Canada

Military ombudsman to join justice ministry

Military ombudsman Yves Côté will be switching gears to become the new associate deputy minister of justice in the new year, Ottawa announced.

Military ombudsman Yves Côtéwill be switching gears to become the new associate deputy minister of justice in the new year, Ottawaannounced.

A lawyer by trade, Côtéhas served in various legal roles between 1981 and 2000, including counsel for the Canadian Forces and coordinator of the Somalia inquiry.

He joined the Department of National Defence in August 2005 and has since spokenout about issues regarding the welfare of Canadian soldiers.

In May, Côté admonished the military for deliberately stallinghisprobe into complaints by a sniper team serving in Afghanistan.

Thesnipers were among the first Canadian troops sent on mission in 2002 and claimed they were ostracized by their commanders. In the end, Côté concluded the soldiers were treated fairly, but publicly criticizedthe military for putting upinformation roadblocks during his investigation.

In January, he rebuked the defence department for shoddy record keeping, saying Ottawa could not produce for him a full list of soldiers who served in past missions, or even recent tours in Afghanistan.

And in 2006, Côtélaunched aninvestigation into whether reservists receive the same medical treatment as theirregular soldiercounterparts.

Earlier that year, he released a report charging thatthe militarymishandledthe legitimate health complaints of solders exposed to burning oil wells during a tour in Kuwait.

Côté will take his new post on Jan. 7. Meanwhile,Ottawa issearching forhis replacement, it said in a release.