On 4 November 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada’s new Minister of National Defence is Harjit Sajjan.
Harjit Sajjan came to Canada from India at the age of five. Settling in South Vancouver, he was surrounded by a diverse and culturally rich community.
Prior to being elected as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons to represent the Vancouver South riding, Harjit Sajjan served his community as an officer for the Vancouver Police Department for 11 years. He completed his final assignment as Detective-Constable with the Gang Crime Unit, specializing in organized crime. As a Human Security specialist, he has spoken to a wide audience in both Canada and the US.
In 1989, Harjit Sajjan was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Primary Reserve, eventually working on a full-time basis. Sajjan has worked up the military ranks as a Lieutenant Colonel in the CAF, and is a combat veteran. He has served in four overseas deployments throughout his military career to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and three times to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sajjan has also served as an Aide-de-Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
In 2011, Col. Sajjan was the first Sikh to direct a Canadian Army regiment when he was named Commander of the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own). He has also been awarded numerous honours for his service to Canada:
Order of Military Merit
Meritorious Service Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal (Afghanistan)
General Campaign Star (Afghanistan)
Mention in Dispatch
Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal
NATO Service Medal (Bosnia)
Golden Jubilee Medal
Diamond Jubilee Medal
Canadian Forces’ Decoration
US Army Commendation Medal
Chief of Defence Staff Commendation
Deputy Minister Award (Department of National Defence)
As the new Minister of National Defence, Sajjan will be responsible for the management and direction of Canada’s national defence, and the role of the CAF.