Canada’s opposition party is calling on PM Justin Trudeau to oust Harjit Sajjan – the Minister of National Defense a day after the country’s number two officer resigned because of the ongoing military sex scandal, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole said.
The Canadian military sex scandal was reignited over the weekend after multiple outlets reported that Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Lt. Gen.
Mike Rouleau and Royal Canadian Navy’s Commander Vice-Admiral Craig Baines partook in a game of golf with former Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance, who is under investigation after misconduct allegations were leveled against them.
“Canada’s Conservatives are calling on [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau to immediately fire his Minister of Defense, Harjit Sajjan,” O’Toole said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sajjan’s inability to address the misconduct scandal, that has plagued the Trudeau government for months, is part of a track record that has seen his Department of National Defense fumble the procurement of new fighter jets and be accused of embellishing the details of his personal military service, O’Toole said.
The outing touched off a political storm as Rouleau holds oversight authority over the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which is investigating Vance. Rouleau emphasized that the two did not discuss the ongoing investigation, however, this explanation has not quelled the criticism.
Former service members called the incident is another instance of the ‘old boys’ club’ in action and a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet called the revelation “appalling.”
Rouleau becomes the latest senior military to step down from his post in relation to the ongoing military sexual misconduct scandal, after Vance’s replacement, Adm. Art McDonald, was forced to temporarily step aside in February and the government’s vaccine distribution czar, Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin resigned from his role in May.
The political firestorm forced the government to launch an independent review of sexual misconduct in the Canadian military, the second such probe in five years.