Top military official responsible for Canadian vaccination programme fired
The military official responsible for the logistics of Canada’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been fired after coming under an investigation.
Major-General Dany Fortin was seconded to the public health agency of Canada as vice-president for logistics and operations in November last year, as the country prepared to launch its vaccination drive.
However, in a sudden announcement on Friday, a spokesperson for the department of national defence said he had “left” the assignment “pending the results of a military investigation”. Details of the reasons for the investigation were not revealed.
Fortin was appointed to the critical position by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Fortin was also in charge of establishing and supervising the national operations centre, which is the logistics hub of the vaccine programme.
His departure comes even as the Canadian armed forces is facing an institutional crisis over misconduct allegations that have claimed the last two chief of defence staff, the senior-most officer, and have also embroiled the minister of national defence Harjit Sajjan as well as officials of the prime minister’s office.
General Jonathan Vance resigned in January amidst allegations of impropriety of a sexual nature, and is facing an investigation. Sajjan has come under severe criticism in this matter after the military ombudsman of the time revealed that the defence minister was informed of improper conduct with a subordinate in 2018.
Earlier this month, an advisor to PM testified before the house of commons defence committee that she was aware of the allegations. Vance’s successor admiral Art McDonald stepped aside less than a month-and-a-half into his term as he also faces an investigation by the Canadian forces national investigation service.
While, it is not known whether either or neither of these investigations are linked to Fortin’s exit, his absence could have an impact on the delivery of vaccinations across the country. As the logistics chief, he led a campaign that has resulted in over 50% of Canadians receiving at least one dose of a Covid-19 jab.