Andrew Leslie (general)

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Andrew Leslie
Birth name Andrew Brooke Leslie
Born December 1957 (age 57)
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
Chief of the Land Staff
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Awards Commander of the Order of Military Merit
Meritorious Service Cross
Meritorious Service Medal
Canadian Forces Decoration
Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland[1]

Andrew Brooke Leslie, CMM, MSC, MSM, CD (born December 1957) is a retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General who served as Chief of Transformation and earlier as Chief of the Land Staff.


Andrew Leslie's father was Brigadier General Edward Murray Dalziel (McNaughton) Leslie, commander of 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1 RCHA) during the Korean War.[2] He is a grandson of former Chief of the General Staff and Minister of National Defence General Andrew McNaughton, as well as of former Canadian Minister of National Defence Brooke Claxton.[3]

Military career[edit]

Leslie joined the 30th Field Regiment when at University of Ottawa.[4] He went on to be Commanding Officer of 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Shilo, Manitoba.[4] While in London, England, as a graduate student he was attached to the Honourable Artillery Company.[5]


In 1995 he was promoted to Colonel and sent to the Former Yugoslavia as Chief of Staff for Sector South.[4] He then became the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia.[4] Leslie was called to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (The Hague) as a witness in the war crimes trial of Croatian general Ante Gotovina. Leslie, an artillery officer, testified to indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas by Croatian forces in August 1995. [6] During the attack of the Croatian forces on the Serbian held Krajina region, he was credited with leading an operation which resulted in saving lives of 40 Serbian civilians. [7] [8]

Manitoba floods[edit]

He was the Area Chief of Staff during the Manitoba floods in Spring 1997.[4] Later in 1997 he became the commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group which was sent to the South shore of Montreal to help with disaster relief operations.[4] In 2000 he was given responsibility for communications in the Canadian Forces and in 2002 he became the commander of Land Force Central Area.[4] He became Deputy Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2003 and then became Assistant Chief of the Land Staff in 2004.[4] In June 2006 he was appointed Chief of the Land Staff.[9]

Chief of Transformation[edit]

In June 2010, General Leslie was replaced as Chief of Land Staff by Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin[10] and was named Chief of Transformation for the Canadian Forces.[11] In this position, Leslie was responsible for releasing the 2011 Report on Transformation, which, among other changes, recommended scaling back the Primary Reserves to boost the Regular Forces and significantly cutting headquarters' budgets and transferring the amounts to front line combat units.[12] Leslie referred to this as transforming the Forces into "more tooth and less tail," a phrase that was used by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay. Some saw Leslie's report as recommending to sacrifice too many sacred cows, namely the bloated headquarters organizations.[13]


Leslie retired in September 2011 and was subsequently hired by CGI Group to lead their new Defence, Public Safety and Intelligence unit in Ottawa.[14]

Post-military career[edit]

Before Leslie officially retired from the military, Leslie was approached by several members of the Prime Minister's Office to inquire about whether he was interested in heading a federal department or organization. These included discussions with Prime Minister Harper's Deputy Chiefs of Staff Derek Vanstone and Jenni Byrne about potentially heading the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Once Leslie retired from the military he was approached again, this time about heading the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Leslie declined.[15]

Liberal advisor and candidacy[edit]

On September 18, 2013, Leslie was named co-chair of the Liberal International Affairs Council of Advisors, providing advice on foreign and defence issues to Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau.[16][17] Leslie also ran to be the Liberal candidate in the 2015 general election in the riding of Ottawa—Orléans, outside of his home riding, against past Ottawa—Orléans Liberal candidate and former Liberal Party of Canada leadership candidate David Bertschi, a local resident and social and business advocate in the riding.[18][19] He won by acclamation after David Bertschi was disqualified in the race. [20]

Expense scandal[edit]

In August 2014, media inquiries revealed that Leslie had been compensated $72,000 by taxpayers to move from his Rockcliffe home to another one just down the street.[21] Leslie suggested that he was entitled to this benefit, and did nothing wrong. This amount included a per diem for meals while he was moving and a separate entitlement for travelling to his new home. Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson said it was a "grossly excessive" abuse of the system, and that Leslie was exploiting a loophole in the policy since it was never intended to move retiring members just down the street.[22] Leslie complained that his entitlement was subjecting him to "partisan attacks."


  1. ^ Monitor Polski 2010 nr 83 poz. 992 – number 8.
  2. ^ "BGen EMD Leslie DSO, CD". 
  3. ^ "Andrew Leslie replaced in shuffle of military hierarchy". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Biography at Canadian Forces site
  5. ^ LGen AB Leslie biography, The RCA Museum
  6. ^ "ICTY Transcript Page 1927". 22 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "Canadian army chief grilled at war crimes tribunal". 24 April 2008. 
  8. ^ "Support for Leslie is deserved". 8 May 2008. 
  9. ^ Leslie appointed head of Canada's land forces CBC News, 15 June 2006
  10. ^ Canada to get new army boss Windsor Star, 31 March 2010
  11. ^ Canadian Army To Get New Commander DND/CF Media Advisory, 18 June 2010
  12. ^ "Report on Transformation 2011". 
  13. ^ "General's report calls for dramatic cuts to bloated military staffing". The Globe and Mail. 
  14. ^ Retired Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie To Head Defence and Intelligence Business Unit at CGI The Ottawa Citizen, 29 September 2011
  15. ^ "Email trail documents Tory job overtures to retired general". 
  16. ^ Den Tandt, Michael (18 September 2013). "Andrew Leslie, former commander of Canadian Army, joins Trudeau’s team as adviser". National Post. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Liberals Unveil Co-Chairs of International Affairs Council of Advisors". Liberal Party of Canada. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "Orleans Online - Local News". 
  19. ^ "David Bertschi to Relaunch Campaign". 
  20. ^ "Leslie acclaimed Liberal candidate in Orléans in chaotic meeting". 
  21. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Retiring general Andrew Leslie compensated for personal mileage – $7.70". Global News. 26 August 2014. 
  22. ^ "Former general Andrew Leslie accuses Tories of smear over moving expenses". 18 February 2014. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Marc Caron
Chief of the Land Staff
Succeeded by
Peter Devlin