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Canada's 'Badass' Defense Minister Has Been Released From the Military — And Now He Can Order Generals Around

Harjit Sajjan, a decorated army reservist, has been touted for single-handedly changing how the Canadian military gathered intelligence in Afghanistan.

by VICE News
Nov 10 2015, 5:20pm

Canada's new defense minister, a decorated combat vet, has secured his release from the Canadian Forces, eliminating a quirky situation in which he would be overseeing generals who are technically his superiors. 

Harjit Sajjan, an army reservist, has been touted for single-handedly changing how the Canadian military gathered intelligence in Afghanistan. 

He requested his release after he was elected a member of parliament on October 19 and before he was named defense minister on November 5 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

"We can confirm that Minister Sajjan's release was signed on Sunday, November 8th, and that he is no longer a Reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces," Department of National Defense spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier told the Ottawa Citizen. "The institution is grateful for his service to Canada and we look forward to working with him." 

The current Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Jon Vance was the commander who requested Sajjan be dispatched to Afghanistan in 2009 as a special advisor to the Canadian mission. 

Sajjan's appointment as defense minister has made waves around the world, in part because of his impressive military resume, but also as one of four members of Trudeau's cabinet who are of Sikh origin. A photo of him in army fatigues has earned the father of two the "badass" label. 

Canadian Military Family magazine reported ahead of the election that Sajjan offered his resignation to the military while running for office but was asked to stay on. 

"If we all of a sudden send soldiers in harm's way and my skills are absolutely needed for the mission, I'd be happy to take a leave of absence from being a member of parliament and share the risk with the other members of CAF," Sajjan told the publication then. 

Related: Everyone Thinks Canada's New Defense Minister Looks 'Badass'