Trudeau appointed Anita Anand the new minister of Defense. That could be a good thing. She’s reportedly smart and dedicated (although the report came from her). And, I suppose, a non-military person can do the job (altho she is a fresh 2019 inductee to parliament and a lawyer – that makes her a rookie at the very least). And I have no problem that Anita is female. War and danger affects both genders even if the men are way more likely to be in the actual fight and end up wounded or dead.
But I do have a small problem with what she said was her first priority. “My top priority is to make sure that everyone in the Armed Forces feels safe and protected and that they have the support that they need when they need it and the structures in places to ensure that justice is served,”
“I am thorough, I am determined, I am dogged, and I am results-oriented. I will be dedicating all of my energies towards this task.”
Ms Anand, of course, is referring to the problem of sexual harassment in the military.
I do not want to suggest that men and women in the military SHOULD be harassed in any way, shape or form. Nor do I think sexual harassment in the Canadian Forces can continue to be trivialized as various reports have indicated. It is just that…..well.….is Ms Anand putting priority on military sexual harassment when, in fact, the harassers and the victims are the ones we send out to fight and die in a war? That seems wrong-headed. Is she saying, “You can go to Afghanistan and shoot your way around the country and maybe get shot or killed but I am focusing all our resources on keeping you sexually safe from harassment when you are in camp”?
I’ll answer my own rhetorical question: Yes. That is exactly what she is saying.
Put bluntly, Moira, isn’t the problem of sexual harassment NOT really the first priority of our Armed Forces? Bum-pinching is really bad but is it as bad as a violent death on foreign soil? I mean, shouldn’t our desire for their safety be more inclined to the actual theater of war than on the gender conflict?
Our first priority is to defend the country and fulfill our international obligations. If Ms Anand and Justin think the first priority of the Defense Minister is to keep armed soldiers safe from unwanted sexual solicitation, bum pinching and even sexual manipulation, they are wrong and Ms Anand has proven her inadequacy from the beginning. (Justin’s inadequacy has long been established). Is sexual harassment really as bad as those same soldiers getting their heads blown off by an IED (improvised explosive device) or AK47?
If you have a personal agenda and it gets you into parliament and you are picked to be a minister, that is basically a good thing about Democracy. Ms Anand is on a mission and that is why she ran. Good on her. But when you are picked to be the Minister of Defense, your mission becomes a much larger one than your own personal agenda. If Ms Anand wants to champion sexual victims, that is great. And she should. That is what she wants to do.
‘You go girl!’
But that is NOT priority #1. It is NOT even in the top three.
Equip the soldiers. Train the soldiers. Deploy the soldiers. Do our national and international duty. Get our soldiers back intact. And then…..and only then..…IF THEY ARE STILL ALIVE….worry about who pinched whose bum.