Armed forces crisis: Calls grow to remove Sajjan as Canadian defence minister

Holding on to that prime portfolio may prove to be a challenge for national defence minister Harjit Sajjan amid sexual misconduct crisis in Canadian Armed Forces
Holding on to that prime portfolio may prove to be a challenge for national defence minister Harjit Sajjan amid sexual misconduct crisis in Canadian Armed Forces. (HT FILE)
Holding on to that prime portfolio may prove to be a challenge for national defence minister Harjit Sajjan amid sexual misconduct crisis in Canadian Armed Forces. (HT FILE)
Updated on Oct 04, 2021 02:35 AM IST
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By Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Toronto

While minister of national defence Harjit Sajjan easily retained his seat in the House of Commons in the Federal elections in Canada, holding on to that prime portfolio may prove to be a challenge amid calls for his removal due to sexual misconduct crisis in the Canadian Armed Forces under his watch.

Writing in the Ottawa Citizen, David Pugliese reported that Sajjan “isn’t expected back at national defence” and has been “largely seen as ineffective and, in the eyes of some critics, incompetent”.

Meanwhile, the outlet Global News quoted Steve Saideman, director of the Canadian Defence and Security Network, describing Sajjan’s tenure as a “disaster”. He added: “If this government were to keep Sajjan on, it would send a strong message that they don’t care about women in the military.”

National Post columnist Sabrina Maddeaux voiced the same view, as she wrote: “If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is at all serious about changing the military’s toxic culture, when he names his new cabinet in October, there must be a new defence minister.”

She added that Sajjan had “lost all credibility when it comes to the institution’s sexual misconduct crisis.”

Former New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair echoed that sentiment in the outlet CTV: “Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has been an abject failure in dealing with the issue of sexual misconduct in the military. Women who have courageously come forward have felt betrayed.”

The Canadian Press reported recently that the calls for his ouster from the ministry will be very difficult for Trudeau to ignore.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021