Then chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance responds to a question during a news conference Friday, June 26, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Then chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance responds to a question during a news conference Friday, June 26, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Military police launch investigation after former Canadian defence chief accused of misconduct

Allegations come less than a month after Jonathan Vance turned over command of Canadian Armed Forces

The Department of National Defence says military police have launched an investigation following allegations former defence chief Jonathan Vance engaged in inappropriate conduct.

Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigation is separate from an independent examination that has been ordered by top military officials.

Global News reported on Tuesday that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked, and that he made a sexual comment to a second, much younger soldier in 2012, before he was appointed chief of the defence staff.

Vance could not be reached for comment on Thursday and the allegations against him could not be independently verified.

Vance acknowledged he dated the first woman nearly 20 years ago, according to Global, but said the relationship had evolved over the years and was not sexual.

The former defence chief also said he had no recollection of making a sexual comment to the other junior member, adding if he did make the comment it would have been intended as a joke and that he was prepared to apologize.

The allegations against Vance come less than a month after he turned over command of the Canadian Armed Forces to Admiral Art McDonald following more than five years in the position.

“We can confirm the CFNIS is investigating this matter,” Le Bouthillier said in a statement on Thursday, without providing further details.

“In order to preserve the integrity of the investigative process, no additional information can be provided at this time.”

READ MORE: Abbotsford company lands part of $374 million aerospace contract for U.S. military

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan faced questions in the House of Commons on Thursday about whether he was aware of the allegations against Vance, who took over as Canada’s defence chief in July 2015.

Sajjan said he has “always ensured that any allegations that were brought to my attention had been reported to the appropriate authorities to begin an investigation, regardless of rank or position.

“I have always followed all of the appropriate processes in pursuing issues related to workplace harassment whenever allegations have arisen.”

Sajjan repeated that assertion in a statement provided to The Canadian Press.

“We will ensure a full thorough independent investigation is conducted,” he added. “However, the specifics around any such review have yet to be determined.”

The official Opposition Conservatives have nonetheless called for an emergency meeting of the Commons defence committee to probe what Sajjan knew, and when.

McDonald and Defence Department deputy minister Jody Thomas on Tuesday described the allegations as troubling, but have not said whether they have been substantiated.

McDonald subsequently sent a message to all Armed Forces members on Wednesday, describing the allegations against Vance as “distressing and hurtful for all of us to contemplate.”

He went on to describe those who had come forward to make the allegations as having done so “courageously,” and promised that they would not face any repercussions.

READ MORE: Military IDs B.C. reservist as soldier killed in Alberta training accident

Military

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chemainus Communities In Bloom.
Signs of spring are closing in around us

Chemainus Communities In Bloom provides gardening tips for March 2021

Different options for uses continue to be explored for the former St. Joseph’s School in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Further options explored for uses of the former St. Joseph’s School

Committee seeks possibilities that will meet certain criteria

Texting and driving seems like it’s a habit many people are never going to break. (Photo by Boaz Joseph/The Leader)
Distracted driving still a big issue

Campaign in March aimed at getting people to leave their phones alone

Taking over as minister of the Chemainus United Church has been great for Elise Feltrin despite pandemic restrictions. (File photo by Don Bodger)
World Day of Prayer being conducted by Zoom Friday

People invited to watch a video and then participate in a follow-up discussion

Letters to the editor.
Australia a model for solving its freighter anchorage problem

A vessel arrival system just might provide an answer

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read