Menard fined, busted down a rank for Afghan sex affair
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Retired Brigadier-General Daniel Menard arrives at a military court on Thursday, July 21, 2011, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
CTV News.ca Staff
Date: Thu. Jul. 21 2011 5:40 PM ET
The disgraced former commander of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan was fined $7,000 and given a symbolic reduction in rank Thursday after pleading guilty to a love affair with a subordinate in Kandahar.
Former brig.-gen. Daniel Menard pleaded guilty to having improper relations with a corporal under his command and attempting to impede an investigation into the relationship.
His rank was reduced to colonel but the reduction in rank is symbolic because he already retired from the military and will retain his previous rank.
The married 45-year-old also apologized to his wife and children during proceedings in a military court Thursday, saying the intense media scrutiny over the affair had been very difficult for them.
Menard was a rising star in the military with a bright future before the affair became public, unravelling his career.
Military rules prohibit soldiers from engaging in sexual relationships while they are deployed, even if they are married.
Menard had also been charged with four counts of obstructing justice, charges that were withdrawn.
Menard met Master Cpl. Bianka Langlois in 2008 in Canada, where their affair began. Their relationship carried on after they were both deployed to Afghanistan, where they had numerous trysts in her living quarters. Menard also kissed Langlois in his office on more than one occasion.
According to court documents, the two had a sexual relationship between Nov. 15, 2009 and April 27, 2010. They also suggest that Menard repeatedly asked Langlois to delete emails between them once news of their affair became public in May 2010.
Menard was stripped of his command in Afghanistan in June 2010 and sent back to Canada. Menard was to assume command of the army in Quebec. However, he tendered his resignation in November and left the military in December.
Menard told court on Thursday that he had to leave the military because he felt increasingly isolated after his return from Afghanistan.
“It was clear I was no longer in the club of generals,” Menard said. “I felt completely ostracized … I concluded I didn’t have a place anymore.”
Menard is currently unemployed.
Last September, Langlois was convicted in a summary trial of one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline. She was reprimanded and fined $700.
With files from The Canadian Press