OTTAWA – Military police say they are investigating “historic” allegations of sexual misconduct involving another senior commander, this time the officer responsible for human resources in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service uncovered an investigation involving Lt-Gen. Five months after Steven Whelan was installed Friday night as the chief of military personnel responsible for everything from recruiting to promotions to health care.
Whelan took over from Vice Admiral Hayden Edmondson, who stepped down as chief of military personnel in March because of a police investigation following a CBC report of alleged sexual assault. Edmondson has denied the allegations.
The Canadian Armed Forces said in a statement that Acting Chief of Defense Staff General Wayne Eyre and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan were informed of the allegation in early June.
The military said Whelan himself “was not made aware of it because of the potential implications for the investigation.”
Since then, the statement said the deputy chief of defense staff has been assessing the “victim impact, (Whelan’s) continued employment and impact on the workplace”.
“Given recent developments, after discussions with the Deputy Chief of Defense Staff, Algen Whelan agrees that he should step down as Commander, Military Personnel, with immediate effect.”
Whelan could not be immediately reached for comment.
“The CAF is an institution built on the rule of law and the highest expectations from the Canadian people, and as such, the CAF must ensure that all parties – complainants and respondents – have their fundamental rights to due process, procedural fairness, security, and confidentiality,” the statement said.
CFNIS revealed earlier this week that it was also investigating the incoming Canadian Army Commander Lieutenant-General. Trevor Cadeau for alleged sexual misconduct.
Cadiu denied any wrongdoing and said in a statement to service members that the allegations against him were false and intended to cast doubt on his ability to lead the military.
Whelan told The Canadian Press in May that the military’s repeated failure to address sexual misconduct over the years has felt like an “existential threat” to the institution – and shows that this time the problem is indeed Why does it need to be addressed?
Earlier on Friday, a war of words broke out between Eyre and Adam Art McDonald over a letter McDonald wrote to senior officials arguing that he should be reinstated as chief of defense staff.
McDonald’s stepped down in February because of a military police investigation into sexual misconduct allegations. The investigation concluded in August without any charges.
McDonald argued in his letter to senior commanders that he had been acquitted and should be reinstated.
In his own message to top officials, Eyre called McDonald’s letter “shocking” and said he would remain acting chief of defense staff unless informed otherwise by the government.
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan called McDonald’s letter “inappropriate and unacceptable”.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 15, 2021.