Tories take aim at PM's top aide over Vance allegations as Sajjan dodges questions

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives are taking aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's top aide as they press the government over its handling of a sexual-misconduct complaint against general Jonathan Vance.

The Tories on Friday tabled a proposed motion calling for Trudeau to dismiss his chief of staff, Katie Telford, after another of the prime minister’s advisers suggested she knew about the allegation against Vance three years ago.

The motion is one of three that the Tories can choose to go to a vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday, and comes as the Commons defence committee prepares to resume debate over whether to call Telford to testify.

Trudeau last week defended Telford even as he told reporters and parliamentarians that no one in his office or Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's office knew the allegation against Vance was of a sexual nature.

That appears to contradict the testimony of then-military ombudsman Gary Walbourne, who first flagged the allegation to Sajjan in March 2018, as well as internal government documents.

Sajjan sidestepped questions today about whether he knew the nature of the complaint against Vance as he appeared on CTV and Global News.

Global has reported that the complaint involved a lewd email that Vance allegedly sent to a much more junior service member in 2012, before he was made defence chief. Vance has denied any wrongdoing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press