Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan‘s controversial claim that he was the architect of Operation Medusa, a major offensive in Afghanistan led by Canadian forces in 2006, was not in the speech’s prepared text, according to a senior government source close to the minister.
Sajjan delivered the speech earlier this month in New Delhi.
Though the remarks are posted online and use the normal template for a prepared speech, the source told Global News it was actually a transcript of the speech that was uploaded.
The minister “deviated from the prepared text,” the person said.
Because of the online copy, it was widely reported that the remarks were prepared, which would have meant they were approved by someone who worked for public affairs before Sajjan delivered them. This information reveals that the minister’s decision to inflate his role was entirely his.
Sajjan has now apologized twice for making the claim he was Medusa’s ‘architect’ including Saturday’s Facebook post in which he formally retracted the statement.
The minister will be back in Ottawa Monday where he’s sure to face a barrage of questions from opposition members.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O’Toole is calling for Sajjan to resign and plans to meet with interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose to discuss whether the party will formally ask for the minister to step aside.
NDP defence critic Randall Garrison says he appreciates Sajjan’s apology but will press the minister on Monday.
“This change of story raises more questions than it answers,” he said in a statement to Global News. “We will be looking for ways of raising these questions in Parliament.”