Military probe won’t hurt Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout: ministers

The military investigation into the head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout will not derail a massive push to get shots into arms over the coming weeks, say two cabinet ministers.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan faced questions on Monday about the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service probe into Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who has stepped back from his role as head of the country’s vaccine rollout as it unfolds.

“I can assure Canadians that it won’t have any impact in terms of the operational impact,” said Qualtrough. “When someone steps aside, there’s been people training to keep the mission going.

“I have every confidence that Canadians will not feel any impact.”

O’Regan offered similar confidence that the vaccine rollout won’t be impacted, saying he has “every confidence” there are measures in place to make sure the logistics of the rollout continue smoothly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was expected to take questions at the event but left the event without warning due to what one official called a “scheduling conflict” prior to the media availability portion.

Read more: Military head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout steps aside amid investigation

Global News confirmed on Friday night that the investigation relates to a sexual misconduct allegation.

Fortin was named vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada in November 2020 and tasked with overseeing logistical planning for the vaccine rollout.

He also ran the National Operations Centre.

Prior to taking on the role, he was chief of staff at the Canadian Joint Operations Command and from November 2018 to the fall of 2019, he held command of the NATO mission in Iraq.

It remains unclear who will replace him as military head of the vaccine rollout.

Qualtrough told journalists she is not aware of who might replace Fortin.

More to come.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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