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Canada's vaccine rollout operation won't miss a beat with new military leader: expert

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, arrives for a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

An expert in military affairs says the sudden departure of the military official in charge of Canada’s vaccine rollout is unlikely to have any impact on the high-profile operation.

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., says the reassignment Friday of Maj-Gen. Dany Fortin won’t slow down the rollout because the military always has a second in command ready to step in to get the job done.

The Department of National Defence says Fortin left his post with the Public Health Agency of Canada pending the results of a military investigation, though the nature of that probe was not revealed.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan issued a brief statement saying he was committed to building a culture of inclusion for the Canadian Armed Forces, and he also said he wanted to see the military shed “toxic and outdated values, practices and policies.”

Fortin’s replacement was not revealed Friday and the Defence Department declined to comment on the case today.

Fortin was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last November to oversee what he called the “greatest mobilization effort Canada has seen since the Second World War.”

Leuprecht, who also teaches at Kingston’s Royal Military College of Canada, said the change in command will barely be noticed.

“The mantra is, ‘Failure is not an option,’ Leuprecht said in an interview Saturday.

“The mission has to go on. If you’re fighting a war and your general get’s taken out, you need someone who is able to step into the fray right away and keep running the operation. The entire machine is set up to keep on rolling.”

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

The Canadian Press