Vice-Adm. Craig Baines, head of the Royal Canadian Navy, can keep his job despite a widely condemned decision to go golfing with Gen. Jonathan Vance.

But the acting chief of the defence staff says Baines must use the chance to “redeem himself” and become a better leader.

In an internal message sent to military members, Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre said he has decided that Baines can stay in his role as head of the navy and that “there is no perfect answer” for how to handle the situation, which was first reported on by Global News and The Globe and Mail earlier this month.

“To his credit, VAdm Baines sincerely and readily admitted his error in judgment and publically [sic] apologized. He has reached out to many stakeholders to seek their views on his way ahead. Knowing his moral authority has diminished, he is determined to regain the trust and confidence of all through humility and showing us how to learn, reconcile error, and become a better leader,” Eyre said.

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“I will give him this possibility to redeem himself and show us how to learn, grow, and help the healing process.”

“We need to be strong enough to embrace this painful misstep as a powerful opportunity to make us better. Mistakes will be made, opinions and approaches will differ, but collectively we must all work to ensure a safe and respectful work environment for all.”

READ MORE: Canadian military’s second-in-command resigns role after golfing with Vance

Eyre made no mention of Baines’ initial decision to describe his golf round with Vance as a “public display of support” — a description that was quickly condemned following a fierce backlash.

When pressed on whether his statement of a “public display of support” was intended as him taking a public stance on the ongoing military investigation into Vance, Baines later clarified.

“To be clear, it was not a show of support for Jonathan Vance as it pertains to the ongoing investigation. My focus should have been on the victims of sexual misconduct and on the impacts on their lives. For this, I am sorry,” he said in a statement earlier in June.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, who holds oversight authority for the military police, was roundly criticized by all political parties and sexual misconduct victims for also golfing with Vance amid the ongoing probe into allegations of inappropriate behaviour against the former chief of the defence staff.

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Vance denies those allegations.

More to come.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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