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Judge set to rule today on Maj.-Gen. Fortin’s reinstatement to vaccine campaign

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OTTAWA — A Federal Court judge is set to rule today on Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin’s request for reinstatement as the head of Canada’s vaccine distribution campaign.

The ruling by Justice Ann Marie McDonald follows a two-day hearing last month in which Fortin’s legal team and the government argued over who removed him from the high-profile post in May — and why.

Fortin’s legal team alleged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his government secretly decided to have the senior military officer turfed from his temporary position at the Public Health Agency of Canada for purely political reasons.

They argued that constituted inappropriate political interference in the military’s internal affairs, violated Fortin’s own rights to due process, presumption of innocence and privacy — and is why he should be reinstated as head of the vaccine rollout campaign, or a similar post.

Government lawyers in turn asked McDonald to throw out Fortin’s lawsuit.

They maintained that acting defence chief Gen. Wayne Eyre made the decision to remove Fortin in the interests of the vaccine rollout effort and a police investigation into Fortin’s conduct. And they said that if he wasn’t happy with the move, he should have taken it up with the military.

The Federal Court decision is separate from the battle that Fortin is fighting in criminal court after Quebec police charged him last month with one count of sexual assault in relation to an alleged incident dating back to 1988 that was initially investigated by military police.

That case is due back in a Quebec court on Nov. 5.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 12, 2021.

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