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Canada Senior military leaders went golfing with Gen. Jonathan Vance amid military police probe

04:15  13 june  2021
04:15  13 june  2021 Source:   globalnews.ca

Senior military leaders golfed with former top soldier currently under investigation

  Senior military leaders golfed with former top soldier currently under investigation Two senior military leaders went golfing with the former chief of defence staff, retired general Jonathan Vance, last week while he’s under investigation for allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving female subordinates, the defence minister’s office confirms.The vice-chief of the defence staff, Mike Rouleau, and the head of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, met with Vance on June 2 at the Hylands Golf and Country Club in Ottawa, said a senior defence official speaking on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Jonathan Vance wearing a suit and tie: Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance attends a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Latvian President Egils Levits in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Canada's top general says he is concerned about anything that would give China easier access to the Canadian military's computer networks. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance attends a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Latvian President Egils Levits in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Canada's top general says he is concerned about anything that would give China easier access to the Canadian military's computer networks.

The second-in-command of the Canadian Forces and the head of the Royal Canadian Navy went golfing this week with Gen. Jonathan Vance, Global News has learned.

That's despite Vance remaining under military police investigation following allegations of inappropriate behaviour first reported by Global News on Feb. 2, 2021.

Senior officer who golfed with Vance has power over military police investigations

  Senior officer who golfed with Vance has power over military police investigations OTTAWA — One of the senior military officers who golfed with former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance has the power to direct military investigations. Vice-chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau’s power was recently flagged in an occasionally scathing report on the military justice system by retired Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish. The report notes that legislation passed in 2013 gives the military’s second-in-command the power to issue orders to the military’s top police when it comes to investigations. Fish says that power poses a threat to the independence of military probes and should be abolished.

Vance denies any allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau and Vice-Adm. C.A. Baines met with Vance at the Hylands Golf Course in Ottawa's east end this past week. Their decisions come after witnesses before two parliamentary committees probing military sexual misconduct repeatedly highlighted a "double standard" for how the military treats allegations against senior leaders compared to how it treats those against junior members.

Rouleau, as vice chief of the defence staff, holds oversight authority for the military police. He is set to be replaced shortly by Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen, who will be the first vice chief of the defence staff.

“The Minister was made aware of this situation this afternoon, following media inquiries," said a spokesperson for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on Saturday evening.

Navy commander apologizes for golfing with former chief of defence staff under military police investigation

  Navy commander apologizes for golfing with former chief of defence staff under military police investigation The commander of the Royal Canadian Navy has publicly apologized for golfing with former top soldier, retired general Jonathan Vance, who is under a military police investigation over allegations of inappropriate behaviour with female subordinates. Vice-Admiral Craig Baines issued a written statement Sunday night addressed to all military members and national defence public servants saying he was sorry for his conduct. Baines confirmed he golfed with Vance and military's second-in-command, Lt.-Gen Mike Rouleau, on June 2 in Ottawa.

"The decision by the LGen Rouleau and VAdm Baines to go golfing with Gen Vance is troubling and unacceptable. The Minister will discuss next steps with Acting Chief of the Defence Staff.”

Sources who spoke to Global News cited deep concern about whether the military’s senior leaders are truly committed to rooting out sexual misconduct. They also voiced concerns that the decision to go golfing with Vance contradicts messages made in recent months by senior leaders encouraging members experiencing sexual misconduct to come forward.

A spokesperson for the Department of National Defence said officials were assessing what to do next.

"We have been made aware that LGen Rouleau and VAdm Baines went golfing with Gen (Retired) Jonathan Vance," said Jessica Lamirande to Global News.

"We recognize the seriousness of the matter and, as such, we will gather facts and advice in order to determine next steps."

O'Toole says it was 'inappropriate' for Forces leadership to golf with Vance

  O'Toole says it was 'inappropriate' for Forces leadership to golf with Vance Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says it was “completely inappropriate” for senior military leaders — including the officer in charge of the department investigating retired general Jonathan Vance — to golf with Vance earlier this month. The Conservative leader also accused the Liberal government, and specifically Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, of demonstrating a lack of leadership through its handling of sexually inappropriate behaviour in the Canadian military.

READ MORE: Sexual misconduct review of military an ‘opportunity’ for change: Canada’s top soldier

Multiple senior leaders are under military police investigation for allegations of sexual misconduct brought forward over recent months as the military faces what experts call an "institutional crisis."

Among them is Adm. Art McDonald, the former head of the navy and current chief of the defence staff, who stepped aside in late February as military police opened an investigation into an allegation against him. McDonald has declined to comment on the allegations.

The woman behind that allegation, navy Lt. Heather Macdonald, has come forward publicly to share her experience. The senior naval officer who reported the allegation against McDonald has said he faced anonymous threats after doing so.

Baines, as head of the navy, is at the top of both their chains of command.

READ MORE: Senior naval officer was threatened after reporting McDonald allegation: sources

Rouleau is set to be replaced as vice chief of the defence staff shortly.

He'll be replaced by Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen, who will be the first woman to serve in the role.

Defence vice-chief who golfed with Vance steps aside from role, but not from military

  Defence vice-chief who golfed with Vance steps aside from role, but not from military OTTAWA — A senior military officer who drew outrage for golfing with former defence chief Jonathan Vance amid a sexual misconduct probe has stepped aside from his role, but not from the Armed Forces overall. Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau said Monday he is leaving his position as vice-chief of the defence staff immediately and will join the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group, which helps members shift into civilian life. Rouleau and Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice-Admiral Craig Baines recently teed off with Vance, who is under military police investigation for allegations of sexual misconduct. Vance denies any wrongdoing.

Rouleau's meeting with Vance comes as the military police face questions on whether it can be impartial in investigating the former top officer of the Canadian Forces.

Maj. Kellie Brennan, one of the women at the heart of the allegations against Vance, testified in April that Vance had told her he was "untouchable" and that he "owned" the military police.

“I asked bluntly the [Canadian Forces National Investigation Service] if they had the mandate to investigate and did they have the powers to lay charges, and they would not answer me,” she said during testimony recounting how military police questioned her over the allegations.

“The answer was no because as the CDS told me, he was untouchable. He owned the CFNIS.”

A Global News investigation revealed that less than a quarter of the military police investigators who probe sexual misconduct cases are women -- just 29 out of 129 investigators.

Earlier this month, former Supreme Court justice Morris Fish released a report into the military justice system which described sexual misconduct as as "rampant" in the Canadian Forces in 2021 as it was when former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps released her landmark 2015 report on the issue.

The Deschamps report documented the extent to which sexual misconduct is "endemic" throughout the military and put the focus on the power dynamics within the institution: in particular, the chain of command reporting structure that she said routinely saw allegations brushed aside.

Sajjan faces House of Commons censure vote over handling of military sexual misconduct

  Sajjan faces House of Commons censure vote over handling of military sexual misconduct The motion comes as Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan faces renewed calls for him to resign over his handling of the military sexual misconduct crisis.Conservative defence critic James Bezan has put forward a motion to censure Sajjan for his handling of allegations of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Forces as well as his handling of the court case against Vice-Adm. Mark Norman, the former chief of the defence staff, and Sajjan's handling of the mission against ISIS. The motion also accuses Sajjan of "misleading Canadians about his service record" but does not provide specific examples.

She noted that culture of the Canadian Forces is "toxic" to women and LGBTQ members.

Fish said his report "confirmed the factual findings" of her work.

“The nature, extent and human cost of sexual misconduct in the CAF remain as debilitating, as rampant and as destructive in 2021 as they were in 2015,” Fish wrote in his report.

He urged immediate changes to remove the need for military members to report sexual misconduct allegations through their chain of command, which he said "impacts on their autonomy and, I have been told, risks their exposure to reprisals, ostracization and pressures to withdraw their complaint.”

Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, acting chief of the defence staff, told Global News in an interview in May that the military needs to "view this current crisis as an opportunity."

“We cannot be defensive. We cannot rest on tradition and ‘this is the way we have done things forever,'" he said. “We have to be open to new ways of doing business and we absolutely have to change.”

Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour was named by Sajjan in April to lead an independent, external review into how best to create an independent reporting system for military sexual misconduct.

She is tasked with completing that report within 12 months, but that can be extended if needed.

Urgent reforms needed to military justice system to protect misconduct victims: Fish .
A retired Supreme Court judge is calling for urgent reforms to Canada's military justice system to prevent victims of misconduct, sexual and otherwise, from continuing to suffer. Morris Fish says the current system is rife with areas where the potential for interference in police investigations and courts martial from the chain of command exists, which is why action is needed now.

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