The country’s former top military commander will be investigated following a published report of inappropriate behaviour involving female subordinates.
The allegations were levelled against former chief of the defence staff general Jonathan Vance in a Global News story, which was broadcast and published online on Tuesday.
Admiral Art McDonald, who replaced Vance only two weeks ago, issued an internal statement to personnel Wednesday morning saying trust and support of commanders must be sacrosanct, but also earned.
“Frankly, I fear that situations like these erode the trust you have in leadership,” McDonald said.
“Of course, yesterday’s allegations will be investigated. As this situation unfolds and we learn more, I promise to be open and transparent in communicating with you all as we weather this storm together.”
The Global News story said Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked.
He is also alleged to have made a sexual comment to a second, much younger soldier in 2012, three years before he was appointed chief of the defence staff.
The report is based upon confidential sources, who were granted anonymity because they feared repercussions to their careers.
Sexual misconduct in the ranks
As the country’s top military commander for five years, Vance was the architect of the effort to stamp out sexual misconduct in the ranks, known as Operation Honour.
McDonald, in his statement, was not clear what kind of investigation would be undertaken.
The military has its own separate justice system and system of administrative punishment. It has the power to prosecute former members for infractions that have taken place while in uniform.
The Global News story suggested that if the allegations are true, Vance may have violated directives that govern personal relationships and such actions might contravene provisions in the National Defence Act that related to good order and discipline.