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Friday, December 3, 2021

Former military ombudsman confirms he raised concerns about Vance with Sajjan in 2018

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Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne says he did raise an allegation of inappropriate behaviour by Gen. Jonathan Vance with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in a 2018 meeting — but said Sajjan refused to see evidence Walbourne offered in support of the allegation.

Walbourne appeared before the defence committee as part of a study launched in the wake of exclusive reporting by Global News that Vance is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour with two female subordinates.

He said he brought evidence of the allegation he was raising, but that Sajjan refused to look at it.

“Yes, I did directly tell him about an allegation of inappropriate behaviour against the chief of defence staff,” said Walbourne to the committee.

“I did tell the minister what the allegation was. I reached into my pocket to show him the evidence I was holding. He pushed back from the table and said, ‘No.’”

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“The minister didn’t want to see the evidence.”

Vance denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

READ MORE: Former top soldier Gen. Jonathan Vance facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour with female subordinates: sources

Sajjan has refused to disclose what Walbourne told him during that meeting on March 1, 2018, citing confidentiality. However, Global News has previously reported that sources said Walbourne raised specific allegations of sexual misconduct by Vance at that time.

The minister instead told the committee during his own testimony almost two weeks ago he was surprised when allegations against Vance were reported by Global News in early February, and insisted he has followed all proper procedures when reports of military sexual misconduct are brought to him.

Sajjan has refused to provide specifics on what those procedures were, including whether he asked Vance about the allegations or notified Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and cabinet.

Walbourne says Sajjan’s characterization was not accurate.

“There were actions available,” he said. “Yes, I believe he had other levers at his disposal.”

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New chief of the defence staff steps aside amid investigation

New chief of the defence staff steps aside amid investigation

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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