The Canadian Armed Forces is facing calls to return Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to duty after the senior officer, who previously oversaw the Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, was acquitted of sexual assault.
The military says it is considering the implications of the ruling, which was handed down by a Quebec civilian judge on Monday following a high-profile trial.
Fortin’s lawyer, Natalia Rodriguez, says her client is ready, willing and able to return to service after being essentially put on paid leave for more than a year.
But Rodriguez also says that Fortin’s career and reputation have suffered as a result of the allegation against him, and the way it was handled by the Liberal government and the military.
Retired colonel Michel Drapeau, who is now a lawyer specializing in military cases, says the acquittal should pave the way for Fortin should be immediately assigned to a new role with full duties.
But he and others say the government may instead offer a settlement in return for Fortin’s retirement, similar to what happened when the breach of trust case against vice-admiral Mark Norman was dropped in May 2019.