The Canadian military justice system is far removed from the civil society it is supposed to represent and defend, says Professor Michel Drapeau published in Opinion Piece - Power and Influence magazine - Ottawa January 25, 2016 . The author summarizes some of the presentations made at the International Military Law Conference which took place at the University of Ottawa on November 13, 2015. The author concludes as follows:
Over the past decade or so, attempts to modernize the NDA to bring it more in line with global trends or our own civilian penal system have been serially resisted by our own military. Several reforms made as a result of pressures were initiated from outside, including the judiciary but not within DND. At present, the Canadian penal military justice system mitigates the right to equality before and under the law as well as the right to equal protection and benefit of the law guaranteed by section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It is now imperative that a full-scale independent systemic review of the Canadian military justice system be undertaken to ensure that it corresponds to strict functional necessity. That is without encroaching, as it currently does, on the right of soldiers and on the jurisdiction that can and should belong to ordinary civilian courts. In the final analysis it should bring the military justice system more in line with contemporary Canadian legal doctrine and principles and prevent it from falling further behind global trends in the contemporization of this traditionally stagnant body of law.
The conference has confirmed the urgent need for the 42nd Parliament to embark upon a review which will lead to its revaluation and rejuvenation to ensure its harmony with the ordinary law of Canada. Such reform of the military justice system would have implications not only for those in the military, but also for the rightful place of the Canadian Forces within Canadian society."