Unscripted tributes from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay suggest General Walt Natynczyk, Canada’s Chief of Defence, may be on the verge of stepping down.

While speaking to Canadian Forces troops during his trip to Canada’s north, Harper cut away from his prepared remarks at the close of Operation Nanook to thank Natynczyk for his years of service.

Following Harper’s speech, MacKay took to the podium to publicly salute Natynczyk’s dedication to the military.