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25 Feb, 2021 12:23

Canada's defense chief steps down amid military police probe just two months into his new role

Canada's defense chief steps down amid military police probe just two months into his new role

Canada’s top military commander, Admiral Art McDonald, has voluntarily stepped down just two months after he was promoted to the post, as he is being investigated on unspecified allegations.

The Canada Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) probe was confirmed Thursday after Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan appointed Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre as acting chief of the defense staff. Sajjan said he takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and continues to take strong action on any allegation of misconduct that is brought forward “no matter the rank, no matter the position.”

The minister did not disclose the nature of the allegations made against McDonald and said he won’t be making any more comments until the CFNIS probe is wrapped up.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed McDonald to lead the NATO member’s 71,500 full-time and 30,000 reserve troops as his chief of defense on December 23.

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MacDonald was sworn in on January 14 to replace retiring General Jonathan Vance, who is also under the CFNIS microscope over allegations of inappropriate behavior towards two women, which he denies. That investigation was stepped up last Monday.

Earlier this month, McDonald apologized following a public backlash that erupted when he tweeted a photo about the importance of diversity. The photo, however, depicted eight white, male colleagues sitting around a conference table with one woman on a screen in the background.

“It’s true: the leadership of the CAF is, and historically has been, predominantly male and white. That needs to change,” McDonald tweeted.

“We need to reflect Canada’s diversity at all levels. We must work to eliminate systemic racism and dismantle the barriers to career advancement that exist. We are there in mindset but know there is still a lot of work to do, and we are committed to doing it.”

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