Canada’s House of Commons censures defence minister
Canada’s defence minister Harjit Sajjan has been formally censured by the House of Commons, after a motion in this regard was voted upon late on Thursday.
The censure motion was related to the ongoing controversy over an institutional crisis in the Canadian Armed Forces precipitated by a series of sexual misconduct scandals during Sajjan’s tenure, which began in November 2015.
The motion was moved by Conservative Party MP James Bezan and received the support of the majority of MPs, including those from the New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois. It passed 169 votes in favour and 151 against, mainly from the ruling Liberal Party members, according to Global News.
The motion said that “given that the Minister of National Defence has clearly lost the respect of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, including those at the highest ranks, for”, amongst other things, “engaging in a cover-up of sexual misconduct allegations in the Canadian Armed Forces”, the House “formally censures the Minister of National Defence to express the disappointment of the House of Commons in his conduct”.
The CTV News reported that in his response, Sajjan accused the motion of being little more than an “attempt to wage personal and partisan attacks”.
Earlier, leader of the opposition Erin O’Toole said, that Sajjan had “clearly lost the respect of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and the moral authority to implement the changes needed to eliminate sexual misconduct in our military”.
Speaking in the House of Commons this week, O’Toole said the military was “literally falling apart” under Sajjan’s watch and he should “do the honourable thing and resign” or, alternately Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should fire him.