Jason Kenney promises strong response to sexual misconduct report
Review by former Supreme Court justice expected to blast military leadership
An external investigation into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces, along with the military's plan to respond to the findings, will be released on Thursday.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney confirmed the timing of the report's release on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Wednesday.
- Canadian Forces brace for report on sexual misconduct in the ranks
- Maclean's alleges 'disturbing' levels of sexual assault in military
CBC News first reported Tuesday that the report, which was commissioned by the chief of the defence staff in the wake of articles raising the alarm about sexual assault in the military, would be "inflammatory" and would include criticism of the military leadership's handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against female personnel.
"Gen. [Tom] Lawson commissioned an inquiry by former Supreme Court justice [Marie] Deschamps which will be released [Thursday] together with the Canadian Armed Forces response, which I believe is comprehensive and aggressive in underscoring that there is zero tolerance for sexual abuse, sexual harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces," Kenney told Power & Politics host Evan Solomon.
"You'll have to wait to see the report and the response, but I think it's a vigorous, strong response to a report that underscores that there is a problem."
"There needs to be some very important changes," Kenney said. "Those will be outlined [Thursday]."
'Report is pretty bad'
Several senior military officials, including Lawson, are expected to be part of the Defence Department presentation of the report.
"The report is pretty bad … and won't be good for the Canadian Armed Forces, especially the leadership," one source familiar with the report told CBC News.
The military has been preparing for the report's publication for more than a month.
In February, Lawson established the Canadian Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct, led by Canada's highest-ranking woman, Maj.-Gen. Christine Whitecross.
It's expected Whitecross will also be present when the report is released to offer her plan to solve the problems it highlights.
Articles published by Maclean's and L'actualité reviewed military statistics and said an average of about 178 incidents of sexual misconduct are investigated every year. The magazine suggested only about one in 10 assaults is typically reported, suggesting the number of incidents inside the military is likely much higher.
Lawson has said the review he ordered would look at the rules, procedures and the processes the military uses to respond to complaints of sexual misconduct so that more women will trust the military to take them seriously and treat them fairly.
"My heart goes out to them, those individuals need to be well-protected and brought back into an organization that they can trust, so we need to make sure that they can report and that we follow up with investigations and prosecutions," Lawson told reporters last May.
with files from James Cudmore