Various media outlets reported on 16 January 2017 the ‘relief’ of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS). Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Jason Proulx, the spokesperson for the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Jon Vance, stated: “As you will have seen in the letter, the [CDS] has temporarily relieved the [VCDS], Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, from the performance of military duty…”. However, that’s not exactly what the letter states.
The letter, dated 13 January 2017, and reported by several media sources, states:
Effective immediately and until further notice, Vice-Admiral M.A.G. Norman will not exercise the powers, duties and functions, including command of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS). I hereby appoint Vice- Admiral M.F.R. Lloyd to exercise all of the powers, duties and functions of the VCDS, including command, on an acting basis.
There is no mention of Article 19.75 (or Article 101.09) of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&O). These ministerial regulations form the basis for the last-resort measure that results in stripping a member of the Canadian Forces, regardless of rank or position, of all military duties (the former under the administrative volume, the latter under the disciplinary volume). More particularly, the CDS order clearly indicates that Vice Admiral (VAdm) Norman was removed from his position as the VCDS. Whether he was relieved from performance of military duty is more ambiguous.
So, either LCol Proulx misstated what the CDS had done, or, his comments truly reflect the CDS’ intent, but the content of the CDS’ order is deficient. It’s not clear which reflects the reality of the situation. One would also hope that, if the intent was to relieve VAdm Norman from performance of military duty in accordance with QR&O 19.75, the CDS provided VAdm Norman with sufficient reasons for his actions, and an opportunity to make meaningful representations, as is required under sub-article 19.75(6).