September 25th, 2021

Federal leaders united on need to fight military sex misconduct, but differ on how

By The Canadian Press on September 15, 2021.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau makes a campaign stop in Halifax, N.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Federal leaders are united in their commitment to fight sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces – but not on how to do it.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh were all asked this morning if they would commit to creating an independent watchdog to help fight inappropriate and criminal sexual behaviour in the ranks.

It marked one of the few instances where the issue has come up on the campaign trail after more than six months of troubling allegations, parliamentary hearings and promises of action.

Trudeau would not commit to an independent body, and instead promised a re-elected Liberal government would act on the recommendations of retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, who is currently studying the issue.

O’Toole for his part did commit to creating an independent watchdog, and said a Conservative government would also implement a freeze on promotions for senior leaders until the issue is addressed.

Singh promised an NDP government would act on the recommendations of another retired Supreme Court justice, Marie Deschamps, who in 2015 called for an independent centre to hold the military accountable on sexual misconduct.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2021.

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