Special forces commander immediately granted relief to support soldier convicted of sexual assault

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The Commander of the Special Forces, Major-General Peter Dow, stands in front of an ultra-light combat vehicle at a Canadian Special Operations Forces Command Transformation ceremony in Ottawa on April 25, 2018.

Patriot Doyle / Canadian Press

Canada’s top soldier apologized on Sunday for dealing with a high-profile departure within the ranks of the nation’s military, which he admitted was “increasing pain” within the Canadian armed forces.

Acting chief of defense staff Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre said in a statement that “it has become increasingly clear to me” that the action four years ago by the commander of the special forces, Major-General Peter Dawe, “caused division and anger.” Is being made. ” Within the CAF. “

Major- General. Dow was the director general of international security policy this summer to walk out of the job. But on Friday, the Department of National Defense said that his departure would be next week. Now, he is immediately relieved of his command and placed in the rank of lieutenant-general. Eyre said.

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Ottawa supports advocacy by advocates for victims of military trauma while working to ensure counseling

According to a report by CBC News last week, Annalize and Kevin Schmuhan, a retired military couple, revealed that a hasty departure was learned in 2017 that Major-General. Dau provided a written character reference for Major Jonathan Hamilton. It was after the chief was convicted of illegally entering the couple’s home in Kingston and sexually assaulting Ms. Schmuhan and physically assaulting her husband.

Ms Shambhuhan told CBC, “We were originally betrayed by our military family” and said she had faced sexual misconduct, harassment and bullying while employed by the military. Mr. Schamuhn stated that through his actions, Major-General. Dau lost moral authority to lead the elite forces of the army.

Major- General. Dau apologized to his subordinates last week for actions intended to help Major Hamilton get a more lenient punishment. He said they were “harmful to the victim and her spouse” and did not think about how it would be “seen by other silent survivors” of sexual assault, according to a document obtained by the CBC.

Nevertheless, Lieutenant-General. Eyre initially stated that he had full faith in Major. General Dau stated that he had accepted full responsibility and learned from the case. Amid growing anger within the ranks, Lieutenant-General. Eyre said in a second statement on Friday that Major-General. Dawe will hopefully move on to his new job soon.

On Sunday, in his third statement on the matter, Lieutenant-General. Eyre said: “This is a difficult time for us as an institution, and for many people who are constantly facing it. It suffers through a sense of betrayal, and I think that is real.

He repeated his earlier statement that he had confidence in the Major-General. Dau ”has accepted full responsibility and learned from this tragic case. However, the needs of the institution must be prioritized. “

The top soldier said that he had requested that “clear directions regarding character references be provided for cases of legal proceedings.” … We should keep learning and ensure that such situations do not progress again and again.

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“In doing so, we must always keep the victims’ view at the forefront and be accountable for our actions. We should do better. “

The military’s sharp response to the case came after the government’s appointment of former Supreme Court Judge Lewis Arbor last Thursday to review sexual harassment and assault in the Canadian Armed Forces and make recommendations on an external reporting system for victims. The announcement was made after allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by top Army commanders, including former defense chief Jonathan Vance.

Opposition leaders said last week that the government failed to take action on a 2015 report by former Justice Mary Deschamps, which also called for an independent reporting process and reform of military culture. The government, including the Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, have also been accused of sexual misconduct against Mr. Vance.

On Friday, the Prime Minister said the review was intended to fix the “failure of the entire system”, the measures the government has brought to date have been “all inadequate” and left the victims feeling that they Were not properly supported.

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