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.
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.
The Canadian vet joined the military in 1990 and became a reservist in 2019.
Deschenes also learned that Topp attended briefings on the military's vaccine mandate and failed to comply.
As of Tuesday, Topp faces a potential dismissal with disgrace after pleading guilty on two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, during his court martial in New Westminster, B.C.
Topp initially faced six charges for anti-mandate statements he made while in uniform in February 2022, pleading 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.
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."