April 16th, 2024

Military ombudsman calls on MPs to fix ‘obvious’ conflict, make office independent

By The Canadian Press on February 26, 2024.

National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman Gregory Lick waits to appear at the National Defence committee, in Ottawa, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The Canadian Armed Forces and national defence ombudsman is calling on MPs to fix an obvious conflict of interest and make his office independent.

Gregory Lick told the House of Commons defence committee today that his office reports to the defence minister, even though it’s supposed to oversee that department.

Lick told the committee it makes no sense that Canada doesn’t have legislated independent military oversight like the rest of its Five Eyes allies.

Lick also says the Defence Department often takes months to respond to his office’s reports, with no explanation.

He says he has not received a response to a report from five months ago highlighting the mental-health concerns of military reservists deployed to natural disasters.

That report said the military is underestimating the toll of those domestic emergency deployments on its members.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2024.

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