Trudeau calls in a military alien to repair the Canadian Armed Forces
Anand, a former law professor and expert in corporate governance, was first elected to parliament just two years ago with a long curriculum vitae but no military experience.
But the lack of a political background hasn’t stopped her, as Trudeau’s purchasing minister, from overseeing Canada’s efforts to secure tens of millions of doses of Covid vaccines.
She is credited with helping amass one of the world’s largest stash of clichÃ©s on behalf of a country that lacks the capacity to make its own. Canada also has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
At the start of the pandemic, Anand’s efforts helped Canada recover mountains of masks, syringes and gowns in the middle intense international competition. As one of the faces of Canada’s response to the pandemic, she appeared to be one of Trudeau’s most able ministers during public briefings on the crisis.
“As you have seen with the vaccines, I am determined,” Anand told reporters in French on Tuesday evening. “I work very hard and I am results oriented. So these are the qualities that I will bring to this file.”
She later said she would “review everything,” including previous reports of misconduct in the military and the recent independent review of the military justice system.
“I will ask the ministry for an analysis of the recommendations that have already been implemented as well as those that have not,” she said. “There isn’t a single switch that we can turn on to change everything overnight. It’s going to take time and while it may frustrate some, I want to assure everyone that I will do the necessary work. as long as it takes to get it done. “
A senior government official who worked with Anand told POLITICO that “it is no exaggeration to say that it is as if she is the Minister of Justice” for the Defense Ministry.
The manager, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the change, said Anand was detail-oriented and would ask lots of questions.
She will push people to explain their approach, ask them for alternatives and give instructions, the insider said.
âShe has taken on Big Pharma executives over the past few months and won,â the official said. “It prepared her well to be able to do it with generals and things.”
Anand, the second woman to hold the post of defense minister, succeeds Harjit Sajjan, who was Trudeau’s defense minister since the Liberals came to power six years ago.
Sajjan, a former soldier who transferred to international development on Tuesday in what was seen as a demotion, has been the target of criticism over the Trudeau government’s handling of the military crisis.
Anand’s lack of military experience is seen by some as an advantage.
“I don’t see this as an obstacle or as detrimental in any way,” Leah West, a national security expert at Carleton University, told POLITICO Tuesday. âWe have seen that having military experience is not necessarily a recipe for success. â¦ I’m not actually concerned with this at all. What the military responds to is strong leadership, and it doesn’t necessarily take military experience to command that kind of respect.
West, who served for a decade in the Canadian Armed Forces, said Anand has proven to be an excellent communicator. She argued that this was something that was lacking at the level of the Minister of Defense.
Tuesday, Trudeau credited Sajjan to attack the army’s “old boys network”. In doing so, the Prime Minister also hinted at the challenge that awaits Anand.
“I don’t think anyone can be surprised at the kind of setback he’s seen as he tried to make changes over the past few years,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau also mentioned an upcoming report by former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbor. Its review, launched earlier this year, will examine the causes of harassment and sexual misconduct in the military despite efforts to get rid of it. The work, due for completion in 2022, will also seek to identify barriers to reporting inappropriate behavior and issues with responding to it.
Arbor’s review follows a 2015 review of sexual misconduct and harassment in the military. The report, prepared by retired Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps, called for policy changes to address the “problem of sexual harassment and assault.”
The Deschamps report revealed “an underlying sexualized culture in the CAF that is hostile to women and LGTBQ members, and conducive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault.” The report then said: âCultural change is therefore essential.
Beyond issues of sexual misconduct, Anand faces other important decisions.
Stephanie Carvin, a national security expert from Carleton University, said in an interview that modernizing the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is an important issue for Canada.
For example, Carvin said the U.S. military warned that many NORAD systems in the Arctic would be obsolete by 2023.
She said modernizing NORAD will be a difficult conversation for Canada, as it will require funding and reopen a potentially controversial debate on ballistic missile defense.
âI’m not sure this is the debate the Trudeau government wants to have now – but it will be up to them,â Carvin said of Anand.