The military police investigation into whether retired General Jonathan Vance broke the Code of Service Rules with an alleged inappropriate relationship has officially ended without charge, despite him currently being accused of obstructing justice in relation to the investigation. is facing a separate criminal charge.
When pressed for an explanation as to why the investigation into any potential military service violations ended without charge on August 6, a military police spokesman pointed to a recent report by former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish, which warned that it was “legally impossible”. Under existing rules to try someone of the rank of Vance in the military system.
A senior defense source confirmed to Granthshala News that the decision to end the investigation without any military service fee was specifically linked to Vance’s rank as a four-star general.
General Jonathan Vance charged with obstructing justice after military investigation
Fish’s investigation of the military justice system urged major reforms in the wake of Granthshala News’s reporting of high-level sexual misconduct allegations in the military, and pointed to the need to set up a mechanism to try senior officers – whose There are few who are equal in the hierarchy of the army.
“Should charges be leveled against officers of these ranks, the military justice system may not be able to deliver justice,” he said, specifically pointing to chiefs of the defense staff as well as lieutenant-generals or vice-admirals. said.
“The members of the panel hold the ranks. This creates a risk that they may consider the rank of the accused, the rank of complainants or witnesses, or the wishes of the military hierarchy to reach their decisions,” Fish said.
“To reduce the risk of rank-based influence, all officers of the CAF should, as a general rule, be judged by officers of or above their rank. How can this be done when accused are the highest general officers in Canada? Which of the following? I think the solution is to allow empanelment of retired officers.”
On February 2, after Granthshala News reported allegations of inappropriate behavior by Vance, military police launched an investigation. On 15 July, the military police charged him with obstruction of justice, which is being handled by civilian authorities.
Vance is due in court on that charge on September 17.
Vance asks woman behind sexual misconduct allegation to ‘be clear on our story’ in call
The Canadian military has been hit by what experts have called an institutional “crisis” over the past eight months after Granthshala News reported high-level sexual misconduct allegations.
Sexual misconduct has been a problem in the military for decades, but was most widely documented by former Supreme Court Justice Mary Deschamps in her 2015 landmark report, which she described as a culture that discriminates against women and LGBTQ 2. Is “hostile” to members.
One of his key recommendations to address the problem was the creation of an independent reporting system for sexual misconduct – a system that operates outside the military chain of command, which handles allegations right now.
But the Liberal government heeded that recommendation, and it wasn’t until six years later that officials appointed former Supreme Court Justice Arbor to review best practices to create an independent system responsible for the continuing problem of Granthshala News reporting. It was after
Timeline: Canadian Forces Sexual Misconduct Crisis
Since then, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has repeatedly evaded questions about when he would expect an independent system to be put in place and whether he supports calls for an independent oversight that would help the government and the military deal with the problem. can independently report to the Parliament.
Trudeau would not say Wednesday whether he would commit to creating an independent watchdog that reports to parliament as part of an effort to prevent sexual misconduct continuing to run through the ranks of Canada’s military.
Asked about the independent watchdog and what steps he will take if he is re-elected as prime minister, Trudeau said, “It’s gone too long and all the different efforts over the years have improved, but not enough.” Is.”
Right now, the Military Ombudsman reports directly to the Minister of National Defense.
Gary Walborne, a former occupant of that office, has said the minister refused to look into evidence of alleged sexual misconduct by then-Defense Staff General Jonathan Vance in 2018.
‘This cannot be sustained’: Military Ombudsman blasts office hindering ‘vested political interests’
The current ombudsman, Gregory Lick, particularly exploded in June in a letter outlining “vested political interests” to the government and the minister, which he said were complicating the work of the office, often before elections or during a crisis. Time.
“When leaders turn a blind eye to our recommendations and concerns for political interests and their own protection or career advancement, it is members of the defense community,” Lick said in June.
“It is clear that inaction is rewarded far more than action.”
As of Wednesday, the number of claims in a military sexual misconduct class-action lawsuit had risen to 9,198 as the deadline to join the settlement was narrowed past November 24.
That number is an increase of about 2,000 in just two months.
Granthshala News reported on 14 July that the number of claims stood at 7,346, a 170 percent increase compared to 2,729 claims submitted at the end of December 2020.
The process opened for claims on May 25, 2020.