Damien Kurek

MP COLUMN: Another Liberal cover-up

There needs to be a plan to tackle the issue of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces

Canada’s Liberal government is yet again being rocked by another scandal as sexual harassment allegations have been brought against former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Jonathan Vance.

Once again, it seems that the most connected and powerful people within the Liberal Party are attempting to cover up, minimize, and dismiss serious allegations as they work to filibuster proceedings, delay investigations, and restrict key witnesses.

Rumours about General Vance’s conduct dates back to before 2015, at which time there was an immediate investigation conducted by the previous Conservative government. At that time, no evidence of wrongdoing was found. However, three years ago under the current Liberal government, a victim came forward and presented further evidence.

Instead of immediate action, it appears there was a cover-up and the General’s appointment was extended with a pay raise. Since this past January, when Vance stepped down as the CDS, more troubling details have been revealed, including evidence showing influential Liberals, like the Minister of Defence, senior advisors, and even the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, were aware of these allegations.

So far, Prime Minister Trudeau denies his involvement, but his story continues to change as more evidence surfaces.

At a time when headlines spoke of the need to support victims of high-profile sexual misconduct around the world with the #metoo movement, it appears the Liberals attempted to cover up allegations.

The confidence of those who serve in our military, especially servicewomen, has been shaken, especially when it comes to those who have taken the brave step to speak out.

There needs to be a plan to tackle the issue of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces. The Official Opposition has called for a service-wide independent investigation into sexual misconduct in the military.

We’ve also called to suspend all General and Flag Officer promotions and salary increases while this investigation takes place. Conservatives have also proposed changes to ensure future complaints are made to an external independent body outside the chain of command.

The Government recently announced that former Supreme Court Justice, Louise Arbour, has been appointed to conduct an independent external review.

This is a needed step, but like many issues, it has taken headlines and embarrassment to force this government to take action. At the same time, it has revealed their mismanagement and attempts at cover-ups which force delays. Unfortunately, many are questioning the legitimacy of a review where the rules are written by those who very well may have been involved in the initial cover-up.

The Official Opposition and I stand with victims of sexual abuse and harassment and the brave women who come forward.

Canada’s Conservatives will continue to work to expose the corruption, hypocrisy, and misconduct of a Government that needs to remember whom it serves; especially at a time where our nation is in crisis. Those who bravely wear our nation’s uniform, and all Canadians, deserve nothing less.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this column, you are encouraged to write MP Kurek at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, text 403-575-5625, or e-mail damien.kurek@parl.gc.ca. You can also stay up to date with Damien by following him on social media @dckurek.

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