Canadian commander in Haiti relieved of duty

The top Canadian military commander in Haiti has been relieved of his duties after allegations he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with someone outside the Forces.

The top Canadian military commander in Haiti has been relieved of his duties after allegations he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with someone outside the Forces.

Col. Bernard Ouellette, who was the chief of staff for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, is under investigation, said Lt.-Col. Chris Lemay, a spokesman for Canadian Expeditionary Force Command.

Lemay said the decision was based on Ouellette's "inability to address a negative environment that lasted a few months, which affected the morale and team cohesion within the Canadian contingent."

The "situation within the team deteriorated," Lemay added

Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard, commander of Canadian Forces abroad, made the decision to bring Ouellette back to Canada, Lemay said.

There's an ongoing investigation and a report is expected in the next few weeks.

Lemay wouldn't discuss details about the alleged relationship, saying only it was outside the Canadian Forces.

"Ouellete was at the end of his tour," Lemay said, adding that he did "great on the mission in Haiti, especially during the earthquake. He should be applauded for that."

Ouellette was on leave when the decision was made to relieve him of his duties, Lemay said. The new chief of staff, Col. Grant Dame, will arrive next week.

The latest case comes as the military continues to investigate Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard, who was stripped of command in Afghanistan for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate.

Lemay said Ouellette's removal on June 26 was not made public when it happened, because he is considered a staff officer. Menard had a more high-profile public role.

With files from The Canadian Press