Military 'playbook' lacks plan for dealing with cases against defence chiefs

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OTTAWA — An early version of a new “playbook” to help Canada’s top military commander deal with allegations of misconduct involving senior officers appears to provide little in the way of new direction for how to handle such high-profile cases.

The Canadian Press obtained a draft copy of the document, which appears to be a distillation of existing guidelines, processes and "considerations" for dealing with such incidents when they are reported.

It outlines the responsibilities that different parts of the military have when it comes to such incidents, as well as the specific steps taken in resolving cases.

Acting defence chief Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre first referred to the document when he appeared at a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, as he laid out a series of new military efforts to address sexual misconduct in the ranks.

The document notes the defence chief is largely responsible for directing the investigation and disciplining top-ranked officers, but does not mention what the military should do if its top commander is implicated in an allegation.

The playbook underscores the need for the chief of the defence staff to remain impartial in dealing with cases involving senior officers, and to avoid even the appearance of directing or predetermining the outcome of a case.

This report by The Canadian Press was first reported March 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press