Commander who was accused of affair to leave military

OTTAWA—A Canadian general accused of having an affair while commanding troops in Afghanistan is leaving the military.

Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard, a 26-year member of the Canadian Forces, is leaving voluntarily from the force so that he can focus on his relationship with his family, said his lawyer, Lt. Col. Troy Sweet.

“He’s voluntarily leaving the forces at this time. He’s going to focus on family and other job offers . . . He’s been in the military for a number of years and he’s going through the steps of career transition,” Sweet said.

Menard made his application for release from the military, a process that takes 30 days, last Friday. He will be a civilian as of Dec. 18, said Commander Hubert Genest, a military spokesperson.

Menard is married to a major who lives near CFB Valcartier in Quebec. The couple has two children.

The decorated soldier was in charge of all 2,800 Canadian troops in Kandahar last May when he was stripped of his command and ordered back to Ottawa over allegations he had been carrying on a sexual relationship with a subordinate, Master Cpl. Bianka Langlois.

Military records say the affair began Nov. 15, 2009 and lasted until April 27, 2010.

After he was replaced in Afghanistan, Menard was also passed over for a planned promotion which would put him in command of the army in Quebec. Instead he was put to work digitizing military personnel records in Ottawa.

Sweet said Menard’s decision to leave the force and seek employment in the private sector will not affect the court martial he is set to face in the new year, though it would pre-empt a potential dishonourable discharge if he is found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the force.

A finding of guilt could result in him losing the brigadier-general rank he has attained.

“I don’t think it changes anything. We’re still confident what the outcome will be. He’s just decided to move on,” said Sweet.

Menard faces two counts of the conduct charge under the National Defence Act as well as four counts of obstructing justice.

The obstruction of justice charges, which carry a maximum 10 year sentence, stem from allegations he asked Langlois to withdraw statements she made about their sexual relationship, to delete emails they had sent to each other and for making the same request through an intermediary, according to the charge sheet.

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