The daily National Post
reports today that earlier this year Major-General Dany Fortin received glowing and rave evaluation reports from the acting Chief of the Defence
Staff[ (CDS) for his performance since November 2020 as the Vice-President
of Logistics and Operations of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) during which he led the vaccine roll-out and
the rest of the government’s response to COVID-19 across Canada.
This caused a strong adverse reaction from Canada’s two opposition political parties because the acting CDS, Lieutenant General Wayne Eyre would have known by then that MGen Fortin was under investigation by the military Police. News Democratic Party of Canada’s Defence Critic is quoted as saying as follows:
It’s a concern that if he did know about it, and he still wrote that kind of recommendation, then it’s another example of the failure to take things seriously” in Canada’s military when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct.
This writer challenged this unfair criticism. My comments are below. First, for a bit of a background on MGen Fortin
Fortin is a 30-year veteran. He recently led NATO’s Training Mission in Iraq
and previously led Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. He also previously served on
a two-year assignment (2015-2017) as the Deputy Commanding General of I Corps
DCG-0 at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord stationed in the State of Washington. A rising star!
May 14, 2021, MGen Fortin was suddenly removed
from the performance of his military duty with the PHAC, on the orders of his political
masters: the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Health pending
the results of a military police investigation.
MGen Fortin first learned of
the specific of the allegations against him only on May 16, 2021. This information was provided by a news
reporter. This took him completely by surprise. Hevigorously and categorically
denies the allegations.
According to the
same news media sources, the incident being investigated dates back to 1989
when Fortin would allegedly have exposed himself to a woman while he was a student
at the Royal Military College at St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu, Quebec. The identify
of the complainant has not been made public.
On May 19, the military police
referred the matter to the Province of
Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions for review. and possible prosecution before a civil court (presumably because on the date of the alleged offence, the Canadian military did NOT have jurisdiction to prosecute 'sexual assault'.
On June 14, 2021, MGen Fortin filed and Application
for Judicial Review before the Federal Court of Canada asking that
the decision to remove him from his military duties with the PHAC be judicially
reviewed. In his application, he pleaded that the decision to remove him was
made for a political purpose and that he was denied procedural fairness.
The decision was arbitrary, not in the public interest and made
solely for the personal and political gain of the Ministers of Health and National
Defence and the Prime Minister.
the termination of his secondment to PCAC, MGen Fortin has been without assignment and
has been relieved from the performance of a military duty.
MY COMMENTS: POLITICAL INTERFERENCE GALORE
National Post article published today cites this writer as follows:
under the accepted constitutional principle that one is assumed to be innocent
until proven guilty by a court of law, it makes a lot of good sense for the
acting CDS, LGen Wayne Eyre to have assessed MGen Fortin’s previous year
on-job performance to his true and well-earned value.
- To do otherwise, would
mean that LGen Eyre would have acted, at that moment, as judge and jury in the
affair. The CDS acted most properly by
giving due recognition to Maj Gen Fortin’s potential for further advancement
and letting justice run its course. To have acted any other way would have been
improper, unjust, unfair and contrary to procedural fairness.”
- It clearly was the politicians not the military command that
decided on MGen Fortin’s future. And this is most preoccupying. We have sacrificed the career of an otherwise outstanding military officer to
satisfy the perceived political interests of the moment. It is Canada’s loss
As acting CDS, LGen Eyre is currently lacking in power, stature and authority to face, contest and resist political interference with his onerous responsibilities while facing one of worst possible crisis ever facing the Canadian military. .
This is most troublesome and concerning.
Under current climate at National Defence Headquarters (Pentagon North), the acting
CDS’s power, authority and influence is therefore considerably reduced.
From all accounts, Maj Gen Fortin is being sacrificed on
the altar of political expediency. That is too bad for him, the armed forces and Canada.