Canada's NDP

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November 4th, 2021

NDP Critic reacts to recommendations from Justice Arbour

Lindsay Mathyssen, the NDP’s Critic for Defense, made the following statement:

Sexual assault and misconduct within the Canadian military, and the response from the Liberal government, has been a national embarrassment. For months, Canadians have heard stories of senior Canadian armed forces officials under investigation for misconduct being rewarded with pay raises and promotions.

Justin Trudeau owes victims of misconduct within the CAF an explanation as to why they are denied justice while powerful men continue to see support.

Six years ago, when Justice Deschamps delivered her report on the culture in the CAF along with recommendations, they were ignored by the Prime Minister and his government. The 2015 report recommended giving sexual assault victims the ability to file their complaints with civilian authorities. A similar recommendation was made by Justice Morris Fish in a report issued in June 2021.

It should not have taken this long to make this change.

Survivors of assault and misconduct must have a clear path to justice, and the Liberal government has to step up and ensure the leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces finally make all the changes necessary to keep service women safe and restore their confidence in the reporting processes.

Instead of making this a temporary measure, New Democrats will fight to make sure that all sexual assaults and criminal offences of a sexual nature under the Criminal Code will be referred to civilian authorities permanently. We are again calling on the government to implement all the recommendations from the Deschamps Report so survivors and all service women can serve equally.