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Head of Canadian military intelligence school removed amid misconduct probe

Click to play video: 'Head of Canadian military intelligence school removed amid misconduct investigation' Head of Canadian military intelligence school removed amid misconduct investigation
WATCH: Head of Canadian military intelligence school removed amid misconduct investigation – May 4, 2021

The commandant of the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence is under investigation over alleged misconduct and has been temporarily removed from the role.

Global News has confirmed that Lt.-Col. Raphaël Guay was removed last week and the deputy commandant, Maj. Dorian Trenton, is now acting in his place pending the outcome of an investigation.

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Liberals accused of coverup after military sexual misconduct meeting cancelled – May 3, 2021

“The commandant of the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence has been temporarily removed from command,” said a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence.

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“This was done in order to ensure the fair and transparent conduct of the investigation, while taking into account the needs of all those who are impacted by the matter.”

DND would not confirm whether the investigation was looking into alleged sexual misconduct but said it was probing “possible breaches of conduct.”

“Allegations were brought forward by a single third-party complainant, and refer to different incidents that could be possible breaches of conduct,” the spokesperson said.

Guay has been reassigned to a staff position within the military intelligence division.

READ MORE: Commander of Special Forces to be replaced ‘immediately,’ CAF chief of defence staff says

The Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence is located in Kingston, Ont., and is separate from the Royal Military College.

The school is effectively a professional centre of excellence for training military members on how to collect and use intelligence: skills like developing sources and conducting interrogations.

The Royal Military College, in contrast, is one of the military’s two schools for training future officers seeking military leadership roles.

Military police are not currently involved in the investigation into Guay.

READ MORE: Here’s what we know about how the military sexual misconduct review will work

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The military said that the commander of the Canadian Forces intelligence group has ordered a unit disciplinary investigation based on legal advice, and that any information found to warrant the involvement of other investigative teams would be “promptly shared.”

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The Canadian military is facing what experts call an institutional crisis over sexual misconduct in its ranks after Global News first reported on high-level allegations on Feb. 2.

Military police are investigating allegations against both Gen. Jonathan Vance and Adm. Art McDonald, who are the former and current chiefs of the defence staff, respectively.

Vance denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour. McDonald has declined to comment, citing legal advice and the ongoing investigation.

Multiple women serving in the military have come forward over the last three months to share their stories of experiencing sexual misconduct from senior leaders in the military.

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READ MORE: Sajjan refuses to say whether he knew 2018 Vance complaint was sexual in nature

Their allegations have prompted two parliamentary committees to launch studies into sexual misconduct in the military, in addition to the military police investigations into specific allegations. As well, the government announced an independent external review last week into the problem, which will be led by former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan continue to face intense criticism over their personal handling of an allegation made against Vance in 2018.

READ MORE: Trudeau says no one knew Vance allegation was ‘Me Too’ complaint — records raise questions

Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne testified before a committee that he brought evidence of an allegation against Vance directly to Sajjan in a meeting on March 1, 2018.

He said that Sajjan refused to look at the evidence though, and that Sajjan’s chief of staff then passed the matter on to bureaucrats, who promptly opened and then abandoned a probe.

Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff, also knew about the allegation, according to committee testimony, but appears never to have told Trudeau that an allegation was made about the country’s top soldier.

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Trudeau has said he was never “personally aware” of the allegation.

He also claimed last week that “no one knew it was a Me Too complaint” at the time — which records immediately raised questions about given that bureaucrats asked to probe the matter were describing it as “sexual harassment” within hours of being asked to look into it.

Conservative members of the House of Commons defence committee are now seeking to have Telford testify about what she knew and why she appears never to have informed Trudeau.

— with files from Global’s Mercedes Stephenson.

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