November 9th, 2023
NDP defence critic introduces two bills to help survivors of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces as Liberals fail to make necessary changes
OTTAWA — On Thursday, NDP critic for National Defence Lindsay Mathyssen (London – Fanshawe), tabled two private member’s bills that would make needed changes in the wake of multiple cases of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. Mathyssen's bills would establish an independent Office of the Ombud that would report to Parliament rather than the Minster of National Defence and amend the National Defence Act to remove the military's jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute sexual offences under the criminal code.
Mathyssen's bills come after sexual assault survivors are still having trouble prosecuting their cases through the civilian courts.
“Men and women who serve in the military deserve support and justice. For eight years, the Liberal government has promised to action on sexual misconduct and assault in the military, but they clearly lack the political will to follow through,” said Mathyssen. “My legislation would implement key recommendations to tackle sexual harassment and misconduct in the military from the Deschamps and Arbour reports that the Liberals have refused to act on.”
Despite instructing the military last December to undertake all of Justice Arbour’s recommendations on sexual harassment and misconduct in the military, the Liberals have not amended the National Defence Act to remove the military's jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute sexual offences under the criminal code. Without making this necessary change, victims of sexual assault in the military will continue to face a confusing criminal justice system.
“New Democrats stand with the women of the Canadian Armed Forces who continue to wait for real culture change in the face of sexual misconduct and assault in the military,” said Mathyssen. “While the Liberals refuse to help, New Democrats can be counted on to push for the real change and needed legislation that Canadians have asked for.”