OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/21/13 -- Defence Minister Peter MacKay welcomed on June 19th the Royal Assent to Bill C-15, the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act, a significant overhaul of the military justice system.
"These amendments to the National Defence Act will ensure Canada's independent military justice system remains effective, fair and transparent," said Minister MacKay. "A sound and fair justice system is key to maintaining discipline within the profession of arms, providing justice for members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families, and maintaining public confidence in our system."
Bill C-15, Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act is the Government's legislative response to a series of recommendations made in 2003 by the late Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, former Chief Justice of Canada, following his independent review of the amendments made in the National Defence Act by Bill C-25 in 1998 (S.C. 1998, c. 35), as well as those recommendations made in 2009 by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
Among other amendments, the bill:
-- enhances the independence of military judges;-- provides for additional sentencing options, including absolute discharges, intermittent sentences and restitution orders, as well as the ability to submit victim impact statements at courts martial;-- improves the efficiency of the grievance and military police complaints processes; and-- establishes the position of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal in legislation and specifies the Provost Marshal's responsibilities.-- expands the pool of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members eligible to serve on a court martial panel;
"The Canadian Armed Forces' military justice system continues to evolve as modern Canadian law generally evolves," said General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff. "The military justice system is designed to promote the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces by maintaining the discipline, efficiency and morale of our personnel. This legislation is based on Chief Justice Lamer's independent review and the work of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and is a clear demonstration of our resolve to see Canada's military justice system further strengthened. To quote Chief Justice Lamer, we "must continue to strive to offer a better system than merely that which cannot be constitutionally denied.'"
The CAF Judge Advocate General has the superintendence of the overall administration of the military justice system and is responsible for the implementation of this legislation.
"The backbone of Canadian Armed Forces operational effectiveness is a sound, fair and transparent justice system," said Major-General Blaise Cathcart, Judge Advocate General. "These National Defence Act amendments will further enable the military justice system to fulfill its fundamental purposes of promoting operational effectiveness and of doing justice for the men and women who serve."
For more information on Bill C-15, click here: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4846