Canada’s Prime Navy Officer Steps Apart Amid Investigation

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OTTAWA — Canada’s high navy officer quickly stepped apart as chief of the protection employees after navy police opened an investigation into unspecified allegations in opposition to him.

The removing of Adm. Artwork McDonald got here within the midst of a separate investigation into the earlier chief of the protection employees, Jonathan Vance, a now retired military basic. Experiences surfaced this month that he behaved inappropriately with two feminine subordinates.

“I take all allegations of misconduct critically and proceed to take robust motion on any allegation of misconduct that’s introduced ahead,” Harjit Sajjan, the protection minister, mentioned in a statement released late Wednesday night time on Twitter. “Irrespective of the rank, regardless of the place.”

Canada’s navy has lengthy struggled with allegations of sexual misconduct and sexism.

In 2019, the federal government put aside $690 million to settle claims of sexual harassment and misconduct inside its navy introduced in 5 class motion lawsuits. The settlement adopted an exterior evaluate by a retired Supreme Court docket justice who discovered that navy had “an atmosphere that’s hostile to ladies and L.G.T.B.Q. members, and is conducive to extra severe incidents of sexual harassment and assault.”

Earlier this week, the Convention of Protection Associations Institute, a Canadian coverage group led largely by former navy officers, issued an announcement elevating issues concerning the impact sexual misconduct allegations are having on the navy.

“Allegations of this nature erode public belief within the Canadian Armed Forces, and in the end negatively have an effect on morale and hurt efforts to recruit the longer term protectors of our nation,” the group mentioned.

Throughout his tenure, Mr. Vance, who served as protection chief from 2015 to till his retirement final month, launched a extremely publicized program to “guarantee sexual misconduct isn’t minimized, ignored or excused.”

When Admiral McDonald was sworn as chief of the protection employees, he spoke about the necessity to change the tradition throughout the navy and apologized to its members “who’ve skilled racism, discriminatory conduct and or hateful conduct.” He instructed reporters that over his profession he had unintentionally perpetuated a number of the issues that he now deliberate to deal with.

However lower than a month into his new job, Admiral McDonald confronted criticism after posting a tweet selling variety and cultural change containing {a photograph} of eight white senior navy commanders round a desk with a single girl in civilian garments and a ninth man showing on a video display screen behind them.

Lt. Gen. Wayne D. Eyre, the commander of the military, will quickly act because the navy’s high officer.

Citing the police investigation, Mr. Sajjan, a former lieutenant colonel within the military who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, declined to supply any specifics. The Division of Nationwide Protection additionally didn’t provide any particulars.

Final week, Mr. Sajjan declined to inform the Home of Commons committee on nationwide protection when he first discovered concerning the allegations in opposition to Mr. Vance, solely saying he was “shocked” once they have been first aired publicly by World Information, a Canadian broadcaster, earlier this month.

Mr. Vance, who twice led the Canadian Forces based mostly in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was appointed by the earlier Conservative authorities.

On Sunday, World Information broadcast an interview with Kellie Brennan, a former military main, who mentioned that she had a sexual relationship with Mr. Vance over a number of years, together with intervals when she was underneath his command in Toronto and Ottawa.

When requested if it was consensual, Ms. Brennan mentioned: “On a private stage, ‘consensual’ which means was I taking part in it? Sure.”

However she added: “Might I say no to him? No. The rationale why I say that’s as a result of if he rang me on the telephone or if he texted me, I used to be obliged to get again to him.”

She mentioned that her makes an attempt to lift the problem throughout the navy went nowhere.

“It was a sizzling potato that no person knew what to do with,” she mentioned.

Mr. Vance denied having intercourse with Ms. Brennan whereas she was underneath his command, however mentioned that they’d dated in 2001.

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