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Surprise retirement leaves military searching for sixth vice-chief in four years

Brigadier General Jean-Marc Lanthier attends a ceremony honouring soldiers who participated in the war in Afghanistan, Friday May 9, 2014 at CFB Valcartier. Canada's military is searching for its sixth second-in-command in under four years following Lanthier's surprise decision to retire this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Clement Allard

OTTAWA — Canada’s military is searching for its sixth second-in-command in under four years following Lt.-Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier’s surprise decision to retire this summer.

In a statement, Lanthier says he made the decision to retire as vice-chief of the defence staff after more than 30 years in uniform to spend more time with his wife and children.

Lanthier was installed as vice-chief last July, bringing what many hoped would be some much-needed stability to the position after years of churn that first started with Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s suspension in January 2017.

Norman himself had served five months as vice-chief before he was suspended and eventually removed altogether due to an RCMP investigation that led to him being charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets — a charge that was eventually dropped.

Two other military officers — Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd and Lt.-Gen. Alain Parent — served as acting vice-chiefs of the defence staff while Norman was being investigated before Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk was appointed as his full-time replacement in July 2018.

But Wynnyk announced his own retirement last summer after chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance tried to reappoint Norman into the position, only to see Norman accept a financial settlement from the government and retire.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press