Defence Policy Review Submission

Message from the Ombudsman | January 10, 2017

In July 2016, in response to the Minister of National Defence’s call for submissions to help inform his Defence Policy Review (DPR), my office prepared a comprehensive document to provide an independent analysis aimed at supporting the dialogue surrounding the personnel challenges facing the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families, Cadets and Junior Rangers, and National Defence Civilians.

I submitted this to the Minister with the hopes that it might serve as a blueprint for meaningful change within the organization. While I remain optimistic that this “people first” framework is being seriously considered in the context of the broader policy review, both public comments  by the Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence and recent reports in the media citing internal documents  suggest that the department could  once again actively complexifying an already dizzyingly bureaucratic system. The repercussions of this type of action would be felt for years to come.

Over the course of the Fall session of parliament, I appeared before a number of House of Commons and Senate committees on the subject of transition from military to civilian life, as well as broader issues facing the Department of National Defence.

While my introductory remarks and testimony before these committees contain much of the detail found in my DPR submission to the Minister of National Defence, I believe it is important to keep the public informed by publishing the insights and recommendations that I provided some six months ago.

My response to the government’s policy review, when released, will be directly tied to whether my evidence-based advice was heeded. I believe that I can speak for my entire constituency when I say that I look forward to the release of the government’s comprehensive paper in the coming weeks or months.

Gary Walbourne

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