May 30, 2022

By Jeremy Logan

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Retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour says it is well past time for the military to scrap the traditions and ways of doing business that perpetuate a sexualized culture.

The call from one of Canada’s most respected jurists follows a year-long review and leaves the Canadian Armed Forces facing a potential reckoning following decades of scandals and criticism.

Arbour says dramatic changes are needed to how the military recruits, trains and promotes Armed Forces members, as well as the way cases involving sexual harassment and assault are reported, monitored and handled.

The military has previously made numerous promises to act, but Arbour says it has in fact defied efforts to change its culture and fostered many of the outdated traditions and structures that continue to hurt women, in particular.

The former U.N. human rights czar nonetheless does not specifically recommend the creation of an independent oversight body, as many experts and observers had requested, but instead calls for existing bodies to be strengthened.

Arbour’s report, which was delivered to Defence Minister Anita Anand, is the result of a year-long review ordered by the Liberal government last spring in response to reports of sexual misconduct by several senior military officers.

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