On October 19, 2015, the Liberal party of Canada won the elections, assuming office and establishing majority control. The results of this federal election put young Justin Trudeau into the role of prime minister (the second youngest PM in Canadian history). Unlike the American system with checks and balances, the Canadian system went through some reform under PM Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, in the 1980s, resulting in consolidated power for the prime minister and his office. If the party in power has a majority government, the PM essentially wields all the power in Canadian government.

On October 19th, 2015, Justin Trudeau assumed this power, and on November 4th, Justin was sworn in and named his cabinet. The Cabinet of Ministers under the Trudeau government was to be equal in numbers of women and men, and ethnically diverse. He accomplished this, and gave several “rookie” members of parliament fairly high-ranking positions. One that comes to mind for our community is Minister of National Defence (MND) Harjit Singh Sajjan.

So who is Harjit Sajjan and how will this man affect the transformation of the Canadian Armed Forces? He is a Canadian immigrant who came to Canada at age five with his police officer father and their family. He has spent 11 years as a police officer in the Vancouver Police Department; his last position there was as a detective with the Drug and Gang unit. He is also a veteran of Bosnia, has endured three tours in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer, and has served as a Lt. Col. in the reserves—the first Sikh to command a regiment in Canada.

He may be a rookie MP, but he has also been tried and tested in his political abilities. For two of his tours in Afghanistan, he was tasked as the liaison officer between Asadullah Khalid and Ahmed Karzai, a tough task for the best of political power brokers, and he faired well in the position. He may not be a door-kicker, but his credentials in uniform are legit. It saves the break-in time needed for a minister straight off civi-street to learn how we operate, and it gives hope for the CAF that there will be a minister in office that actually does have their best interest in mind, having been there and dealt with the issues that we deal with daily.

Sajjan will be tasked with carrying out what Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie outlined in the “Report on Transformation” of 2011.

According to the Liberal party:

“We will implement the recommendations made in the Canadian Forces’ Report on transformation. The Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to protect Canada’s borders and work with our allies overseas should never be compromised. Threats to its ability to meet future obligations must be addressed head on. The report on transformation made a series of recommendations on how to build a more modern, efficient, and effective military, including reducing the size of administration within government and the Canadian Armed Forces in order to strengthen front-line operations.”—Liberal.ca

Meet Harjit Singh Sajjan, Canada's New Sikh Warrior Cabinet Minister