Sep 26, 2021

By Jeremy Logan

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing calls from several experts on sexual misconduct in the military to name a new defence minister as he sets about building a new cabinet following Monday’s federal election.

The calls are based on a belief that Harjit Sajjan has lost credibility when it comes to addressing what senior commanders themselves have described as an existential crisis within the Canadian Armed Forces.

While experts say having a woman take over as Canada’s defence minister would be welcome, they warn such an appointment must include the right person and the necessary support to help them succeed in the role.

The concern is that appointing someone who doesn’t have the requisite skill and experience to push what many believe is a long overdue change in the military’s culture could hurt rather than help efforts.

Among the names being floated as possibilities to succeed Sajjan are Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough and Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand, both of whom have played key roles in Ottawa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The only woman to have served as Canada’s defence minister was Kim Campbell, who held the post for six months in 1993 before serving for five months as Canada’s only female prime minister to date.

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