this op-ed in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. The title: "Putting military in charge of reviewing its own justice system is an impossible conflict." He writes, in part:
According to the terms of reference for the announced review, the final report will be unclassified, but will be subject to “solicitor-client privilege”. That limits access only to those whom JAG wishes to read it.
This makes no sense.
For solicitor-client privilege to apply, there must be counsel for an organization to which the solicitor is giving legal advice. In this situation, the publicly funded JAG branch is both solicitor and client, with the review team receiving submissions from the public.
Solicitor-client privilege should be unnecessary. It merely shields JAG senior management from public disclosure about how the advice, contributions and recommendations will be handled, how it is being analyzed, and what will flow from this advice. This reinforces the need for an independent and external public inquiry.
At the end of the process, the results should be made public. The code affects about 100,000 serving regular and reserve military members and perhaps another 100,000 who have retired since 1998, when the NDA was changed to extend jurisdiction for 25 years following retirement.
As it is now constituted, the CMCR is a review by the Department of National Defence. The information gathered, lessons learned and recommendations made can be accepted, ignored or “cherry-picked” by the judge advocate general behind a veil of privilege that prevents any public disclosure.
A public inquiry, however, would mean there will be witnesses, submissions and, in the end, a report — all of which are open to view and available to the public.What do you think?