Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office is standing by the military’s decision to reassign a senior officer who wrote a reference for a convicted sex offender to a new job that involves reviewing ways to eliminate sexual misconduct from the Canadian Armed Forces.
Yet survivors and experts of military sexual misconduct are expressing outrage over Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe’s new role, saying it raises even more questions about the Armed Forces’ ability and commitment to addressing the problem.
“This decision clearly illustrates an inability to think rationally about the (military sexual trauma) file and the challenges it presents,” said Sam Samplonius of It’s Not Just 700, which represents survivors of military sexual misconduct.
“This decision also perpetuates the perspective that the senior officers are more concerned with taking care of each other at the expense of others.”
Dawe was relieved as commander of Canada’s special forces in April when the CBC reported that he had written a character reference four years earlier for a soldier convicted of sexually assaulting a comrade’s wife.