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

Tako van Popta, MP for Langley-Aldergrove. (Tako van Popta/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley MP Tako van Popta to hold virtual town hall to discuss firearm legislation

A lot of my constituents have serious concerns about how Bill C-21 will affect them, van Popta says

The Langley School District has issued COVID-19 notifications at three schools. (Langley Schools)
Six Langley schools on COVID exposure list, three added Wednesday

Parents are asked to continue to send their kids to school

A HUB Cycling award will go to local winner Geraldine Jordan of Langley, with her youngest daughter Casandra Jordan. (Elisabeth Jordan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
HUB Cycling award winner Geraldine Jordan of Langley, with her youngest daughter Casandra Jordan. (Elisabeth Jordan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley cyclist wins award for local advocacy

HUB has honoured Langley’s Geraldine Jordan

Critter Care posted this image of one of the bear cubs that are now waking up from hibernation and will need donations of fish and chicken to eat (Facebook image)
Critter Care appeals for assistance in feeding their bear cubs

Thirteen black bear cubs are all waking up from hibernation with big appetites

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

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

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

RCMP members responded to calls of a man-down at Landsdowne mall in Richmond Wednesday afternoon. The 40-year-old was suffering from stab wounds. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man in critical condition following afternoon attack outside Richmond mall: RCMP

The Vancouver resident was found lying injured outside Richmond’s Lansdowne Centre

Most Read