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May 30, 2023
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August 9, 2023
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Topics for the Next Few Weeks


Recently, a colleague commented on the limited number of blog posts that I have presented over the past several weeks.  It is true that my posts have been infrequent.  I have been busy with other tasks and other factors have interrupted my ability to offer regular commentary on matters of military law.  Please accept this brief post as my mea culpa.

There has certainly been no shortage of topics that merit examination and discussion.  There have been a few noteworthy judgments from the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada (CMAC) over the past few months and, although I prepared draft commentary on each of those judgments, other matters have proven to be distractions.  And that is but one example of matters that have arisen without commentary from your faithful scribe.

Consequently, Dear Reader, over the next few weeks, I will re-double my efforts to deliver pertinent examinations of current matters of military law.

I will start with a discussion of the recent Findings and Recommendations (F&R) from the Military Grievances External Review Committee (MGERC) regarding the CF’s policy on vaccination against COVID-19 and, more particularly, its response using remedial measures and, eventually, compulsory release, as a means of disciplining those who declined to be vaccinated.  I suspect that the F&R, delivered by MGERC Member Nina Frid in relation to various grievances, have been ‘making the rounds’ on various forms of social media.  And I suspect that some may have been wondering why I have offered no commentary on this controversial subject.  As I say, I have had a busy Spring and Summer.

And, while my comments will touch upon the analysis offered by Ms Frid, my focus will principally be on what we might expect in response to these F&R within the dynamic of the CF’s statutory grievance process.  While the specific subject matter merits discussion, the examination of the impact of those F&R and the potential response from the final authority (the Chief of the Defence Staff or his delegate) will be just as illuminating regarding the nature and limitations of the CF grievance process.

I will follow up that discussion with further examination of the adequacy of the CF grievance process and the shortcomings thereof to which many stakeholders appear to turn a blind eye.  After all, the CF grievance process is the principal means by which CF members may seek to address abuses and excesses by CF statutory decision-makers.  And both the process, and those decision-makers, have come up short in terms of justice and equity.

And, speaking of military justice, I am overdue in offering a commentary on the new system of summary hearings used to prosecute service infractions.  It had been my intention to present such commentary on the 1-year anniversary of the coming into force of the new Code of Service Discipline process – i.e., 20 June 2023.  Alas, due to other obligations, I missed that self-imposed deadline.  However, in light of the unconscionably long time it takes for the final authority to adjudicate grievances, and delays in other reforms in the administration of the affairs of the CF, I suspect that many in the military community are accustomed to delays and missed deadlines.  Nevertheless, you have my sincere apologies for the delay, and I will endeavour to provide that commentary, if a bit later than expected.

And, as I observe above, the CMAC has been busy this year and some of their judgments will also be examined by Canada’s apex court, the Supreme Court of Canada.  Consequently, I will offer some commentary on individual judgments that have arisen in the CMAC this year.  Again – better late than never.

Finally, I am conscious that there have been periodic subjects raised by the national news media that touch upon military law and the administration of the affairs of the CF.  And in light of some of the mischaracterizations of military law that have arisen in those reports, they merit further discussion in order to ensure that the military and veteran communities, and the broader Canadian public, have a better appreciation for the legislative and common law bases for various mechanisms.

Granted, I have identified an ambitious schedule for this blog.  And all work and no play could well leave your faithful scribe a dull boy.  There is a need to balance this plan with other pursuits.  However, rest assured that this space has not gone silent.

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