New head of Canada's Army from Breton, Alberta

The Canadian Army has a new leader and he's from Breton, Alberta. Lt.-Gen.Paul Wynnyk assumed command of the army from Lt.-Gen. Marquis Hainse at a ceremony on Parliament Hill on Thursday.

Army 'well-positioned to provide combat-ready troops if necessary,' Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk said Thursday

Lt.-Gen. Marquis Hainse formalizes the hand-over of leadership of the Canadian Army to Lt,-Gen. Paul Wynnyk during a formal ceremony held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday. Gen. Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, presided over the event. (Cpl. Andrew Wesley, Directorate Army Public Affairs)

Canada's Army has a new leader and he's from Breton, Alta.

Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk assumed command of the Canadian Army on Thursday from Lt.-Gen. Marquis Hainse at a ceremony on Parliament Hill.

Wynnyk started his military career in the late 1970s with the Army Cadets in Breton, a village 107 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.

He has held a variety of operational and staff assignments both nationally and abroad, including postings to Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia. 

He served as Deputy Commander of the Canadian Army from 2012 to 2014. From July 2014, he served as Chief of Defence Intelligence, overseeing the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.
Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk was appointed the new Commander of the Canadian Army on July 14, 2016 (Government of Canada)

"The army is well-positioned to provide combat-ready troops if necessary," Wynnyk told the Ottawa crowd huddled under umbrellas.

Where the army may be deployed in its role as peacekeepers is up to the Government of Canada to determine, he told reporters after the ceremony.

"We could deploy anywhere," Wynnyk said. "Having served on a number of peacekeeping missions myself both in Africa and Asia our troops can undertake missions like that anywhere."

Asked about reports the army is struggling to recruit and retain members, Wynnyk said he doesn't believe that to be true.

"The strength of the army is sufficient right now to undertake the tasks and missions that the government assigns us. It will certainly be my job if we're not strong enough to do that, to signal the chief of defence staff. But I don't agree that we don't have enough troops to undertake the missions that we're looking at right now," Wynnyk said.

In his speech during the ceremony, Wynnyk gave credit to his parents for supporting him on the path to this point in his career.

"My mom Joan, who is here today, has watched and supported my journey in uniform from cub scout, to army cadet, to reservist, to regular officer," he said.

About his late father Walter, Wynnyk said, "As both my high school principal and the commanding officer of my army cadet corps, it was he who encouraged me to embark upon a career of military service."