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Time for Parliament to legislate control over Canada’s military criminal justice system

By Joshua Juneau, Michel Drapeau      

•The interim report on the court martial comprehensive review does not instil confidence that the military justice system is working, and this should bring tremendous concern, and a sense of urgency, to Parliament that significant reform is required. •It is the duty of our Parliament and the minister of justice to be vigilant and not allow our military to operate in a vacuum. Former French prime minister Georges Clemenceau once famously quipped: 'War is too important a matter to be left to the military.' Perhaps there is a conventional wisdom to this statement, and military justice, accordingly, is also to important a matter to be left to the military.

Canada’s Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould is also ‘absent in office’ on the military justice file, write Michel Drapeau and Joshua Juneau. Yet, Sec. 4 of the Department of Justice Act gives the minister responsibility as superintendent over 'all matters connected with the administration of justice in Canada,' including the military justice system. The Hill Times file photograph

OTTAWA—The cornerstone of Canada’s constitutional democracy is the separation of government powers. As the artisans of law and with a complete oversight duty over the executive, the legislature arguably wields the greatest power. If there is public demand for a policy shift, it is the legislature that exercises control over the executive to ensure that the public interest is maintained. This includes control over all government departments, including the Canadian Armed Forces.

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