Canada Military sexual misconduct apology coming before end of year, Anand’s office confirms
Military sexual misconduct survivors were promised an apology in 2019. Why the delay?
An apology to survivors and victims of military sexual misconduct is required under the terms of the class action settlement reached with the government in 2019.As the deadline to submit claims to that settlement looms next week, eyes are turning to the question of why it it has taken the government so long to move on its promise -- even as the number of claimants to the class action continue to soar to more than 15,000.
The apology promised two years ago to survivors and victims ofwill come before the end of this year, with a firm date coming "shortly," the defence minister's office confirms.
In a statement to Global News, a spokesperson for Defence Ministersaid the planning for the apology is happening now but what that apology will look like is still to be determined, based on conversations with survivors and victims.
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“We expect that the apology will take place before the end of 2021 and we intend to announce a firm date very shortly," said Daniel Minden in an email.
"We are consulting with survivors’ groups to receive their input on their preferred structure for this apology. Planning for the apology is ongoing, and we look forward to sharing further details in due course.”
It is still not clear whether Anand plans to participate in offering that apology herself.
A spokesperson for the Department of National Defence added the event will be virtual.
"We recognize that this apology is an important part of restoring relationships with those harmed by sexual misconduct and that this matter is deeply personal and emotional for those who have been affected," said Daniel Lebouthillier in an email.
Gen. Wayne Eyre named permanent defence chief, McDonald voluntarily retiring
OTTAWA — Gen. Wayne Eyre officially shed the word “acting” from his title on Thursday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the army officer has been made the permanent commander of Canada’s Armed Forces. The long-anticipated announcement came nine months after Eyre took over from Admiral Art McDonald, who voluntarily stepped down as chief of the defence staff in February while military police investigated an allegation of sexual misconduct.
"Given our preference has always been for an in-person event, we monitored the pandemic’s progress closely with the hope that public health measures would allow it.
"However, given the unprecedented impact of the pandemic, we are now looking at a virtual event at a date — this year — that remains to be confirmed."
Military officialsto the Canadian Press that an apology was in the works but did not give a clear timeline. That report suggested who offers the apology, rather than the defence minister or prime minister.
Advocates for survivors and victims, however, have said they believe the apology should come from the defence minister and the prime minister as well, given the extent of the military sexual misconduct crisis and the government's failures to implement key recommendations from the 2015 Deschamps report.
Gen. Wayne Eyre felt need to respond to predecessor's letter to senior officers
OTTAWA — Canada’s newly minted chief of the defence staff says he felt he needed to speak up and remind senior military officers who they work for after his predecessor sent them a letter arguing to get back his job as Canada’s top military commander. “When the senior leadership of the Armed Forces was engaged, I felt I had to jump in and remind them that we work for our duly elected civilian officials, who represent the will of the Canadian population,” Gen. Wayne Eyre told The Canadian Press in an interview on Friday.
That landmark report documented the extent of the longstanding issue of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces, describing the problem as "endemic" and the culture of the military as "toxic."
In 2019, the government reached a $900-million settlement over a class-action lawsuit from survivors and victims of military sexual misconduct. The deadline for claims under that process is midnight Pacific Time on Wednesday, and so far more than 18,000 survivors and victims have come forward to submit claims.
"The most important thing is for any class members who are interested in participating in the class action to submit a claim form before the deadline, even if they need to add details after the deadline has passed," said Andrew Astritis, a lawyer with RavenLaw and part of the legal team working on the process.
"They can contact class counsel or the Administrator to help them provide additional details at that time."
The Federal Court certified the class action and approved a settlement deal reached with the government on Nov. 25, 2019, while the claims process opened on May 25, 2020.
Over 40 per cent of military sexual misconduct class action claims are from men: Eyre
Gen. Wayne Eyre said fixing the military's culture is vital because the world is "probably more dangerous now than it has been since the end of the Cold War." More than 40 per cent of the nearly 19,000 claims submitted by survivors and victims of military sexual misconduct are from men, says Gen. Wayne Eyre.
But by December 2020, the process had received just 2,729 claims.
That number has soared, however, over the course of 2021 amid an ongoing reckoning and what experts have deemed an institutional "crisis" facing the Canadian Forces as multiple senior leaders face allegations of sexual misconduct.
Global News reported on the first of those allegations exclusively on Feb. 2, 2021.
In mid-June 2021, the number of claims stood at 6,666 then rose to 7,346 as of July 13 —from December 2020.
Claims rose again to 13,522 on Nov. 8, and as of Wednesday stand at 18,232.
NORAD commander warns Canadian officials about the threat posed by hypersonic missiles .
NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck warned top Canadian government and military leaders Tuesday about the threat hypersonic missile technology poses to North American security, saying it's making it "very challenging" for him to carry out his mission. Visiting Canada for the first time since taking command of the continental defence organization last year, VanHerck gave officials in Ottawa what he called a "candid" risk assessment — one day after Russia said it had successfully tested another of its hypersonic cruise missiles. Hypersonic missiles can travel at more than five times the speed of sound and have vast ranges.