PMO knew existence of allegations against Vance, not specifics, in 2018: Trudeau

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his office knew there was an allegation of sexual misconduct against then-defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance in 2018.

But Trudeau says he and others in government did not know the specifics of the allegation until a Global News report last month.

The prime minister made the comments this afternoon in the House of Commons, confirming that then-military ombudsman Gary Walbourne spoke to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about an allegation against Vance in March 2018.

Trudeau says his office knew that Sajjan had directed Walbourne to take the allegation to "independent officials," but that those officials did not receive any further information and were unable to launch an investigation.

Global has reported that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a subordinate that continued after he became defence chief in 2015, and sent a lewd email to a much younger soldier in 2012.

Vance has denied any wrongdoing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press