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Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

Last Updated May 16, 2021 at 10:40 am PDT

Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a tray in a vaccination room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers on why the military general who was overseeing Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been sidelined, as well as who will be replacing him.

The Defence Department announced in a terse three-line statement on Friday evening that Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin was stepping aside from his role overseeing the delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.

Yet the reasons for his departure were not revealed, aside from a brief mention of a “military investigation.”

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Both the Liberal government and Defence Department have refused to say whether the investigation relates to an allegation of sexual misconduct, the vaccine campaign or something else entirely.

The government has also refused to say who will succeed Fortin at the head of the national rollout effort.

Experts say the lack of information underscores already existing frustration over a lack of transparency within the military and Defence Department, and raises concerns about the state of Canada’s vaccination effort.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press