Trudeau defends Sajjan, accuses Tories of slandering embattled defence minister

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Harjit Sajjan as all three opposition parties vote to censure the Defence Minister for his inaction in rooting out sexist and racist assaulters and harassers in the armed forces.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending embattled Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan after the latter was censured by the House of Commons.

Trudeau says Sajjan has spent his life serving Canada in different roles, including as a police officer and military officer before becoming minister.

And he says the Conservatives, who sponsored the symbolic motion to censure Sajjan, which received support from the Bloc Quebecois and NDP, are trying to slander the minister's reputation.

The Conservatives have attacked Sajjan over what they say is his failure to lead the military, including dealing with sexual misconduct in the ranks.

They have also criticized his handling of the court case involving vice-admiral Mark Norman and accused him of misleading Canadians about his military service.

Sajjan was forced to apologize in 2017 to Canadian veterans after claiming to have been the "architect" of Canada's largest battle in Afghanistan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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