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Welcoming Canada’s New Minister of National Defence

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.

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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.

Sandra Song
Sandra is a Research Analyst at the NATO Association of Canada. She was the former Editor for the Canadian Armed Forces program, and she was previously a Junior Research Fellow for the Strategic Reserve Program in 2013. Sandra has a BA Bilingual Hons. in International Studies from Glendon College, York University. She recently completed her MA in International Conflict & Security at the University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies. Her dissertation examined the political and legal perspectives of balancing security and liberty in the case of civilian aircraft hijackings that would be used as a weapon for terrorism. Prior to her time at the NAOC, Sandra was contracted as an Ocean Energy Plan Project Consultant for a non-profit organization in Belgium and the Netherlands.