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

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

Just Posted

Alycia Weir (left) and Helena Oosthoek (right) of the Golden Family Center stand outside of the GFC building at their Bell Lets Talk stand last February. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer photo)
Family center fundrasing for free counselling program

It’s important to have accesible care in the community

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read