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Incoming army commander under investigation for 'historical allegations'

OTTAWA — Incoming Canadian Army commander Lt.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu is denying any wrongdoing after the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service revealed Wednesday the senior officer is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

Cadieu was recently promoted and a ceremony to install him as head of the army was slated for Sept. 7. A 29-year veteran of the military, Cadieu previously served in Bosnia and Afghanistan before most recently providing analysis and advice to the chief of the defence staff.

But in a joint written statement Wednesday, the Defence Department and Canadian Armed Forces said acting defence chief Gen. Wayne Eyre decided to suspend the ceremony two days before it was due to happen after he was informed that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service was investigating "historical allegations" regarding Cadieu.

“The postponement of the ceremony is not an indictment of Lt.-Gen. Cadieu,” said the unsigned statement. “However, in light of the ongoing investigation, a decision was made to allow the justice system to pursue the matter in accordance with the rule of law.”

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s spokesman Todd Lane said the minister became aware of the investigation on the same day as Eyre.

The CFNIS confirmed to The Canadian Press that the investigation relates to an allegation of sexual misconduct, but would not provide any further information.

In a separate written statement, sent by the Defence Department, Cadieu denied the allegations.

“The allegations are false, but they must be investigated thoroughly to expose the truth,” he said, adding he has voluntarily provided information and correspondence to investigators and “taken other measures to prove my truthfulness and innocence.”

Cadieu also said he has asked Eyre to consider selecting someone else to serve as Canadian Army commander, a position that has been filled in an acting capacity by a series of senior officers since Eyre took over as acting defence chief in February.

“I know that these false claims will, as intended, create doubts about my ability to lead in this environment,” Cadieu said.

“While I have devoted every day of my career to making fellow members feel respected and included, Canadian Army soldiers deserve a leader who is unencumbered by allegations and can lead at this important time when culture change, addressing systemic misconduct and preparing tactical teams for operations must remain the priority effort.”

Cadieu, who could not immediately be reached for additional comment Wednesday, is the latest senior commander to be investigated by military police.

Allegations of sexual misconduct in particular have forced a reckoning within the military over its failure to address inappropriate behaviour. They have also sparked criticism of the Liberal government’s handling of the issue and calls for more external oversight of the military.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2021.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press