CAF reservist pleads guilty to 2 charges over COVID-19 vaccine mandate criticisms

Army reservist James Topp speaks to the crowd during a protest against COVID-19 health measures at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ont. on June 30, 2022. The Canadian soldier pleaded guilty to two charges at a court-martial. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby. SC

Canadian Armed Forces soldier Warrant Officer James Topp has pleaded guilty to two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline in relation to videos posted on social media criticizing COVID-19 vaccine requirements for military personnel.

Topp made the plea at the start of his court-martial in New Westminster, B.C., while also pleading not guilty to charges of wearing a uniform incorrectly, though the prosecution says those charges will be dropped.

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Topp was charged in 2022 after the army reservist appeared in uniform in two online videos criticizing vaccine requirements for military personnel and other federal employees.

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CAF members are severely restricted in the comments they can make while in uniform, particularly when criticizing government policies, in large part to protect the military from any perception of politicization.


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