Chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance announces impending retirement

Chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance announces impending retirement

Chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance announces impending retirement

OTTAWA — Gen. Jonathan Vance, who led the military through a major pivot after the war in Afghanistan, announced Wednesday he is stepping down as chief of the defence staff.

The country’s top soldier said his retirement will be official “in the months to come” after the government has found a successor.

The surprise announcement was made in a letter posted to social media, in which Vance told the members of the Armed Forces that they remain an inspiration to him and says he has given them his all.

“Until I relinquish command I will continue to serve you and Canadians with the same energy and effort I always have,” he wrote.

Vance, 56, is among the longest-serving chiefs of defence staff in Canadian history.

There had been persistent reports the Liberals were going to recommend him to become NATO’s top military official in the fall.

Defence sources, not authorized to speak publicly, told The Canadian Press the government informed Vance recently that wouldn’t be the case.

He was first appointed to the job by the previous Conservative government in July 2015.

Over the next five years, he oversaw the Forces as it struggled to find a new focus after years of combat in Afghanistan sapped its mental and physical strength.

His first act as chief of the defence staff was to launch Operation Honour, the military’s effort to stamp out sexual misconduct and one of many steps taken in an effort to modernize the Forces’ demographics.

Vance’s tenure also saw more involvement for the military in domestic affairs, including an increased role assisting in floods and wildfires, and most recently as support to long-term care homes dealing with COVID-19.

Under his watch, Canadians also took command of a NATO battle group in Latvia and a NATO training mission in Iraq, as well as making a year-long contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts in Mali.

“With almost 40 years of service, Gen. Vance has devoted his life to this country and we thank him for his dedication and leadership,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

Trudeau said he has initiated the search for Vance’s successor.

There has been ongoing turmoil in the top ranks of the military for close to three years.

In March, Lt.-Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier announced his surprise retirement after less than a year as vice-chief of the defence staff.

He was the sixth vice-chief under Vance, and had been seen as someone who could replace him.

Lanthier had replaced former lieutenant-general Paul Wynnyk, who resigned abruptly following a dispute with Vance.

Wynnyk had been one of the top officers tapped to fill the post while the Mark Norman affair played out.

Vance suspended vice-admiral Mark Norman in January 2017 due to an RCMP investigation into whether Norman had leaked cabinet secrets about a shipbuilding project.

The vice-admiral was charged, but the charges were later dropped. Vance tried to reinstate Norman, but the admiral retired instead.

Vance had been heavily criticized for how he handled the case, with the suggestion at the time he was acting under political pressure to suspend Norman. He denied that allegation.

The scandal around Norman was one of several blemishes on Vance’s reputation.

Last year, he issued a lengthy apology to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan after making the decision to exclude them from a rededication ceremony for the Kandahar war memorial.

The military had given them no notice of the ceremony, nor were they invited to attend.

A new, public, ceremony was subsequently arranged.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read