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

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Central Saanich has received funding for a new multi-use pathway that promises to improve access to Butchart Gardens. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich receives grant for multi-use pathway to Butchart Gardens

Province funds entirety of $322,800 project through economic recovery grant program

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic oportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read