Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/7/2010 (3419 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — The chief of the defence staff is battling immorality in the ranks as the former commander of Canada's troops in Afghanistan and a female subordinate face charges from their sexual liaison.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service launched an investigation shortly after Master-Cpl. Bianka Langlois acknowledged she had an affair with Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard in Afghanistan.
Ménard, married with two children, faces two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline under the military's fraternization regulations. The 26-year veteran has also been charged with one count of obstructing justice and a separate count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.
Langlois has been charged with one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, also related to military fraternization regulations.
A spokeswoman for Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of defence staff, said her boss is "very disappointed and seized by these incidents," including recent charges and investigations involving two other high-ranking military officers.
"He has reinforced the fact that leaders in the Canadian Forces are held to a high standard of values, morals and ethics," said Maj. Cindy Tessier.
"In each of theses instances, leaders who have failed to live up to the standards expected by the men and women in uniform under their command are being held accountable."
In speeches, briefings and meetings, Tessier said Natynczyk also speaks about the importance of unit cohesion and esprit de corps. He tells his officers that, while 99 per cent of CF personnel are doing good work, "a leadership climate that undermines the tenets of professionalism, integrity, conduct and honesty" cannot be tolerated.
"Our business of security is by its very nature dangerous," Natynczyk told a change-of-appointment ceremony in Ottawa on Monday. "In these stressful circumstances, it is the trust and confidence amongst us that enables the teamwork and unit cohesion that are vital for mission success.
"It is only fitting then that we as senior leadership are held to a very high and uncompromising standard. A high standard that reflects the very best morals, military ethos and values of our society."
Menard's case will be referred to the director of military prosecutions, who will decide whether to proceed with a court martial. Because of her rank, Langlois can elect a summary trial or court martial.
Military regulations bar soldiers — even married couples — from having intimate relations on deployment.
Ménard was removed as field commander in Afghanistan last month and ordered home. He was slated to assume command of land forces in Quebec but his army boss, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, said events in Afghanistan shook the military's faith in him.
The Quebec posting went to one of Ménard's predecessors in the Afghan mission, Brig.-Gen. Alain Tremblay, who takes over command July 30. Ménard was replaced in Afghanistan by Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance.
An army spokesman declined comment on the case, saying it's now a matter for the courts. But Lt.-Col. Jay Janzen, director of army public affairs, said "morale in the army remains high."
Nevertheless, they're more salt in the wounds of a military already smarting from the sensational case of Col. Russell Williams, former CO at the country's biggest air force base, in Trenton, Ont. Williams is facing two murder charges and numerous other counts related to sexual assault and the alleged theft of women's underwear.
— The Canadian Press