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National Chief of Defence Staff steps aside amid investigation

Last Updated Feb 25, 2021 at 5:11 am EDT

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, the new head of the Navy, addresses the audience at the Royal Canadian Navy Change of Command ceremony in Halifax on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Canada's top sailor says there is still "good life" left in the navy's submarines and that with some modest investments, they will be able to operate through to the 2030s. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Admiral Art McDonald has stepped down as Chief of Defence Staff pending an investigation by military police.

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan says McDonald voluntarily stepped aside as chief of defence staff as he is investigated on unspecified allegations.

“I take all allegations of misconduct seriously and continue to take strong action on any allegation of misconduct that is brought forward. No matter the rank, no matter the position,” Sajjan says in a statement released Wednesday evening.

Military investigators are probing allegations of sexual misconduct against McDonald’s predecessor, Gen. Jonathan Vance.

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Sajjan appointed Lieutenant General Wayne Eyre as acting chief of the defence staff.

Sajjan says he will have no further comment at this time due to the ongoing investigation.