Politics
major-general.  Fortin’s appeal on the decision to re-join the vaccine working group to move forward

major-general. Fortin’s appeal on the decision to re-join the vaccine working group to move forward

A call from the Major-General. Dany Fortin regarding an offer to be reinstated as head of the Canadian Vaccine Deployment Task Force will continue, after a Federal Court of Appeal judge adjourned a government motion to overturn it.

The government, represented by the attorney general, had sought to shorten Fortin’s appeal, arguing that it was “moot” – that the role he once occupied no longer exists.

The Federal Court of Canada ruled in October last year that Fortin should use the military grievance process to advance his case, but his legal team appealed the decision later in the month.

Fortin’s legal team argued that the military grievance process is not the right place due to the time it takes to resolve cases. CBC News reported last month that some military personnel have waited nearly a decade for the Defense Department to process their grievances.

Fortin was removed from his post as head of the vaccine task force in May 2021, and days later military police referred an investigation into allegations of sexual assault to the Quebec prosecution service. He was formally charged in August with one count of sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident in 1988.

Fortin maintains that he is innocent. The criminal case will return to court on January 24.

Case set to go ahead in spring, lawyer says

According to her lawyer, Natalia Rodriguez, the separate case regarding her reinstatement in the task force, or something equivalent, is slated to go to a panel hearing this spring. Rodriguez said the ruling made the motion “rather pointless” because the appeal was not quashed as a preventive measure and the Federal Court of Appeal may consider the idea that the appeal was moot when deciding on the bottom.

Judging the government’s attempt to dismiss the appeal, Federal Court of Appeal Judge Anne Mactavish chose to adjourn the motion, meaning that the merits of the appeal will be heard by a hearing panel. The panel hearing the appeal may still consider the issue of mootness before making its decision.

Fortin argues that he was in fact relieved of his duties in May 2021 and was not reassigned to a post commensurate with his rank, nor was he asked to report to the work or produce some kind of work product. He also maintains that his dismissal was due to political interference.

“This request is not just about the personal interest of Major-General Fortin,” Rodriguez said in September, when the request was first argued in court. “This app also raises serious questions about improper interference in the military chain of command by political actors.”

Government lawyers countered that while the opinions of politicians are taken into account, the decision to remove Fortin rested with the then acting chief of staff, General Wayne Eyre. Eyre is now the permanent chief of the defense staff.

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