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New Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan still in the Canadian military, putting him in ‘quirky, unique situation’

New Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan still in the Canadian military, putting him in ‘quirky, unique situation’

Harjit Singh Sajjan is a decorated Lt Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces who has served four tours of duty in Bosnia and Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Handout Harjit Singh Sajjan is a decorated Lt Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces who has served four tours of duty in Bosnia and Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Canada’s new minister of National Defence is still a serving member of the Canadian Forces, putting him in the unusual position of theoretically having to take orders from generals who are supposed to answer to him.

Harjit Sajjan, a lieutenant colonel in the army reserves, is trying to obtain his release from the Canadian Forces but at this point is still a member of the military.

“The Minister of National Defence’s release from the Canadian Armed Forces is currently being processed in order to ensure that he receives the appropriate benefits based on his long and honorable service in the CAF,” said Department of National Defence spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier.

“The MND requested his release on October 21, 2015 and the process is expected to be resolved this week.”

Sajjan was named minister of National Defence on Wednesday.

The Vancouver South Liberal MP will be dealing with a senior military leadership led by Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance. Vance previously was the commander who requested that Sajjan’s specialized skills on counter-insurgency and tribal politics be used in Afghanistan.

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