Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan will be Canada’s 1st female defence chief

Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan will become Canada’s new chief of defence staff, making her the first woman to be picked as the Canadian military’s top commander.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Wednesday.

Carignan, who is currently serving as the chief of professional conduct and culture, will replace Gen. Wayne Eyre, who is due to retire this summer.

“I congratulate Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan on her upcoming appointment. Over the course of her career, her exceptional leadership qualities, commitment to excellence, and dedication to service have been a tremendous asset to our Armed Forces,” Trudeau said in a press release.

“I am confident that, as Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff, she will help Canada be stronger, more secure, and ready to tackle global security challenges.”Speaking to reporters later in Montreal, Trudeau said Carignan was the “right person” to lead the Canadian military at a “pivotal time” with “complicated geopolitics and increased threats,” particularly to the Arctic.

Carignan’s appointment comes months after a defence policy update that increased military spending by nearly $8 billion over the next five years.Meanwhile, the Canadian military continues the process of working to change its culture following a national reckoning over multiple sexual misconduct allegations against senior leaders, which began in February 2021 with months of exclusive Meida reporting.

Carignan, who hails from Val-des-Sources, Que., is a combat engineer by trade.

In 2008, she became the first woman to lead a combat force in the Canadian military.

Her 38-year military career has included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

She has received the Meritorious Service Medal and the Governor General’s Order of Military Merit.

Carignan is set to officially take over command of the Armed Forces in a ceremony on July 18.

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