The Canadian Armed Forces has failed to make the changes needed to stamp out sexual misconduct and should move all criminal sexual offences to the civilian justice system, finds a new report that in part repeats past recommendations the federal government had ignored.
The damning report was released Monday and authored by former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour. It is the third report in seven years to give the government similar recommendations to address misogyny in the military.
All three were written by former justices of the top court. Monday’s report calls for urgent and profound changes to how the Forces operate in order to “create an even and safe playing field for women in the profession of arms.”
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SUPREME COURT BACKS VICTIMS IN 34 CONSECUTIVE SEX-ASSAULT CASES - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled against accused people in 34 sexual-assault cases in a row, stretching back more than four years, making it more difficult to overturn such convictions on appeal as the cases pour in during the Me Too era. Story here.
INTEREST RATE HIKE COMING FROM BANK OF CANADA - The Bank of Canada is expected to announce another oversized interest rate increase this week, part of its effort to push Canadian borrowing costs rapidly higher in the hope of slowing the pace of consumer price growth. Story here.
LEGAULT ANNOUNCES POLICY PRIORITY FOR FALL ELECTION - Quebec Premier François Legault, at a policy convention of his Coalition Avenir Québec, announces a key issue he will be pressing in this fall’s provincial election, one that will require a response from Ottawa. Story here from The Montreal Gazette.
CANADA’S PUBLIC SERVICE BEING DESTROYED: FORMER PRIVY COUNCIL CLERK - A lack of trust between politicians and senior levels of the public service, and a Prime Minister’s Office that calls all the shots, is “destroying” Canada’s public service, warns a former clerk of the Privy Council. Story here from Policy Options.
MORE EXPECTED FROM POPE: GOVERNOR-GENERAL - Indigenous communities are “expecting more” from Pope Francis when he visits Canada in July, says Governo-General Mary Simon — but she said she’s uncertain if he’ll deliver. Story here from CBC.
SAJJAN PROMISES HELP FOR VICTIMS OF RUSSIAN SEXUAL ASSAULT - International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan says he told Canadian officials in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to ensure that women sexually assaulted by Russian troops get the help they need – including access to abortions if they wish. Story here.
ONTARIO ELECTION - Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford is defending his decision to not visit Ottawa sooner following a deadly storm that has left thousands of people in the area without power for nine days. Story here. Meanwhile, parties made final push on last weekend of campaign before June 2. Story here.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Scott Aitchison is campaigning across Ontario this week. Roman Baber is holding a virtual event. Leslyn Lewis is in Gander in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Pierre Poilievre is in Winnipeg. No word on the campaigning whereabouts of Patrick Brown and Jean Charest.
BROWN BACKS OFF ON “DINOSAURS” LABEL ON SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES - Federal Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown says calling social conservatives “dinosaurs” in a book he wrote about his time in Ontario politics was “the wrong terminology” Story here.
POILIEVRE MUM ON BILL 96 Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre is the only candidate in the Conservative leadership race to stay mum on Quebec’s controversial new language law, Bill 96. Story here. Meanwhile, The National Post reports here that Mr. Poilievre’s polling numbers headed “in a negative direction.”
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House of Commons is sitting again Monday after a week’s break, and will continue to do so, Monday to Friday, through June. 23. Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, May. 30, accessible here.
COMMITTEE MEETINGS - House of Commons committee meetings Monday include the standing committee on national defence holding a hearing on rising domestic operational deployments and challenges for the Canadian Armed Forces, with witnesses that include the Chief of Staff, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Canadian Armed Forces. Details, including the video link, here.
CHANGE OF NAVAL COMMAND - In Halifax, a Change of Command ceremony will be held for the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy as authority is transferred from Vice-Admiral Craig Baines to Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee. General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff will preside over the ceremony.
TOURING THE SENATE BUILDING - Public tours of the Senate of Canada building, a former train station and government conference centre in the heart of Ottawa, have resumed. Details here.
On Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Globe columnist Marcus Gee talks about the relaxation that birding provides more since the pandemic started. He has also been honing his skills at identifying birds by song. This led him to ask: Why do birds sing at all? The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In Ottawa, the Prime Minister held private meetings and was scheduled to hold a news conference on firearms legislation with several ministers including Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, Justice Minister David Lametti and Women’s Minister Marci Ien. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to speak with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
No schedule released for party leaders.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Canada’s real gun violence problem: “There is no one magic bullet that can make gun crime disappear. But Canada has done a few things right, and the way forward includes more of the same: smart gun control that screens owners while respecting law-abiding hunters; a focus on the flow of smuggled and illegal guns; criminal laws that target gun crime; and a society with a strong economy, education system and social safety net, to minimize the incentive to turn to crime.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how Jason Kenney didn’t learn the lessons that Doug Ford has: “Critics of conservative premiers often lump them all together in the same category. But if there ever was a moment that showed how different they can be, it could be this spring – as the clearly contrasting fates of Doug Ford and Jason Kenney play out. Mr. Ford, the anti-establishment municipal politician who has become a more middling conservative, is likely to be re-elected as premier. The detail and policy-oriented Mr. Kenney – who wears his true-blue conservatism on his sleeve – will resign in the months ahead after a bruising leadership review result last week.”
Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on a disappointing election in Ontario: “Ontario votes in a provincial election on Thursday and the tension is… barely palpable. This campaign was less than a barnburner. The three major-party leaders traded predictable gibes about predictable issues and rolled out the usual array of unrealistic, unaffordable promises. Though anything can happen on election night, opinion polls suggest that the Progressive Conservatives will coast to re-election and Doug Ford will serve a second term as premier.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why the future of the Ontario Liberals is at stake on June 2: “We can safely predict that the Liberal Party will improve its standing in the Ontario Legislature after the June 2 election. But that may not save its leader, Steven Del Duca. And the party itself could be in serious trouble.”
David McLaughlin (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the trust that binds Canada together is cracking: “Canada’s governments and leaders will need to listen to and learn from Canadians in the months and years ahead to maintain our strong democratic traditions and public institutions. Our public servants tally among the best in the world. They have a big stake in getting this right. Listening and learning from their front-line experiences with citizens and inside experiences with politicians would be smart.”