The second-in-command of Canadian Forces is stepping down from his position after he received flak for playing golf with a former defence chief of the country who is under investigation for sexual misconduct.
Lieutenant General Mike Rouleau issued a statement on Monday informing that he was resigning from his position after he was condemned for playing golf with General Jonathan Vance who has been accused of sexual misconduct and remains under military investigation.
Lt Gen Rouleau apologised and said that: “I understand how such an activity could lead some to perceive a potential conflict of interest and controversy, given the current context, but nothing can be further from the truth. For this I am sorry.”
Lt Gen Rouleau described the golf outing with Gen Vance as a “private activity” and said that he had reached out to him “to ensure his wellness.” He said in the statement that they didn’t discuss any matters pertaining to any ongoing investigations.
The reports of his golf game with Gen Vance first appeared in the local media, The Globe and Mail and Global News last weekend, followed by outrage.
He admitted that he was “seized by the issue that was reported in the media this past weekend, regarding a round of golf between myself, the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy [Vice Admiral Craig Baines], and General (Ret’d) Vance.”
In the statement, he said that he accepted “fully how my decision to do so has intensified recent events and contributed to further erosion of trust.” Defending Vice-Admiral Baines’s participation, he said, he was “surely predicated on my attending therefore I would ask that only I be held accountable.”
Vice Admiral Baines also issued a public apology on Monday and said, “to be clear, it was not a show of support for Jonathan Vance as it pertains to the ongoing investigation. My focus should have been on the victims of sexual misconduct and on the impacts on their lives. For this, I am sorry.”
Lt Gen Rouleau was set to hand over command as vice chief of the defence staff to Lt Gen Frances Allen shortly, Global News reported. Lt Gen Allen will be the first woman to hold the position in the country.
The second-in-command of Canadian Forces said that he is “stepping aside immediately as VCDS and will transition to the CAF Transition Group.”
“I am acutely aware of the tumultuous times we are navigating together. Like all of you, I have been working hard to deliver on our commitments and to inform our way forward. I am a huge advocate for change.”
The Global News and Globe and Mail reported that the golf game took place at Hyland's golf course in east Ottawa on 2 June.
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had also said on Sunday that both Lt Gen Rouleau and Vice Admiral Baines had to “answer for themselves.”
The Global News quoted Lt Gen Wayne Eyre, the acting chief of the defence staff, as saying that Lt Gen Rouleau had “accepted full responsibility” in the matter and said he will now turn his attention to determining the next steps.
He said: “The recent golf game involving General (Retired) Vance, Lieutenant-General Rouleau, and Vice-Admiral Baines is troubling.”
“I am seeking relevant advice to determine the way ahead,” he said.
Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister also weighed in on the matter. “I was very disappointed, very surprised. I think this showed very poor judgement.”
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