December 23, 2021
Royal Canadian Air Force Lt.-Col. Philip Marcus has been relieved of his duties in Kuwait as commanding officer of the air task force for Operation Impact following allegations of inappropriate comments.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, the Department of National Defence said the comments “demonstrated a concerning misalignment with our institution’s efforts to evolve our culture.”
The issue was raised to leadership before Marcus was removed from his post and sent back to Canada on Dec. 7.
“These allegations resulted in a loss in confidence in the member’s ability to effectively lead and conduct the duties associated with his appointment as a commanding officer, and he was immediately relieved,” reads the statement.
The allegations are now the subject of an ongoing investigation. Marcus has been reassigned to a staff officer position with the Royal Canadian Air Force Aerospace Warfare Centre.
The Canadian military has spent the last year grappling with sexual misconduct investigations of its highest ranking members, deepening the call for a complete internal culture shift.
The revolving door of senior officers stepping down or stepping aside has stirred up criticism not only of the leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) but also of the federal government for not taking action to protect victims.
Newly-appointed defence minister Anita Anand has said her top priority is to make sure everyone in uniform feels “safe and protected” and that they have the support and resources needed to ensure justice is served.
She, alongside the deputy minister and the chief of the defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre issued a formal apology to victims of military sexual misconduct on Dec. 13.
In the statement regarding Marcus’ conduct, the department said leadership subsequently spoke to air task force members to ensure they were supported.
“We are in a period of culture change and are determined to ensure the CAF is a workplace in which all members – whether in Canada or deployed on operations around the world – are safe, empowered and inspired to bring their very best to the table in service of Canada and Canadians each and every day,” it reads.
As head of the command post, Marcus oversaw the delivery of air mobility support to Joint Task Force Impact and Task Force Central, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, and the NATO Mission in Iraq.
The department also confirmed that his role responds to reports of sexual misconduct.
“All leaders in the CAF are expected to promote and ensure that all members work in an environment of mutual respect, dignity and inclusion, where they have the opportunity to contribute and thrive,” the statement reads.