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Shakeup coming atop Canadian military as 1st woman deputy to be named


The Canadian military’s second-in-command will soon be replaced as part of an anticipated major shakeup of the senior ranks of the embattled institution.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau will be moved aside as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) in order to make way for Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen, CBC News has confirmed.

The move is part of a number of general officer appointments and transfers, which the Department of National Defence intends to announce on Tuesday.

Global News first reported the latest shakeup, but a confidential source confirmed the information late Monday to CBC News. 

It is happening at a time of extraordinary crisis within the military as the two most senior officers — Admiral Art McDonald and Gen. Jonathan Vance — remain under investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigative Service for alleged sexual misconduct.

After learning last week that he was under investigation, McDonald, who had only been in the Chief of the Defence job a month, stepped aside.

The normal practice would have been to make the vice chief the acting top commander, but Rouleau was passed over and the head of the Canadian Army, Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre was given the temporary appointment by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau will be moved aside as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in order to make way for Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen, CBC News has confirmed. (CBC News)

The intention, according to a defence source, is to make Rouleau, who is the former commander of special forces, a senior adviser on future capabilities.

Both Rouleau and Allen have only been at their current jobs since last summer.

Allen, who as a major-general served as the deputy vice chief, is currently Canada’s military representative at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

She will become the first woman to hold the position of vice chief and in that capacity will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the military.

Increased political scrutiny

Allen inherits an institution in the midst of crisis, one that is struggling to salvage its signature social initiative: the campaign to stamp out sexual misconduct, which has suffered a major credibility hit because of the scandals surrounding Vance and McDonald.

There will be increased political scrutiny.

On Monday, a Parliamentary committee agreed to an expanded set of hearings into sexual misconduct in the military.

The House of Commons defence committee has held a series of meetings and heard from a number of witnesses, including former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne, who told MPs he had warned the minister three years ago about an allegation of inappropriate behavior involving Vance.

An investigation into the claim was hamstrung because the complaint was informal and Walbourne had given the woman his guarantee of confidentiality.

www.cbc.ca 2021-03-09 05:21:39

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