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Military's human resources officer under investigation for 'historic' sex misconduct

Last Updated Oct 15, 2021 at 6:14 pm MDT

OTTAWA — Military police say they are investigating “historic” allegations of sexual misconduct involving yet another senior commander, this time the officer responsible for human resources in the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service revealed the investigation involving Lt.-Gen. Steven Whelan on Friday night, five months after he was installed as the head of military personnel command, which is responsible for everything from recruitment to promotions to health care.

Whelan took over from Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson, who stepped aside as the head of military personnel command in March due to a police investigation after a CBC report of alleged sexual assault; Edmundson has denied the allegations.

The Canadian Armed Forces say in a statement that acting defence chief Gen. Wayne Eyre and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan were informed of the allegation in early June, and that Whelan was unaware of the investigation but has agreed to step down. 

The CFNIS revealed earlier this week that it was also investigating incoming Canadian Army commander Lt.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu for alleged sexual misconduct.

Cadieu denies any wrongdoing and said in a statement to service members that the allegation against him is false and intended to create doubt in his ability to lead the army.

Whelan told The Canadian Press in May that the military’s repeated failure to address sexual misconduct over the years has led to what feels like an “existential threat” to the institution — and demonstrates why it needs to really address the problem this time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press