Wednesday, June 7

Anita Anand: Trudeau entrusts a woman to clean up the image of the Canadian Ministry of Defense, splattered by allegations of abuse | International

Anita Anand, new Defense Minister, during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Anita Anand, new Defense Minister, during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.BLAIR GABLE (Reuters)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented his new Cabinet on Tuesday. At a ceremony in Ottawa, the 38 ministers were sworn in before Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada. As in his first two terms, Trudeau will work with an equal team. The arrival of Anita Anand to the Defense portfolio has been one of the most commented movements and from which greater results are expected. Your task will not be light: to effect profound transformations in a ministry mired by multiple cases of sexual harassment and assault. “We know that there is a crisis in the culture of our Canadian Armed Forces and the women and men who serve there deserve better support, they deserve a change in the type of government they have,” said Trudeau.

Anand replaces Harjit Sajjan, who led the ministry since Justin Trudeau came to power in November 2015. For months, opposition figures had demanded that Trudeau replace Sajjan for his misguided management of the crisis hitting the ministry. . Two reports have described a climate conducive to crimes of a sexual nature, where opacity stands out, and have proposed a series of recommendations to be applied.

This problem is not only present among the troops. Members of the high command have also been singled out. General Jonathan Vance and Admiral Art McDonald, former chiefs of the Armed Forces General Staff, have been under scrutiny, as have nine other high-profile military personnel. Sajjan said at the time that he took “allegations of misconduct seriously” and would continue to take decisive action “regardless of rank or position.” However, the image of the ministry continued to tarnish. Experts recommended to Trudeau the appointment of a woman to implement a strategy focused on a far-reaching culture change, greater attention to the victims and an effort to rebuild trust in the institution.

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Before making the leap into politics, Anita Anand (Kentville, Nova Scotia, age 54) served as a lawyer and university professor. Liberal deputy for the Oakville (Ontario) constituency, assumes her new functions after serving as Minister of Public Services, where she stood out for having the responsibility of purchasing vaccines against covid-19. She is the second woman in Canada to head the Defense Ministry. The first was Kim Campbell, who served for five months in 1993. “One of the things that people will learn about Anita Anand in the coming months is that she is a world-class expert on governance, with decades of professional experience.” Trudeau said, underlining that Anand will show leadership and contribute significantly to the operations of the Armed Forces.

Among other appointments of the new Cabinet, Harjit Sajjan happens to occupy the portfolio of International Development; Mélanie Joly becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs and Steven Guilbeaut arrives at the Ministry of the Environment. For her part, Chrystia Freeland continues as Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Justin Trudeau obtained a third term in the elections of last September 20, although he did not manage to form a majority government, his objective when unleashing these elections. Parliamentary work will begin on November 22.

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