The House of Commons defense committee has collectively agreed to conduct a study into allegations of inappropriate behavior by General Jonathan Vance.
While the motion that was proposing the meetings was put forward by the four Conservative MPs o the committee, the Liberal members as well as those from the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, have supported an amended version, and the meetings shall begin before February 26.
The vote means that the committee shall call the Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan as well as any other witnesses it deems necessary to testify on the allegations in three meetings, each at least two hours long.
Vance who handed over command as the chief of defense staff last month is now facing allegations of inappropriate behavior with two female subordinates, that includes a relationship that one woman alleges occurred while he was in the top post.
However, Vance denied all allegations.
Last week, the military police launched an investigation following the report and learned that the woman alleged to have had a relationship with Vance while he was chief of defense staff had sought a meeting with the authorities.
It was earlier last week when the chief of defense staff Adm. Art McDonald announced another examination.
The parameters of that probe are however not clear.
A primary focus for the proposed committee probe is who knew what when about the allegations. As per some sources, the Canadian forces Ombudsman brought the concerns about alleged conduct by Vance to Sajjan in 2018.
Sajjan’s office had reportedly passed those concerns to the Privy Council Office; the Privy Council Office stated that it has received no information that would thereby have let its officials review further.
A senior government official stated that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office were aware of nothing about any allegations regarding Vance until they were reported by the sources.
The motion that was put before the committee by the four Conservative MPs on it requested that the committee hear from Sajjan and also the other senior government, and public service officials.
Originally, the motion had asked that Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council, also appears.
However, on Monday Shugart announced that he was taken leave for cancer treatment.
Liberal MP Anita Vandenbeld, parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defense stated that she supported the goal of her motion but had proposed an amendment to limit the proposed scope of the study from five meetings to three. She further asked to name only Sajjan as a witness n the wording and noted that she wanted the committee members to have discussions about who else should be called to give testimony.
Vandenbeld believes that while the committee needs to be very carefully such that its questioning doesn’t prejudice any ongoing investigations into the allegations; she also believes that the study could provide an opportunity to look more closely at the vetting process for Vance.
Vance was appointed by the former Conservative government in 2015.