Canada general who left top Covid job accused of sexual misconduct: reports

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Major General Dany Fortin, then commander of NATO Mission Iraq, speaks during an interview in Baghdad on November 17, 2019

The general who left his post in charge of coordinating Canada's Covid-19 vaccination campaign -- amid a probe by the military -- has been accused of sexual misconduct, news outlets said Saturday.

Major General Dany Fortin, a former commander of the NATO mission in Iraq, has left his public health assignment "pending the results of a military investigation," the Department of National Defense said Friday without elaborating.

The Globe and Mail newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying military investigators are looking into an allegation of sexual misconduct said to have taken place before Fortin became a general in 2015.

The source said the female complainant has requested that the allegation not be shared publicly, the paper said.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said it had confirmed that Fortin is accused of sexual misconduct.

The government did not immediately react to the news reports. If confirmed, they would be the latest embarrassing case for the Canadian military and government.

Fortin was appointed in November by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to coordinate the logistics of the largest vaccination campaign in Canadian history.

The Canadian military, in collaboration with the public health agency, is responsible for distributing the vaccine in remote communities of this vast country.

The military has been shaken in recent months by a series of investigations into high-ranking officers accused of sexual misconduct.

They include retired general Jonathan Vance, a former chief of the defense staff, who has denied the allegations against him.

His successor, Admiral Art McDonald, left office a few weeks after his appointment. He faces an investigation into similar charges.

Last month, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan instructed Louise Arbour, who was a prosecutor before the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia, to conduct an independent investigation into the handling of sexual harassment cases within the military.