Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Tories to force House of Commons vote on motion to censure the defence minister

Erin O’Toole alleges Harjit Sajjan has misled Canadians about military service, fighter jets

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says his party will force the House of Commons to vote on a motion targeting Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

Sajjan has been under heavy criticism since former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne revealed that he first flagged an allegation of sexual misconduct involving then-defence chief Jonathan Vance to the minister in March 2018.

While Sajjan and the Liberal government say he followed all proper procedures, O’Toole says the minister has consistently failed victims of sexual misconduct in the military.

O’Toole alleges Sajjan has also misled Canadians about his military service and the need to buy second-hand fighter jets from Australia, and oversaw the failed prosecution of retired vice-admiral Mark Norman.

O’Toole says that is why his party will use its last opposition day before Parliament rises for the summer to force members of Parliament to express its disappointment with the minister.

The Conservative motion is symbolic, and O’Toole says it will ultimately be up to voters in Sajjan’s Vancouver riding to decide whether he should continue to serve in Parliament.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Defence vice-chief who golfed with Vance steps aside from role, but not from military