Roundup: Troubling rumblings in civil-military relations

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth about comments that Harjit Sajjan made in India that he was the architect of Operation Medusa in Afghanistan, before he later retracted and said that he was part of the team led by General Fraser. Part of why this has been mystifying for many is the fact that the error was made in his prepared remarks, which should have been caught but wasn’t, and now there are accusations of glory-seeking and trying to claim credit, which seems out of character for someone who seemed to rebuff the label of being “badass” when he was first appointed minister. I would say that the days it took for him to issue a proper apology are also mystifying, but this is politics, and nobody likes to admit error and there is likely a reflexive instinct there that needs to be dragged out. Because politics gonna politics, unfortunately.

What is more disturbing in this is the fact that you have both active and former military personnel calling for Sajjan’s resignation, which is a pretty big breach of civil-military relations. What I find even more disturbing is the fact that if you add this to the allegations that VADM Mark Norman was trying to make political decisions and using leaks to pressure the government to adopting his position on that procurement contract is that there may be a growing breach of the civil-military relationship in this country, and that is a Very Bad Thing.

One of Sajjan’s caucus colleagues, Mark Miller, who also served in Afghanistan, added his own defence of Sajjan:

One more thing: could we please stop with demanding resignations for everything? That’s not what ministerial responsibility means.

Good reads:

  • Jody Wilson-Raybould met with her provincial colleagues and they discussed reforms to mandatory minimums, bail, and reclassifying offences to tackle delays.
  • The government is looking to restart trade talks with a South American trade bloc that is part of their diversification strategy.
  • Opposition MPs are concerned that the Prime Minister’s youth council is just a Liberal recruiting machine.
  • Mélanie Joly said she is concerned that Canada is dropping in the World Press Freedom ranking, but promised nothing on that, or help for the media sector.
  • The Canadian Forces released some new figures around their tackling sexual misconduct, which includes looking to oust 77 members.
  • One of the key figures was the rapid drop in the number of sexual assault complaints deemed “unfounded,” which seems to indicate they’re taking it more seriously.
  • The former owner of a marijuana company is suing several Conservative MPs including Rona Ambrose for sharing QP clips accusing him of insider trading.
  • There is mounting pressure on the government to do something about LGBT people being imprisoned and tortured in Chechnya.
  • VIA Rail is going to miss reporting deadlines to a couple of different parliamentary committees, leaving questions about their future still up in the air.
  • Apparently Stéphane Dion’s EU Ambassadorship credentials are being delayed on the EU-end.
  • Cabinet ministers are once again fundraising, but under their newer rules about transparency of events.
  • Martha Hall Findlay writes about the propaganda and hypocrisy surrounding Supply Management.
  • This week’s Ask Kady Anything column looks at zombies and Cabinet making.
  • Andrew Coyne confesses his discomfort with the prospect of Maxime Bernier as Conservative leader, despite the fact that he should be a dream candidate.

Odds and ends:

It looks like the government is going to try to get Nunavut represented on the Centennial Flame…somehow.

Canada Post is releasing new Star Trek-themed stamps.