Defence Minister Anita Anand apologized to victims of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces on behalf of the federal government Monday, saying there have been failures to protect its members.
“I apologize to the thousands of Canadians who were harmed because your government did not protect you, nor did we ensure that the right systems were in place to ensure justice and accountability,” Anand said during a streamed release.
“For far too long, your government failed to dedicate enough time, money, personnel and effort to deal with sexual harassment, sexual assault and discrimination based on sex, gender identity and sexual orientation in the military and the department.”
Defence chief Gen. Wayne Eyre and Defence Department Deputy Minister Jody Thomas also delivered apologies on behalf of their respective institutions.
Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated the importance of making amends with those impacted by such inappropriate, and at times illegal, behaviour.
“Things can change, they must change, and they will change. It is our most basic responsibility, our most important task, and my top and absolute priority,” said Anand.
The apologies are part of the federal government’s $600-million settlement agreement in connection to several class-action lawsuits.
Banner image – file photo