In July 2015, just before Vance’s change of command ceremony as defence chief, the Conservative government received two other warnings. One was an anonymous email outlining Vance’s affair in Naples and the other was a rumour circulating that Vance while at CFB Gagetown allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate and had interfered in the career of an officer.
Novak said the Conservative government was told the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service had examined the Naples issue and concluded there was no wrongdoing. As for the Gagetown allegations, Novak was informed that there was no record of any complaint. In addition, Vance denied interfering in any officer’s career.
Last month Maj. Kellie Brennan came forward with allegations against Vance, telling Global News that she had a long-term relationship with Vance which started at CFB Gagetown and continued on in Toronto in 2006 when the general was her superior officer.
“If they are true, and I have no reason to doubt her, that means the general was not truthful with the prime minister in their meeting of 2015,” Novak told the committee about Brennan’s allegations.
The committee had previously heard that in March 2018, Canadian Forces Ombudsman Gary Walbourne had brought Liberal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan details about allegations of sexual misconduct involving Vance. Sajjan refused to accept the evidence.
That information involved the allegation that Vance made a sexual suggestion to a young female officer in 2012.
Vance acknowledged having been in a relationship with Brennan nearly 20 years ago, according to Global, but that it had evolved over the years and was not sexual. Originally, Vance told Global that he only knew Brennan in a professional context and denied having any direct communication.
“Obviously, looking back on this six years later, we have a range of very disturbing allegations that have been made and when one makes an appointment to a position as senior as chief of the defence staff one is expecting that individual to uphold the proud record of that institution and leave it in a better place than he or she found it,” Novak responded. “Unfortunately, clearly, that has not been the case.”
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