The Military Grievances External Review Committee (MGERC) recently concluded that the execution of the COVID-19 vaccine policy within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) might have infringed upon the Charter rights of certain members.
Phillip Millar is a prominent legal advocate, and he has taken the lead in representing numerous Canadian military personnel in their legal battles against vaccine mandates.
“The military members were being kicked out of the (CAF) for not following a lawful order, but they never charged them with not following a lawful order. They just administratively released them and said the reason they're being released is they didn't follow the lawful order.” said Mr. Millar.
His unique perspective stems from his own military service, and now he stands as a staunch advocate for the rights of those facing discrimination and threats due to political policies.
“I think the (CAF) leadership and the prime minister's office were shocked that this review committee, which is not a court, but a committee that adjudicates these grievances, found that the mandate was unconstitutional. I hear that they want to try to appeal it, but the ball is in the hands of the chief of defence staff. Now to accept it and let these people come back into the military or pay them because they were treated unfairly.” Millar pointed out.
The pivotal question remains, will the CAF challenge the assertions made by the MGERC in Federal Court? Regarding the potential for an appeal, Millar elaborated on why he thinks this might occur:
You know, usually what happens when it's not a political issue is that when they find this, the soldiers get what they ask for.
Right, but in this particular case, because there's so much politics behind what the chief of defence staff is doing, is dragging his feet. And the indications we're getting is he's going to appeal it.
Given his military background and familiarity with the rules and regulations, Millar identified the most egregious unlawful action he observed within the CAF:
We know that there were directions coming from the chief chaplain to all of the chaplains of all denominations, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim issued directions not to accept a spiritual exemption for the vaccine.
So there was one avenue open to members that if they had an exemption for religious purposes, they wouldn't have to take the vaccine. But from the highest levels of the armed forces, there was a direction to tell people of all faiths that they would not be granted a spiritual exemption.
And it's interesting because how do you tell somebody what their spirituality is from the chain of command? It's a deliberate political interference into the very private spiritual positions that our members had.
This resulted in the discharge of numerous soldiers, both due to their spiritual beliefs and their personal medical choices.
“We kicked out 400 soldiers, sailors and air force people who had decades of training there, almost irreplaceable air forces with a huge manpower shortage. And they kicked them all out because politically, Trudeau wanted to set an example. And so we lost crucial, crucial resources,” he concluded.