Thursday, May 4, 2017

A tug of war between Parliament and the military in the Canadian democracy?

Suggestions for much-needed modernization and enhanced fairness of the military justice system have so far been met with an rather indifferent reception from the Canadian lawmakers. Such matters as sexual assaults in the military, mistreatment of military families, a broken grievances system, an unconstitutional summary trial system, in camera military Boards of inquiry instead of public Coroners’ inquests, a broken military grievance system, the lack of military police independence and competence or the occasional hues and cries from the public, driven principally by media reports, might all appear ab initio to be forceful agents for real change. However, in reality such clamouring has not led parliamentarians to make significant legislative changes that would contemporize the military justice system. Ironically, however, when Parliament did act, the military was able to delay the implementation of many of such reforms for four (4) years. 

An Act to Amend the National Defence Act,
Statues of Canada, 2013, c. 24
For instance, as of May 4, 2017  only 63 of the 134 sections (47%) of  the sections which were given Royal Assent and enacted in June 2013 by Bill C-15 -Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act ) have now been put in force.  The pending provisions have been sidelined!

Pending provisions covering areas such as extensions of limitation periods for civil claims, the scope of sentencing principles, absolute discharge, intermittent sentences, restitution and victim impact statements aimed at rendering fairer our military justice system have simply been side-tracked in plain opposition to the will of Parliament

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