Justin Trudeau – Trudeau, Jason Kenney, Zita Astravas on witness wish list for Gen. Vance hearings | Canada | News
MPs on the House of Commons defence committee will hold a series of hearings into allegations about former chief of the defence staff Gen. Jon Vance.
The MPs agreed Tuesday to have three hearings before Feb. 26 on the allegations.
The allegations against Vance were sparked by a series of reports from Global News last week. The news organization revealed Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. Global also reported 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.
Vance was asked for comment on Tuesday by this newspaper about the allegations, but did not respond. He has told Global he did nothing improper.
The new chief of the defence staff, Adm. Art McDonald, announced last week that an independent examination into the Vance allegations would commence sometime in the future. In addition, military police are also conducting an investigation.
MPs on the defence committee put forth various names of potential witnesses including Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Sajjan had been told by Canadian Forces Ombudsman Gary Walbourne in March 2018 about the allegations concerning Vance, according to news reports.
Sajjan has said that, when allegations of sexual misconduct are brought to his attention, he takes such matters seriously and reports them to the appropriate authorities. He has declined to say whether he told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the Vance allegations in 2018.
“We need to hear from the minister of defence and the prime minister on how they dealt with the allegations against Gen. Vance,” NDP defence critic Randall Garrison said.
Garrison also said he wanted to see former defence minister Jason Kenney, now premier of Alberta, called as a witness. Garrison noted Kenney was defence minister when Vance was named chief of the defence staff in 2015 and there have been allegations that concerns about alleged misconduct were brought forward during that selection process.
James Bezan, the Conservative defence critic, outlined the witnesses he wanted, which included Department of National Defence deputy minister Jody Thomas, Michael Wernick, the former clerk of the Privy Council, Christyne Tremblay, Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Zita Astravas. Astravas had been Sajjan’s chief of staff.
Vance was not named as one of the potential witnesses, but the list still has to be drawn up.
Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant told the committee that the hearings must be used to show Canadian Forces personnel they can have confidence that any complaints they make will be handled in a proper way.
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