(Ottawa) Major-General Dany Fortin, acquitted in December of a sexual assault charge, files a $6 million civil suit against the Canadian government.

Mr. Fortin, who was removed from his role as the top federal official responsible for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in May 2021, is also suing 16 senior officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Chief of Staff of the Defense General Wayne Eyre, former Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and former Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

In his statement of claim, filed in the Ontario Superior Court, he accuses senior officials of “reprehensible, extreme, flagrant and authoritarian” conduct. He seeks $5 million in general damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

The Major-General alleges that he was the victim of defamation, misconduct in the exercise of a public duty, negligent investigation, public disclosure of private facts, breach of trust and conspiracy to cause wrongs.

“He was not given due process,” his attorney, Thomas Conway, said in an interview. It caused him the kind of pain you would expect from the kind of allegations he had to face publicly. »

Mr. Fortin had been removed from his position as head of vaccine distribution in May 2021, pending the conclusions of the investigation into an allegation of sexual assault that dated back to 1988. The officer was formally charged three months later. later, in August 2021, then acquitted in December 2022, following a trial before judge alone.

Mr. Conway argues that despite Mr. Fortin’s acquittal, his reputation has been tarnished. “That stain, that damage, will never be erased unless he seeks redress for what happened in court, through civil action. »

The prosecution alleges the investigation was grossly negligent and there was never a basis to bring criminal charges. He also accuses federal officials of removing him from his immunization duties for political reasons.

After the acquittal, the military formally exonerated Mr. Fortin of misconduct, on a balance of probabilities, and said it would reassign him to new duties. But the Major-General maintains in his civil suit that the Armed Forces are unreasonably refusing or delaying his reinstatement.

The Canadian Armed Forces and the Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

When asked if Mr. Fortin had tried to reach an agreement with the government before bringing the lawsuit, Mr. Conway simply replied that the Major-General had no interest in engaging in prolonged litigation with his former colleagues and with an institution he has served for more than 30 years.

“Believe me, that’s the last thing he wanted to do. »