Article content continued
The current chief of the defence staff, Admiral Art McDonald, said the Canadian Forces and DND will also conduct an independent investigation into the allegations. Details about that investigation still have to be worked out but it would be separate from the police probe.
The investigations were sparked by a report from Global News that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. Global also reported that Vance is alleged to have made a sexual suggestion to a second, much younger, soldier in 2012, before he was appointed chief of the defence staff.
One of the women had earlier raised concerns about Vance’s behaviour with the Canadian Forces Ombudsman but she declined to file a formal complaint, this newspaper has confirmed. She wanted the ombudsman’s office to be aware of the issue.
Sajjan was briefed on that situation in 2018 by Canadian Forces Ombudsman Gary Walbourne. Sajjan’s staff relayed information about the allegations to the PCO but did nothing else, military sources confirmed to this newspaper.
When asked about Sajjan’s office providing details about the Vance allegations, the PCO responded to this newspaper that “no information was provided to PCO which would have enabled further action to have been taken.”
Because the chief of the defence staff position is a governor-in-council appointment, the PCO would be seen as an important first step in any action against Vance, if needed.
Article content continued
Military officers have privately said that without a formal complaint from the women, the Canadian Forces was limited in what it could do. But Sajjan, as defence minister, could also have launched his own review into the allegations, they added. That, however, wasn’t done.
In an email to this newspaper, Sajjan responded “that I have always ensured that any allegations that are brought to my attention have been reported to the appropriate authorities so they can begin any and all investigations that might be warranted, regardless of rank or position.”
Sajjan has been one of Vance’s key supporters over the years. “Canada has been very fortunate to have somebody like Gen. Vance in this role at a very important time,” Sajjan said in December 2019. “I’m very happy with the service that Gen. Vance has given.”
Vance had not responded to a request for comment from this newspaper.
But Vance acknowledged to Global that he was in a relationship with the first woman nearly 20 years ago but that it had evolved over the years and was not sexual. Originally, Vance told Global that he only knew the woman in a professional context and denied having any direct communication.
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. He had suggested any sexually explicit exchanges could be fabricated.
This content was originally published here.