Colonel facing firearms charges permanently removed as commander of CFB Trenton | CBC News

Colonel facing firearms charges permanently removed as commander of CFB Trenton | CBC News


Police allege Col. Leif Dahl shot at “protected wildlife” from aboard a boat on a canal in Quinte West, Ont., on Aug. 25.

Royal Canadian Air Force commander announced the change Friday

Dan Taekema · CBC News


A bald man in a blue military uniform smiles in a posed photo in front of a Canadian flag.

Col. Leif Dahl has been permanently removed as commander of 8 Wing and CFB Trenton after he was charged by the OPP with firearm-related offences in connection with what the Department of National Defence described as a ‘hunting-related incident’ on Aug. 25, 2023. (Department of National Defence)

A colonel facing firearms charges following an incident where police allege he shot at “protected wildlife” from aboard a boat has been permanently removed as commander of 8 Wing and Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

Col. Leif Dahl had been temporarily removed from his role at the base following his arrest in August.

In a statement released Friday by Lt.-Gen. Eric Kenny, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the move was made permanent.

“I have made the decision to permanently remove Colonel Leif Dahl from his position as 8 Wing Commander effective 28 September 2023,” it said, describing recent weeks as a “difficult period.”

Col. Leighton James has been appointed the new 8 Wing Commander, Kenny added. A ceremony to mark the change will be held next month.

It comes after Dahl’s first court appearance took place in Belleville on Thursday.

The colonel was allegedly carrying a .22 rifle and a revolver on Aug. 25 when police received a report someone had fired at wildlife from aboard a boat on the Murray Canal in Quinte West, Ont., according to court documents.

Investigators haven’t said what animal was targeted.

The 45-year-old was initially charged with obstructing a police officer, careless use of a firearm and three violations of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act: using a firearm carelessly to hunt, hunting a bird without a licence and having a loaded firearm in a conveyance.

Three days after the incident, police searched a home in Belleville where they found three long guns stored in a “careless manner,” according to court documents.

Traffic, including a motorcycle and ambulance, can be seen driving in both directions under a large, covered, pedestrian overpass with the words 8 Wing Trenton on the side in big letters.

Vehicles drive along a road running through CFB Trenton on Sept. 28, 2023. Col. Leighton James has been named the base’s new commander. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Investigators announced three more charges for Dahl on Aug. 30: possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, careless storage of a firearm and breaching firearms regulations by transporting a firearm or restricted weapon.

Provincial police also fished two guns out of the canal after his arrest.

The Department of National Defence previously confirmed by email that the Royal Canadian Air Force was aware of a “hunting-related incident” on Aug. 25 involving Dahl.

In a separate statement, Maj.-Gen. Iain Huddleston, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, said it happened while the colonel was on leave.

Dahl’s next court date is scheduled for Oct. 26.


Dan Taekema is CBC’s reporter covering Kingston, Ont. and the surrounding area. He’s worked in newsrooms in Chatham, Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto and Ottawa. You can reach him by emailing


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