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Defence vice-chief who golfed with Vance steps aside from role, but not from military

Mike Rouleau will join group that helps Canadian Forces members shift into civilian life
Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference Friday, June 26, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A senior military officer who recently golfed with former defence chief Jonathan Vance is stepping aside from his role, but not from the Armed Forces overall.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau says in a statement that he is leaving his position as vice-chief of the defence staff immediately.

He says he will join the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group, which helps members shift into civilian life.

Rouleau and Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice-Admiral Craig Baines had faced criticism for teeing off with Vance, who is under military police investigation for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Rouleau says he was reaching out to a retired member of the Armed Forces to “ensure his wellness,” but he understands how the activity “could lead some to perceive a potential conflict of interest and controversy.”

But he says “nothing can be further from the truth” and that he is sorry.

“I am acutely aware of the tumultuous times we are navigating together. Like all of you, I have been working hard to deliver on our commitments and to inform our way forward,” he says.

“I am a huge advocate for change. Indeed, many of you have heard me speak about leadership, culture, and accountability for years. I have fully embraced the need for us to foster greater diversity, inclusion and respect at all levels, to curate our culture, and to uphold accountability across our institution.

“I wish the amazing women and men of CAF the best, moving ahead.”

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Senior officer who golfed with Vance has power over military police investigations