Baines faced criticism last summer after Global News and other media reported that he had gone golfing with retired Gen. Jonathan Vance while the latter was still under military police investigation.
Baines later apologized and kept his position while another then-senior leader at the golf game, vice chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, retired shortly thereafter.
The acting chief of the defence staff said at the time that Baines must use the chance to “redeem himself” and become a better leader.
In an internal message sent to military members, Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre said he had decided that Baines could stay in his role as head of the navy and that there was “no perfect answer” for how to handle the situation, which was first reported on by Global News and The Globe and Mail.
Eyre made no mention of Baines’ initial decision to describe his golf round with Vance as a “public display of support” — a description that was quickly condemned following a fierce backlash.
When pressed on whether his statement of a “public display of support” was intended as him taking a public stance on the ongoing military investigation into Vance, Baines later clarified.
“To be clear, it was not a show of support for Jonathan Vance as it pertains to the ongoing investigation. My focus should have been on the victims of sexual misconduct and on the impacts on their lives. For this, I am sorry,” he said in a statement in June, 2021.
Military leaders are facing significant pressure to fix the sexual misconduct crisis within their ranks.
The results of an external review into how to implement an independent sexual misconduct reporting system are expected next month.