Commander of HMCS Regina removed after 'inappropriate conduct' on another vessel

WATCH: HMCS Regina commander removed after 'inappropriate conduct' on another vessel

The commanding officer of the HMCS Regina has been relieved from his duties after an incident involving “inappropriate conduct,” the Royal Canadian Navy said Thursday.

The navy said in a statement it has lost confidence in the judgment of Lt.-Cmdr. David Dallin, who had been commanding the Pacific Fleet warship.

The alleged incident took place on another vessel during a naval training exercise, the navy said.

“The RCN expects all its members to exercise institutionally appropriate judgment at all times, especially when in clear leadership or command roles,” the navy said in the release.

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In an interview with Global News, Cmdre. David Mazur, commander of the Pacific Fleet, said he would not classify the incident as sexual misconduct.

“This was a case of an officer-in-charge behaving inappropriately in a position of authority toward a student,” he said.

“It’s nowhere near an assault … two parties were involved, and it was not against one’s will.”

An investigation is underway into the incident, the navy said. Mazur said witnesses who were taking part in the training exercise, which took place in port in Seattle, reported the behaviour to leadership the following day.

The navy said Cmdr. Meghan Coates has now assumed command of HMCS Regina, a Halifax-class frigate based at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C.

Dallin will serve in other roles within Maritime Forces Pacific at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt until the conclusion of the investigation.

Mazur said his loss of confidence in Dallin was limited to his ability to hold a leadership position, which is why Dallin was not suspended pending the results of the investigation.

This is the second time this month that a commanding officer of a vessel has been removed from their duties.

The captain of the HMCS Halifax, identified as Cmdr. Dale St. Croix, was removed amid an investigation into what the navy said were multiple incidents aboard the ship during a port visit in Swinoujscie, Poland.

The June 9 announcement from the Canadian Forces made clear, however, that those incidents did not involve sexual misconduct.

“I would say that our culture is continually evolving,” Mazur said when asked about the latest removals.

“There have been suspicions of cover-up and people not being dealt with appropriately, so we’re being very proactive now. … We are over-communicating to make sure people realize we are aware of things and dealing with them.”

Mazur added Dillan met with the ship’s company and those involved with the training exercise to apologize and show he recognized his behaviour before he was removed from command.

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The Canadian Forces is in the midst of a reckoning over sexual misconduct and abuse of power within its ranks, including the most senior levels.

The latest removals come after a blistering report that revealed the top ranks of the Canadian Forces are “incapable” of recognizing the “deficient” parts of a culture that keep sexual misconduct entrenched.

The report from retired Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour, released on May 30, came more than a year after Global News first reported instances of sexual misconduct among military leaders, including former chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance.

This month, two retired military officers were charged with sexual assault in relation to alleged incidents at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

One of those officers was recently retired Lt.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu, who had been tapped to lead the army last year before military police began investigating him.

— with files from Global’s Amanda Connolly, Irelyne Lavery and the Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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