Former Army commanders on life after the Army
by Steven Fouchard (feat. Canadian Global Affairs Institute)
July 11, 2016
Ottawa, Ontario — Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk will officially become Commander Canadian Army (CCA) on July 14, 2016.
To mark the occasion, we caught up with several former CCAs to see how they have been keeping busy and to ask what, if any, advice they might have to share with LGen Wynnyk.
Lieutenant-General (Retired) Mike Jeffery, 2000-2003
LGen (Retd) Jeffery has led a diverse professional life since his retirement in 2003 – one that has kept him not too far from the military.
“Running my own consulting business has allowed me to continue to work in defence-related fields and provide continued support to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF),” he said. “Perhaps my most interesting projects have been in the arena of professional development and I have had a number of opportunities to provide advice to the CAF on improvements in this domain.”
He has also worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute and with the NORAD/NORTHCOM Independent Strategic Assessment Group, a U.S.-based think tank.
“Perhaps my most gratifying work has been as a volunteer,” LGen (Retd) Jeffery added. “This has included a tour as the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery and I am currently a member of the Board of the Royal Canadian Artillery Association.”
He calls his work with the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre in Ottawa, where he has served as a director for almost 10 years, “perhaps the most demanding and fulfilling” of his post-Army volunteer experiences.
“This vital institution continues to work for the care of our veterans and, increasingly, the many seniors in our community,” LGen (Retd) Jeffery said.
His advice to LGen Wynnyk is strictly personal:
“He is more than capable and doesn’t need my advice on commanding the Army. However, if I were to provide any advice it would be to take care of himself. The demands of high command are significant. Taking time for personal health and family is essential to maintaining balance which is critical to effectiveness as a commander.”
Lieutenant-General (Retired) Marc Caron, 2005-2006
LGen (Retd) Caron has moved into a second career as an international civil servant, which began in 2008 when he joined the UN and served as principal adviser to the Special Representative to the Secretary General of the UN Mission in Congo on Security Sector Reform (SSR).
In 2009, he joined the International Security Sector Team (ISSAT) of the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces. There, LGen (Retd) Caron and his team conducted a number of strategic level SSR missions in Africa and elsewhere.
In May 2012 he was appointed by the UN Secretary General to the role of advisor to President Alpha Condé of Guinea on political and strategic matters and remained in that role until February 2013. LGen (Retd) Caron continues to work with ISSAT.
His advice for the incoming CCA is simple: “to be himself. He has the experience and the leadership skills to be a very good Canadian Army Commander.”
Lieutenant-General (Retired) Andrew Leslie, 2006-2010
LGen (Retd) Andrew Leslie left the post of CCA on a Friday in 2010 and was back to work the following Monday as a senior vice-president with a large IT company in Ottawa. He was later approached by then-Liberal Party leader and present Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for guidance on various defence- and veteran-related issues and would subsequently leave the tech sector to do consulting work for the party.
After two years of consulting, LGen (Retd) Leslie wanted to be more closely involved in the political process and successfully sought the nomination in the east Ottawa riding of Orleans. On election night, October 19, 2015, voters chose him as their parliamentary representative.
A few weeks later, he was named Chief Government Whip. A disciplinary role befitting a former military leader, the Whip ensures MPs vote along party lines and ensures adequate attendance in the House for debate and voting. LGen (Retd) Leslie is also a member of the Privy Council, a non-partisan body supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
“I’ve known Paul Wynnyk for years,” added LGen (Retd) Leslie. “He’s a superb officer; he’ll do extraordinarily well. I do have some advice for him: maintain your physical fitness regime. I held his job for four years. The first two years I was quite fit and the last two years I probably wasn’t as fit as I could or should have been and I found that my energy levels lagging. Get out there and sweat with the troops. He’s always done that; just don’t stop doing it.”
Lieutenant-General (Retired) Peter Devlin, 2010-2013
Since leaving the position of CCA three years ago, LGen (Retd) Devlin has been President of Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
“I’ve always been interested in improving human potential and was fortunate to transition from training Canadian soldiers in our army to educating students,” he said. “To me, the college sector is extremely exciting because of its ability to unlock the potential of students.”
“Paul Wynnyk is a highly respected leader and skilled soldier,” he added. “My advice? Have fun!”