“As I have stated, I take all allegations of misconduct seriously and continue to take strong action on any allegation of misconduct that is brought forward,” Sajjan said in a statement. “No matter the rank, no matter the position.”
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service confirmed it has launched an investigation into McDonald. Sajjan and the Department of National Defence declined to discuss details of the investigation.
“I want you to know that I will do all that I can to support you, to stop these unacceptable acts from happening, and to put into practice our guiding principle: respect the dignity of all persons. Creating a respectful environment is a responsibility that we all share.”
The investigation into McDonald is yet another blow to the Canadian Forces. It is already dealing with allegations made against McDonald’s predecessor Gen. Jon Vance.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service launched an investigation Feb. 4 into Vance after a series of reports from Global News which alleged the officer had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. Global also reported Vance is alleged to have made a sexual suggestion to a second, much younger soldier in 2012, before he was appointed chief of the defence staff.
Vance has been asked repeatedly by this newspaper for comment about the allegations but he has not responded. He told Global he did nothing improper.
The Commons defence committee is conducting hearings into the allegations surrounding Vance. Sajjan was grilled by parliamentarians last week on why he didn’t remove Vance when first told about allegations of sexual impropriety in 2018.
But Sajjan didn’t answer the question and many others like it, citing the need to protect an ongoing investigation into the former chief of the defence staff.
In announcing McDonald as the new defence chief, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the naval officer. “Vice-Admiral Art McDonald brings decades of experience in a variety of command and staff roles, and I am confident that he will provide dedicated leadership to the Canadian Armed Forces as they continue to respond wherever is needed to protect Canadians and our values,” Trudeau said.
McDonald became commander of the Royal Canadian Navy in June 2019. Before his appointment, he commanded HMCS Halifax, the Fifth Maritime Operations Group, and Joint Task Force Pacific.
This content was originally published here.