Admiral Art McDonald has been placed on an administrative leave and will not immediately return to his job as the leader of the Canadian military, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan confirmed today.

McDonald stepped aside from his job as chief of the defence staff in February after news emerged that he was being investigated over sexual misconduct allegations.

Military investigators concluded their work last week and said they would not proceed with any criminal charges against McDonald.

In a statement issued yesterday, McDonald’s lawyers said that — now that he had been “exonerated” — he intended to return to his old job.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Admiral Art McDonald will remain on administrative leave “until further notice.” (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Those plans were quickly dashed by Sajjan, who today confirmed the government plans to keep him sidelined.

“Yesterday, I indicated that it was my expectation that Admiral Art McDonald would remain on leave while the government reviews the situation,” Sajjan said in a media statement.

“I am confirming today that this is the case. Admiral McDonald will be on administrative leave effective today and until further notice.”

McDonald’s lawyers said yesterday that because he voluntarily agreed to step aside while the investigation was taking place, he should now have the right to return.

“Now that he has been exonerated, it is appropriate for Admiral Art McDonald to return to his duties as [chief of defence staff],” his counsel Michael Edelson and Rory Fowler wrote in a media statement.

“Given that it was his decision to step aside, it is now his decision — indeed, obligation — to return to his duties.”

The chief of the defence staff serves at the pleasure of the prime minister and there is no set period of service for someone in the role.

“Appointments like that of chief of defence staff must meet the highest possible standards and our goal must be to create a better workplace for the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces,” Sajjan added.

“A workplace that ensures that complainants and survivors are treated with the utmost respect and that allegations are taken seriously in every instance.”

Source From CBC News

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