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Senior Canadian navy official removed from position over ‘inappropriate comments’

Click to play video: 'Canada’s military court has done little to act on sexual misconduct, eroding discipline: Arbour'
Canada’s military court has done little to act on sexual misconduct, eroding discipline: Arbour
WATCH: Former Supreme Justice Louise Arbour delivered her independent report of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces on Monday, which found top ranks of the military struggle to recognize parts of a culture that fosters sexual misconduct and abuse of power. She told a press conference that, "The handling of sexual offences by military court over the last 20 years has done very little to improve efficiency, discipline and morale. If anything, it has served to erode it." – May 30, 2022

The Maritime Forces Pacific Formation Chief Petty Officer has been relieved from his appointment due to “inappropriate comments” he made, according to a statement released by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) on Monday.

Timothy Blonde was removed from his duties after making inappropriate comments about a junior sailor’s appearance at a social event at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt on May 6, the statement says.

The Formation Chief Petty Officer is the most senior non-commissioned member appointment within Maritime Forces Pacific, according to RCN.

Read more: 2nd retired military officer charged in connection with sexual assault at RMC

In the statement, Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, states he “no longer has confidence in Blonde’s ability to carry out his leadership duties, maintain discipline, and ensure the highest standards of ethics and values of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).”

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Topshee noted that the investigation did not show that Blonde has violated the Code of Service Discipline or the Criminal Code of Canada.

However, he said the evidence showed his action was “unacceptable and incompatible with his duties and responsibilities as Formation Chief Petty Officer.”

Therefore, Topshee said the RCN decided that it is necessary to remove Blonde from his duties.

It is unclear what comments were made by Blonde and the nature of the comments.

Blonde will continue to serve in the RCN because no charges have been pressed, but RCN said Blonde will not be in a position of “senior leadership or influence where fostering trust with junior members is required.”

Click to play video: 'HMCS Regina commander removed after ‘inappropriate conduct’ on another vessel'
HMCS Regina commander removed after ‘inappropriate conduct’ on another vessel

Last month, another leader of the navy, commanding officer Lt.-Cmdr. David Dallin of HMCS Regina,  was removed after an incident involving “inappropriate conduct,” the RCN announced on June 30.

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Commodore David Mazur, commander of the Pacific Fleet, said the incident involved Dallin allegedly “behaving inappropriately” toward a student by abusing his powers.

Three weeks before that announcement, the captain of HMCS Halifax, identified as Cmdr. Dale St. Croix, also was removed amid an investigation into what the navy said were multiple incidents aboard the ship during a port visit in Swinoujscie, Poland.

The June 9 announcement from the Canadian Forces made clear, however, that those incidents did not involve sexual misconduct.

Read more: TIMELINE: The Canadian Forces sexual misconduct crisis

The Canadian Forces has been criticized for its failure to address sexual misconduct and abuse of power within its ranks. 

The report by former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbour released last month suggested the top ranks of the Canadian Forces are “incapable” of recognizing the “deficient” parts of a culture that keep sexual misconduct entrenched.

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The report came after Global News first reported in February 2021 on sexual misconduct allegations against military leaders, including former chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance.

— with files from Global’s Sean Boynton

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