Major-General Dany Fortin, who previously oversaw the COVID-19 vaccine distribution campaign in Canada, has been charged with one count of sexual assault.
Mr. Fortin reported to Gatineau police on Wednesday morning after an arrest warrant was issued against him on Monday.
Major-General Fortin then told reporters that he did not know the details of the allegation against him, despite repeated requests from his legal team.
He described as a “nightmare” for him and his family not knowing the nature of the allegation and not knowing whether he would be charged.
He said he was forced to read a lot about him in the media, without being able to defend his name.
Counsel for Mr. Fortin said the only information they received is that the charge relates to an alleged incident that occurred in 1988.
Mr. Fortin, who previously served in Afghanistan and Iraq, described the past three months as the most difficult period of his 36 years in uniform.
“Today I am fighting against an invisible enemy, an invisible adversary. It is the most difficult test of my career ”, he declared in front of the microphones of the journalists.
Fortin was abruptly removed from his post at the Public Health Agency of Canada on May 14 after overseeing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service subsequently referred a sexual misconduct investigation to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) in Quebec to determine whether criminal charges should be laid.
Dany Fortin’s lawyers filed an application last June with the Federal Court for an expedited judicial review of the decision to dismiss him from his post at the Public Health Agency, asking for the decision to be quashed and its reinstatement in the agency or another position.
The serviceman said on Wednesday he was paying his own legal fees for the criminal and federal lawsuits.
The government declined to comment.
During an electoral stop in Quebec, Wednesday morning, the Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was invited to respond to this case.
“The case with Mr. Fortin is before the courts now. But in general, we saw a cover-up on the allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Trudeau’s office three years ago. This is totally unacceptable, ”said O’Toole, himself a veteran.
“We must have a Canadian Armed Force with respect for women in uniform. I have a lot of respect for our military families, the soldiers, and that is why we must have an independent investigation, we must have a freeze on promotions and salary increases for our general officers. And it’s time to put an end to the cover-ups in Ottawa, ”he added.
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