Canadian veteran James Topp pled guilty on multiple counts of conduct Tuesday over his public opposition to medical coercion within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
In February 2022, Topp and other CAF members criticized the military’s COVID vaccine mandate after over 400 members refused to get the jab.
The former warrant officer made critical remarks about the mandate in two videos posted to TikTok and YouTube, irking Judge Catherine Julie Deschenes. At the time, the Vancouverite marched from the West coast to Ottawa, becoming a revered symbol for Canadians opposed to medical coercion.
On November 16, Deschenes handed Topp a "severe reprimand" and a $4,000 fine by a court martial in New Westminster, B.C. for two counts of prejudice to good order and discipline.
"This relates to the two videos he made on/around Feb 12, 2022, in which he criticized the vaccine mandates," said Epoch Times contributor Noe Chartier.
Deschenes also learned that Topp attended briefings on the military's vaccine mandate and failed to comply. The Canadian vet joined the military in 1990 and became a reservist in 2019.
Lt.-Col. Greg Chan, who commands the Royal Westminster Regiment, lambasted Topp's conduct, which he claims eroded trust within his unit and tarnished its image.
Topp initially faced six charges for anti-mandate statements he made while in uniform in February 2022, but ultimately plead not guilty to the other four charges.
In October 2021, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Wayne Eyre issued a directive for mandatory vaccination to align with the federal government's compulsion of COVID jabs.
"I think I heard the military judge say in her last comments that Topp could rejoin the CAF since he still has 'a lot to offer.' But the CDS has authority over who can join back after getting 5(f)'ed," said Chartier.
According to s.126 of the National Defence Act, rejecting vaccinations constitutes disobeying a direct order from a superior officer. At the time, over nine in ten (91%) military personnel voluntarily received two doses. Nearly 300 soldiers lost their jobs, of which 108 left voluntarily that month.
After the feds lifted the mandate, Eyre said being unvaccinated "raises questions" about the suitability of members.
"It's dangerous in the military to have legal orders disobeyed," he said. "It's a very slippery slope."