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OTTAWA – National Defense Minister Anita Anand says she is committed to ensuring “justice is done” in the fight against sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Just hours after taking office, Anand says she will work tirelessly to change the culture within the military so that those who wear the uniform feel safe, while restoring the confidence of Canadians. in the institution.

“My top priority is to make sure everyone in the armed forces feel safe and protected and that they have the support they need when they need it and the structures in place to ensure that justice is done. “she said, addressing reporters. Tuesday.

“I am thorough, I am determined, I am stubborn and I am results oriented. I will devote all my energies to this task.

Anand was sworn in to his new role earlier today as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled changes to his cabinet list, including sending former Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan to international development and his appointment as Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.

Sajjan has been criticized for his handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against high-ranking officers and his failure to make sufficient change.

Leah West, assistant professor of international affairs at Carleton University, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday that Sajjan failed to show leadership while in the post.

“Leadership is incredibly important in setting the tone for the culture of an environment and Minister Sajjan, for example, had Marie Deschamps’ report on his desk in 2016 and made no real effort to see the military put implement one of its recommendations, ”she said. .

Trudeau thanked Sajjan for his work on the portfolio at a subsequent press conference on Tuesday.

“Minister Sajjan has always been someone who has been there to fight for the women and men who serve in our armed forces and to push back the culture that excludes, that marginalizes people and I thank him for his leadership and his service there, ”he said. noted.

In the spring, the federal government launched an independent review into sexual harassment and misconduct in the CAF, led by former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbor.

The review’s announcement was criticized by survivors’ advocates and former military leaders who called it a Liberal delaying tactic after the Deschamps report had already found the need for an independent reporting and reporting body. responsibility.

Anand, MP for Oakville and former head of utilities and purchasing, said she would “review everything.”

“I will read past reports regarding misconduct in the military as well as the recent independent review of the military justice system. I will ask the ministry for an analysis of the recommendations that have already been implemented as well as those that have not, ”she said.

“I also hope to hear from as many women and men in uniform as possible and intend to consult with them directly across the country.”

Anand warned that there was no “magic bullet” to solving the internal crisis and that it would take time to resolve it.

Retired Major-General Denis Thompson has said it will be imperative the department gets it right this time around.

“We definitely need all the qualified people we can get to address the concerns that have multiplied around the world. We are in a pretty precarious situation and we have to resolve the cultural issues and sort out some of the operational issues facing the Canadian Armed Forces, ”he said Tuesday.

Thompson added that the recovery of the remaining Afghans who were left behind in Afghanistan will also be a top priority for the new minister.

“We should take this opportunity to put our shoulder to the wheel and move as many of these people as possible. This might require a high-level ministerial-level diplomatic mission to the region in order to find a third country where our Afghan friends can be evacuated, ”he said.

On this file, Anand will work with his colleagues, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly and the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser.

Trudeau welcomed the former “Minister of Vaccines” who led Canada’s fight to secure the supply of COVID-19 vaccines in her new role.

“The women and men who serve in the armed forces deserve better support, deserve a change in the type of governance they have and one of the things people will learn about Anita Anand in the months to come is that she is a world-class expert in governance, “he said.

She becomes the second woman to hold the post after Kim Campbell, who was appointed to the post for six months in 1993.

West said Anand was an “excellent choice”.

“Minister Anand has a proven track record in times of crisis… someone who is making it through the crisis is absolutely necessary now,” she said.


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