The Canadian press

The Canadian armed forces are wavering after the chief of news defense, Admiral Art McDonald, was investigated for wrongdoing just weeks after the military police opened an investigation into allegations against his predecessor

Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan announced late Wednesday that McDonald had “voluntarily stepped aside” while military police investigated unspecified allegations

McDonald took over the helm of Gen’s Defense Staff last month Jonathan Vance under investigation for allegations of inappropriate behavior

Conservative defense critic James Bezan on Thursday called on the government to reveal the nature of the allegations against McDonald, who made his first address as defense chief on Jan. January 14 used to apologize to victims of military misconduct and hatred

“In the interests of morality and so that our women and men in uniform have confidence in the top leadership of the Canadian armed forces, Minister Sajjan must confirm why the Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Art McDonald, is being investigated,” Bezan said in a statement >

Quebecois Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said the message from the government should be that the military “cannot be less than exemplary”

“I believe that the people who join the army, who decide this is their career choice, are good people and should not be judged as a whole. I believe that there are some people in the institutions who are not up to the task are to be exemplary “

In a memo to the armed forces on Wednesday, McDonald did not mention allegations against him, but said the “time for patience is over” and the military must “accelerate our culture change” “

“Our institution can no longer transfer the burden of change and transformation to those affected by harassment, discrimination or any wrongdoing. That burden must be on us all,” he wrote

“As the boss, I have to work with all the executives in CAF every day to earn your trust, and we are all committed to it”

“If you are considering speaking to someone who has information about the (Vance) or other suspected wrongdoing case, you have my support to come forward, speak up, and tell the truth, and you can expect to hear from you be heard, supported and protected “

The McDonald’s investigation has once again called for external scrutiny of the military, who are monitoring allegations of sexual misconduct within the ranks

Attorney and retired Colonel Michel Drapeau said the government must appoint a permanent and independent inspector general who is similar to that of other military personnel

That person would have investigative powers to investigate allegations of misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces

“If he were to come across criminal evidence during his investigation, he would be obliged to stop his investigation and bring the matter to the criminal investigation department,” Drapeau said in an email

That being said, Drapeau said Sajjan should immediately convene a commission of inquiry – possibly headed by a military judge – to investigate the allegations against McDonald, with police only being involved if the allegations are criminal in nature

Should the police interfere, Drapeau added, it should be the RCMP, not the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the investigative arm of the Military Police

“I have no faith in education, experience, or independence,” Drapeau said of the service known as the NIS,

“In addition, (the Military Police) and the NIS report to the Deputy Chief of Defense, which makes any claim to” independence “illusory”

In addition to criminal offenses, Canadian military personnel can also be charged with so-called service offenses, which usually relate to inappropriate behavior such as drunkenness and a relationship with a subordinate

Former Navy reservist Marie-Claude Gagnon, who founded a group for survivors of military sexual misconduct called It’s Just 700, has been raising concerns about loopholes in the system for years

“External supervision is essential,” said Gagnon. “Self-regulation itself has never worked It’s not a recipe for success I hope there is no doubt that there must be an oversight”

Admiral Art McDonald can be seen during an interview with the Canadian press in Ottawa in 2019 (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Adrian Wyld)

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Art McDonald

World News – CA – The military staggered as the new defense chief steps aside on allegations of misconduct