The former military chief of the vaccine launch in Canada was indicted on one count of sexual assault on Wednesday, accusing the government of a “political calculation” by removing him from his job and saying that the fight to regain his position is “the toughest of my career”. “

Major-Gen. Dany Fortin performed in Gatineau, Que. police station, as scheduled, shortly after 9am on Wednesday. The alleged incident dates back to 1988 in Quebec.

Your first court appearance will be on September 20, the day of the federal election.

Speaking to reporters outside the police station on Wednesday, Fortin, who denies any wrongdoing, lamented the lack of information that Quebec prosecutors provided to him and his legal team.

“For the last three months, my family and I have been living this nightmare of not knowing, not knowing the nature of the accusation, not knowing the status of the investigation, not knowing if they would accuse me or not,” Fortin said in a brief statement in French and English.

“My legal team has repeatedly and repeatedly contacted prosecutors to seek information without success. So I have been forced to read a lot about myself in the media with no ability or no outlet to defend my name. ”

Fortin said he was removed from his post as head of the vaccine launch in May “on the instruction” of Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, and said at the time he was told he was under investigation “for some form of sexual conduct. inappropriate that allegedly occurred. ” more than 30 years ago.

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“I learned of the general nature of the allegation from a reporter shortly after I was fired from my job,” he said.

Fortin said he was contacted Monday by military police and told to report to the Gatineau police station as an arrest warrant would be issued against him.

He is now challenging both the charge in criminal court and his dismissal in Federal Court, two fights that, he said, are in his charge.

“As the acting chief of the Defense Staff told me, confirmed in his personal notes, the decision to dismiss me was the result of a political calculation,” said Fortín. “I just want to get back to work.”

He said that he is now fighting “an invisible enemy” and that this fight “has been the hardest of his career.”

Fortin previously served in Afghanistan and commanded NATO troops in Iraq before leading Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.

He became the face of that effort, providing regular reports to journalists on the progress of vaccine distribution across the country and in the arms of Canadians.

He was removed from office on May 14, five days before the Canadian Forces National Investigative Service referred an investigation of sexual misconduct to the Quebec prosecutor’s office to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

The Canadian military this year has been rocked by a sexual misconduct crisis this year, and current and former senior leaders are under investigation.

Speaking to reporters just before Fortin left the police station on Wednesday, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole declined to comment on the accusation Fortin faces, given that she is now in court.

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“As a veteran but more importantly as a father, we have to make sure that women can serve their country with respect and without harassment,” he told reporters at a press conference.

He took aim at the Liberals, repeating a much-used Conservative talking point when accusing the government of a “cover up” over handling a misconduct charge against former Defense Chief of Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance in 2018. O ‘ Toole called the handling of the file a “parody.”

Liberals have argued that they had very little information to go on at the time.

Vance now faces a criminal obstruction of justice charge as part of an ongoing military police investigation.

With files from The Canadian Press


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