May 28th, 2014

NDP calls for commission into sexual assaults in military

The NDP is calling on the Minister of National Defence to launch a judicial commission into the disturbing reports of sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Since these serious revelations were exposed more than a month ago, the Minister has been ducking his responsibility to deal with this crisis. By passing the buck to the Chief of Defence Staff, the Harper government wants to wash its hands of this crisis,” said Defence Critic Jack Harris (St. John’s East). “It’s up to the Minister of Defence to use his authority to take immediate action to address this urgent issue.”

Yesterday, top military officials confirmed that it will take more than a month to launch an external review into the problem. New Democrats also learned that there is a 3-year delay in reporting criminal statistics in the military to Parliament. Ensuring these things get done is ultimately the responsibility of the Minister.

“It should not require a media exposé every few years to spur the military and government into promises of action about sexual assaults in the military,” said Deputy Defence Critic Élaine Michaud (Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier). “There should be continuous vigilance in terms of prevention as well as access to justice if an assault does take place.”