“We need to continue to see courageous and frank talk combined with bold, supportive actions. This task belongs to each and every one of us and I know I can count on your support.”
McDonald is currently on paid leave, Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier confirmed Thursday.
McDonald used his inaugural speech Jan. 14 to promise he would stamp out sexual misconduct and racism in the Canadian Forces. He also apologized to those in the ranks who have suffered from such actions.
But on Feb. 10, McDonald found himself in trouble on social media when he tweeted out a photo of himself and seven other white male senior officers at a meeting. He pointed out that he counted on the senior male leaders in the photo to champion cultural change and diversity. The pushback was immediate, with Twitter followers calling the tweet embarrassing and an example of the failure of the military on diversity.
In originally 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.
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.
This content was originally published here.