Canada’s new minister of national defence Anita Anand has expressed confidence that she can “accomplish” the task of ending the institutional crisis of sexual misconduct in the Canadian military, which resulted in the departure of her predecessor Harjit Sajjan.
In an interview with the daily Toronto Star, the defence minister expanded on the subject, saying, “I’m hands on, I’m determined, and I’m going to get it done.”
“Fixing this crisis is my top priority,” Anand tweeted on Sunday, adding, “Misconduct in the military is not just a woman’s issue. For our military to be effective, our members must feel safe, they must feel protected, and they must be respected.”
The failure of Sajjan to deal with the sexual misconduct crisis, which erupted into public view in January this year, resulted in his demotion when the new Canadian cabinet was announced on October 26.
Sajjan came under severe criticism in this matter after the military ombudsman of the time revealed that the defence minister was aware of Vance’s alleged “improper conduct” with a subordinate in 2018.
The controversy over sexual misconduct in the armed forces began to surface this year after then chief of defence staff General Jonathan Vance resigned in January amid allegations of sexual impropriety.
Anand emerged as a major figure in the previous cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as she handled the public services and procurement department responsible for securing a sufficient supply of Covid-19 vaccines for the country.
An Indo Canadian with Tamil and Punjabi roots, Anand was a professor of law at the University of Toronto before she entered politics in 2019 and was elected to the House of Commons from Oakville in Ontario.