Defence Minister Sajjan introduced Bill C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act. The legislation introduces a victims’ bill of rights for participants in the military justice system, operated by the Canadian Armed Forces.
The bill includes measures to ensure victims have a right to information about their case and get new protections from intimidation and retaliation. It also abolishes summary trials and provides for ways to present victim impact statements.
Harjit Sajjan is vowing to “aggressively” handle offenders as he prepares to reform the military justice system by putting a new focus on victims’ rights
Sajjan said he wants to make sure victims are looked after throughout the process, bringing the way the Forces handle these cases more in line with the civilian justice system.
Sajjan said, “We have a zero-tolerance policy on this and we will aggressively deal with anybody who actually has an infraction in this manner, whether it’s minor or serious.In this case here, for me, the only number is zero.”
Bill C-77 would also make it so the circumstances of Indigenous offenders have to be considered in sentencing if jail time is on the table, and introduces a victim liaison officer.
Sajjan described the enhanced focus on victims’ rights as the next “evolution” of the work the military has been doing, but agreed this specific piece of legislation was “long oveThough, it remains unclear how Sajjan will measure the success of Bill -77.
When asked what his metric of success will be, the minister said: “For me the metric of success is making sure that when Canadians join the Canadian Armed Forces, they are going to be in an environment that they feel that they can reach their full potential.”rdue.”