a plan to dramatically increase military spending over the next 20 years.
And she noted the important role the military is playing overseas and at home, including the deployment of troops to communities across the country during the pandemic and in response to natural disasters such as this week's flooding in B.C.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.
The Canadian Press