major-general. Dany Fortin is contesting the decision of a Federal Court judge who quashed his request for reinstatement at the head of the Canadian campaign to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
The senior military officer’s legal team filed a notice of appeal on Friday, arguing that Judge Ann Marie McDonald erred in her ruling last week that Fortin should file a complaint with the army before taking his case to court.
“The judge made many serious legal errors in her decision, which Major-General Fortin is asking the Federal Court of Appeal to overturn,” lawyer Natalia Rodriguez said in a statement.
Fortin is fighting for her reinstatement after being abruptly removed from her role as leader of the vaccine deployment effort in May, five days before military police announced she had referred an investigation for alleged sexual misconduct to the service Quebec prosecutions.
The senior military officer, who previously served in Afghanistan and commanded a NATO training mission in Iraq before being assigned last November to lead the federal government’s vaccine deployment effort, was formally charged with one count of sexual assault in August.
This case, which concerns an alleged incident dating from 1988, is due to return to a Quebec court on November 5.
Fortin has claimed his innocence and, challenging his impeachment in Federal Court, accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other senior Liberal government officials of excluding him from the vaccination campaign for purely political reasons.
During two days of court hearings last month, Fortin’s legal team argued that the military’s grievance system was not the right place to decide whether his dismissal was appropriate, given the political nature of the decision.
His lawyers have also raised concerns about the military grievance system, citing a recent review by retired Supreme Court Judge Morris Fish who found long delays and ultimately described the entire system as ” broken “and in need of urgent reform.
But McDonald rejected these arguments, writing: “In my opinion, the high-profile nature of Major-General Fortin’s position and the allegations of political interference are not exceptional circumstances that allow him to bypass the grievance process. internal.
Regarding concerns about the grievance system, McDonald noted that Acting Defense Chief Gen. Wayne Eyre had instituted new orders to address issues identified in Fish’s report, adding that any concern about unnecessary delays was “purely speculative”.
In challenging McDonald’s decision in the Federal Court of Appeal, Fortin’s lawyers argue that the judge made several errors in determining that the grievance system was the appropriate forum to hear the case.
Among their arguments is the fact that the grievance system was not designed to deal with decisions made outside the military chain of command, in this case by politicians. They also say the judge did not fully appreciate the time sensitivities surrounding the case.
Fortin’s lawyers are asking that the case be referred to Federal Court for another judge to hear.
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office declined to comment.