DND paid $40K for disgraced former general Daniel Menard's move
Published Monday, February 17, 2014 10:02PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 17, 2014 10:04PM EST
The Department of National Defence paid nearly $40,000 to move a disgraced former brigadier-general from the Montreal area to the United Arab Emirates, according to the same documents that brought to light another former general’s controversial $72,000 move within Ottawa.
According to the documents, the department paid the $40,000 to move former brigadier-general Daniel Menard, who was demoted and later pleaded guilty to having improper relations with a subordinate, so he could take up his new job with private security firm GardaWorld as head of its Afghanistan operations.
Menard led Canadian Forces in Afghanistan before being stripped of his command and sent home in June 2010 after his affair with the subordinate came to light. Menard resigned in November 2010 and left the military the following month.
In July 2011, Menard was fined and demoted to colonel after pleading guilty to improper relations with a corporal under his command and obstruction of justice for trying to impede an investigation into the affair.
The documents that shed light on Menard’s move are the same that showed that taxpayers paid $72,000 to move retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie from one home in Ottawa to another a four-minute drive away in 2012. The figure includes moving costs and real-estate fees.
In all, the defence department has covered nearly $600,000 to move dozens of generals and admirals over the past five years either within the same city or just outside the city limits, the documents show.
The costs were covered under a program that allows members of the Canadian Forces who have served for more than 20 years to expense one last move after they retire. The benefit is administered through the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program.
Defence Minister Rob Nicholson says that the federal government is now reviewing the policy. In a statement issued Monday evening, Nicholson said the costs of Leslie’s move “appear grossly excessive, demonstrating a clear lack of judgment and Liberal sense of entitlement.”
The statement noted several times that Leslie is now an advisor to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. It is believed that Leslie will run for the Liberals as a star candidate in the next federal election.
Liberal sources have told CTV News that they believe Leslie is being singled out by the federal government because of his ties to the party, which will not ask him to repay the funds.
In an interview with CTV News that aired on Sunday, Leslie accused the Conservatives of targeting him with a “smear campaign.”
“We were always comforted by the knowledge that when it came time to hang up my spurs, I could go somewhere exactly where we wanted to go, where we wanted to retire to, where we essentially wanted to settle down for the rest of our lives,” he said.
“And the current policy, a Conservative-managed policy, is that there is no differentiation between rank, and you can either move next door or you can move to the other side of the country.”
Government officials said Sunday that nobody was available to comment on Leslie’s charge that he’s the victim of a smear campaign.
In a written statement, Leslie said that a third party supplier oversaw each step of the moving process, and every expense received “independent approvals.” Leslie told CTV that he only “roughly” knew the costs of the move until CTV first reported on it over the weekend.
In his Monday statement, Nicholson said Leslie “falsely asserted that he was unaware of the costs he was billing taxpayers,” saying that service men and women submit their bills for reimbursement.
“The policy was never intended to have taxpayers pay $72,000 for generals to move between mansions within the same city,” Nicholson said.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife
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