Inertial Forces | Journalism

The pandemic also has its good side, and the Trudeau government should think sometimes.


Paul GurnettPaul Gurnett
Journalism

On a daily basis, it casts a shadow over embarrassing issues, such as the case of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Justin Trudeau is proud to call himself a “feminist”. But with the troops, he does not appear. This stain spreads and darkens the rest of her record in the field, which wasn’t bad.

The liberals held an embarrassing press conference on Thursday. The Secretary of National Defense, Harjit Sagan, has launched an independent review to address complaints of sexual misconduct. It looks very good. Except that this exercise has already taken place.

PHOTO ADRIAN WYLD, Canadian Press Archive

Harjit Sagan, Minister of National Defense

In 2016, he received a report on this topic. Then, five years later, he asked for outdoor lighting again.

However, he only had to open his eyes by receiving the report given at the time by former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps.

It recommended the establishment of a center to receive complaints of harassment and sexual assault. The organization should be independent of the chain of command, do prevention, support victims and gather data, the master suggested.I Deschamps.

The liberals refused. Instead, they created an intervention center without supervisory authority.

From the outside, all this is difficult to understand. The blockage presumably came from the forces. If so, then the liberals did not stand up to them.

This happened during their first term. Their second term will expire soon. What do they offer? Another review! To be able to operate during a third term!

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If they ignore this recommendation from M.I Deschamps, why do we think they’ll follow up on these in the next report?

* * *

The new review will be led by Louise Arbor, who is unanimously famous for its integrity and comprehensiveness.

A former Supreme Court judge and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights accepted the mandate because she believed she could help. You will undoubtedly provide valuable advice on preventing and eliminating sexual misconduct.

Moreover, M.I Deschamps realizes that the mandate for this investigation will be broader than his, as my colleague Melanie Márquez reported Friday.

MI So the state arbor will once again serve it. But that shouldn’t be necessary.

If it is credible, then the government is not.

Because he just didn’t hesitate to address the problem. It also rewarded a man accused of sexual misconduct. And not just any.

Former Chief of Defense Staff Jonathan Vance was the target of two of the allegations. I filed a complaint with the troop ombudsman. The latter was informed by Mr. Sagan. The minister did not want to hear anything. Go see the officials in the Privy Council office, and he allegedly told the Ombudsman.

Mr. Sagan said he wanted to avoid any political interference. He preferred that the complaint be handled by the administration.

The catch is that Mr. Vance was in charge of Operation Honor to eradicate sexual misconduct. And that his duties were renewed after that. At the top of the pyramid.

PHOTO ADRIAN WYLD, Canadian Press Archive

Former Chief of Defense Staff Jonathan Vance and Justin Trudeau, last September

Even if the chief of staff is presumed innocent, this does not automatically grant him the right to once again enjoy the government’s trust. This political appointment is subject to the discretion of the Prime Minister. Mr. Trudeau could easily have found someone more credible to restore confidence in the forces.

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* * *

For the past few weeks, the Conservatives, the New Democrats and the Bloc have been moving in a parliamentary committee to find out what Mr. Trudeau knows.

The Prime Minister claims to have discovered the controversy in the media. Probably. But his chief of staff knew that, we have learned in the last few days. She claims that she was not informed that the allegations were a “#moiaso”. However, emails from the Privy Council office indicated “sexual harassment.”

The opposition parties are desperate to see that these stories do not injure Mr. Trudeau too much in the polls. After all, they add up.

He was the subject of three investigations by the Ethics Commissioner, due to pressure from SNC-Lavalin, his trip to the Aga Khan and the assigned contract of Friends of WE Charity (UNIS in French).

As for the trip, you could say that it was a fringe event of his work.

For SNC-Lavalin, this could be considered recklessness or interference, depending on the issue, driven by the goal of protecting the Canadian economy.

And for WE Charity, we can speak naively about the slippage made by the urgent need to create programs in the midst of the pandemic.

I am not saying that I agree with these justifications. But they beg in the end.

With the Forces Dossier, on the other hand, even the most innovative liberals will struggle to find a good excuse.

The epidemic saves them. With pressure on Mr Sagan and the rest of the government, a mass vaccination campaign is launched. A shy wind of optimism blows over the country. At the end of the summer, we must come close to returning to normal.

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Liberals hope that moral disputes will indeed appear in the rearview mirror. But there is still a danger for them: for people to remember them, and stop believing them.

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