Canada taps female generals amid military misconduct cases

OTTAWA — Canada is placing girls generals into a few of its most senior military posts, together with one to run logistics for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, after a sequence of misconduct allegations have been levied towards prime male officers.

Critics have complained the armed forces weren’t doing sufficient to deal with systemic issues with sexual harassment, recognized in a landmark 2015 report.

Admiral Art McDonald lasted barely six weeks within the job of chief of the protection workers, Canada’s prime soldier, earlier than stepping down in February for what have been later revealed to be sexual misconduct allegations. He has not commented on the case.

His predecessor, General Jonathan Vance, is being probed over complaints about inappropriate habits with two female subordinates. Vance has acknowledged one relationship however denied impropriety.

Late on Friday, the protection ministry introduced that Major-General Dany Fortin, who was operating the vaccine rollout, had stepped apart pending a probe. Fortin’s lawyer didn’t reply to requests for remark from Reuters however advised the Globe and Mail his consumer denied the allegations, which haven’t been revealed.

“This is … not an ideal situation to be in, particularly in this moment of crisis,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau advised reporters. The furor might harm Trudeau, an avowed feminist, forward of an election aides say he’s prone to name this yr. The opposition Conservative Party accuses Ottawa of performing too slowly and masking up allegations.

On Monday, Fortin was changed by Brigadier-General Krista Brodie, who well being officers mentioned had already performed a pivotal function within the vaccine rollout.

In March, General Mike Rouleau, vice-chief of the protection workers, was changed by Lieutenant-General Frances Allen, the primary girl to carry the job. On Friday, the armed forces introduced promotions for 3 female generals.

“Part of this is trying to demonstrate that the Canadian armed forces is a place where women can fully serve,” mentioned David Perry, protection analyst on the Canadian Global Affairs Institute assume tank, “that no matter what your background is, you do have a chance to succeed.”

The workplace of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Defense ministry information present that as of May 7, girls made up simply 10% of the highest military and naval ranks.

Last month, Ottawa put newly promoted Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan answerable for a workforce addressing systemic misconduct contained in the armed forces. It additionally requested former supreme courtroom justice Louise Arbour to guide a probe into military harassment and sexual misconduct.

This got here too late for a senior female officer who stop in March, sickened by the allegations.

“I am not encouraged that we are ‘investigating our top officers’. I am disgusted that it has taken us so long to do so,” Lieutenant-Colonel Eleanor Taylor wrote in a resignation letter cited by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Former officer Leah West welcomed the Arbour probe however mentioned the 2015 report had already revealed the dimensions of the issue. West mentioned she was assaulted in 2008 by a senior officer however discovered no help from her speedy superior and ended up staying silent.

“Despite years of clear evidence that sexual misconduct is rampant in our military’s culture, nothing has changed,” she wrote within the Globe and Mail this month.

Perry mentioned the system had clearly failed, noting some allegations stretched again a long time.

“What we’ve seen over these past months is that there is a … culture of unacceptable actions in the military that have gone on for far too long,” Trudeau mentioned on Tuesday.

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