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Allegation of military relationship made in late May

Task Force Kandahar commander Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance right, walks with then-incoming TFK commander Brigadier-General Daniel Menard after his arrival at Kandahar Air Field in November, 2009.

Master Corporal Angela Abbey

A female soldier first made the allegation that she was in an intimate relationship with Canada's top military commander in Kandahar to someone late last week and the information was relayed up the Canadian Forces chain of command, according to an unofficial military source.

The allegation has not been proved or confirmed.

On May 29, Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard was relieved of command for troops in southern Afghanistan over allegations he was fraternizing with a fellow soldier in a war zone.

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Both Gen. Ménard and the female soldier have been sent back to Canada while military investigators probe the allegations. The general is married, and his wife is a major who commands a logistics company in Quebec.

A military source says the woman who made the allegation that she was in a relationship with Gen. Ménard is a non-commissioned member of the Forces, meaning she's not part of the officer class but is an enlisted soldier.

In Canada, non-commissioned ranks range from private (recruit), or ordinary seaman, all the way up to chief warrant officer or chief petty officer first class.

Full details of what transpired have yet to surface, but the military source said that senior Forces officials found themselves on the receiving end of a report they couldn't ignore late last week.

The female soldier made the allegation about having a relationship withGen. Ménard to another person on Thursday or Friday - May 27 or 28. The identity of this other person is still unknown.

"The individual involved reported her relationship to somebody and that was immediately brought up to the chain of command," the military source said.

According to the military source, indications are this alleged disclosure was motivated by conscience rather than malice, the military source says. What's not clear is whether this alleged confession was also driven by fear of being discovered - or worry that the secret was out.

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Military rules strictly forbid any kind of intimacy on deployments, including relationships of an emotional, romantic or sexual nature. The Forces ban all forms of sexual relations in the field, including touching and kissing, to prevent an erosion of discipline and cohesion.

The military moved so swiftly on the allegations because it views romantic liaisons between a commander and a soldier in the field as a serious threat to morale.

"You cannot cross that line ever. It creates all sorts of issues. You've got to deal with it really fast - and it was," the military source said.

"If individuals involved have made statements about this, you've got enough information to say, 'Take that commander out.'"

General Andrew Leslie, the head of the Canadian army, refused to talk to reporters about the Ménard controversy during a visit to Parliament Hill on Monday. He even ducked out the side door of a Senate committee hearing room to avoid media.

Gen. Ménard was promoted to brigadier-general on Jan. 1, 2010.

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Last week, he was fined $3,500 by a military court for mistakenly firing his rifle at Kandahar Air Field in March. He had failed to switch his C8 carbine rifle to the "safe" position before departing in a helicopter with General Walter Natynczyk, chief of the defence staff.

Nobody was injured, but the embarrassing incident qualifies as an offence under the National Defence Act.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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