The federal Liberal government is promising millions of additional dollars to help fight sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces as it seeks to address anger and frustration over how the issue has been handled.
That includes more than $75 million in new funding spread over the next five years specifically dedicated to the problem while redirecting another $158 million from other parts of the military.
The budget plan says the new money will be used to increase victim support services, develop new prevention training and bring more independent oversight of the military’s handling of complaints.
But it does not say where the redirected money will come from, or what form that independent oversight might take.
The budget also includes plans to help veterans access mental-health services faster and includes more money to increase the number of military aircraft and warships ready to quickly respond to a request from the NATO military alliance.
It also sets aside money for the first time to start work on upgrading North America’s NORAD defensive system with the United States, as well as funds to keep the existing system, which is already past its best-before date, up and running.
Exclusive reporting by Global News put a spotlight on what has been referred to as a hostile and sexualized culture in the Canadian Armed Forces.
In February, Global News reported on several allegations of sexual misconduct against now-retired chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance. Vance is accused of having a relationship with a woman he significantly outranked, and allegedly making a sexual comment to another soldier much younger than him in 2012, before he was appointed to his top role.
The investigation has triggered two separate committees into the allegations against Vance and other allegations of systemic sexual misconduct in Canada’s military.
— with files from Global News’s Emerald Bensadoun