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Ex-Military Commander in Canada Is Charged With Obstruction of Justice

OTTAWA — Canada’s former prime army officer, below investigation for sexual misconduct, was charged with obstruction of justice on Thursday, the newest in a sequence of occasions which have highlighted widespread harassment and conflicts of curiosity in the nation’s army, a lot of it involving the drive’s elite.

The cost in opposition to Gen. Jonathan Vance, the previous chief of the Canadian Forces protection workers, who twice led the army’s troops primarily based in Kandahar, Afghanistan, got here out of an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations in opposition to him.

In a press release, the Canadian Forces investigative arm supplied no particulars apart from that the obstruction of justice occurred in February, throughout its inquiry. General Vance had been appointed to the highest army publish by the earlier Conservative authorities.

Michel Drapeau, a former Canadian army officer who now teaches regulation on the University of Ottawa, mentioned no protection workers chief has ever confronted legal expenses.

“Many serving members and retired members like myself see this with great dismay and with sorrow,” he mentioned in a cellphone interview. “We don’t know if this is the end or the beginning of a process — there are so many allegations.”

Global News, a broadcaster, reported that court documents show that Mr. Vance had contacted a woman and requested her to “to make false statements about their past relationship” to investigators.

The cost in opposition to General Vance, was introduced below legal regulation somewhat than by means of the army justice system and might be heard in a civilian courtroom, the investigation service mentioned. Several army regulation consultants contend that the design of Canada’s army justice system makes it unattainable to court-martial the drive’s prime commander, a step that has no precedent.

The expenses are the newest step in a sequence of occasions associated to sexual misconduct and the nation’s army elite. Two critiques, one issued as recently as last month, have additionally discovered that the Canadian army is rife with sexual harassment.

Not lengthy after the investigation into Mr. Vance began, Adm. Art McDonald, his successor, stepped apart when he turned the topic of a separate misconduct inquiry.

Even Canada’s vaccine rollout was touched by sexual misconduct allegations. Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin stepped down in May as the head of logistics for the rollout after he turned the topic of an investigation into allegations of misconduct that occurred whereas he was a pupil in army faculty.

In March, Vice Adm. Haydn Edmundson, the military’s head of personnel, went on indefinite depart as he turned the topic of a sexual misconduct investigation.

And final month the army’s second-in-command stop that publish after inviting Mr. Vance to a golf recreation. Lt. Gen. Mike Rouleau, the vice chief of the protection workers on the time, mentioned that he had proposed the sport to Mr. Vance “to ensure his wellness.”

While General Rouleau mentioned that the investigation was not mentioned, he acknowledged that he understood “how such an activity could lead some to perceive a potential conflict of interest.”

In 2019, the federal government allotted $690 million to settle claims of sexual harassment and misconduct inside its army that had been introduced in 5 class-action lawsuits.

As the incidents have piled up, opposition members of Parliament have referred to as for the resignation of Harjit Sajjan, the protection minister who’s a former lieutenant colonel in the military and served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

In February, Global News broadcast an interview with Kellie Brennan, a former military main, who mentioned that she had a sexual relationship with Mr. Vance over a number of years, together with intervals when she was below his command in Toronto and Ottawa.

In April at a House of Commons committee listening to, Ms. Brennan mentioned that Mr. Vance informed her that he was “untouchable” and instructed her to lie if requested about their relationship.

While Mr. Vance by no means bodily threatened her, Ms. Brennan mentioned, he made it clear that there could be critical penalties if she spoke out in opposition to him.

She additionally testified that he fathered two of her youngsters throughout their relationship however doesn’t help them.

Mr. Vance didn’t touch upon Thursday. In the previous he has denied having intercourse with Ms. Brennan whereas she was below his command however acknowledged that they dated in 2001.

Investigators are additionally inspecting emails Mr. Vance despatched to a different girl in the army.

While he was chief of protection workers, Mr. Vance started a extremely publicized marketing campaign to root out sexual harassment in the army. The present investigation has led the army to develop a brand new plan primarily based, as an alternative, on the newest impartial review.

In that report, Morris Fish, a former Supreme Court justice, discovered that sexual misconduct stays as “debilitating, as rampant and as destructive” because it was throughout an analogous review in 2015.

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