Conservatives to call aides to Sajjan, Trudeau to testify on Vance allegations
Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance participates in an interview with the Canadian Press in his office in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
The federal Conservatives say they want to hear when two senior Liberal officials first learned about allegations of sexual misconduct by Gen. Jonathan Vance -- and what they did about them.
The Conservatives say they are planning to call Zita Astravas and Elder Marques to testify before the House of Commons' defence committee as it continues digging into the government's handling of the allegations against the former chief of the defence staff.
Astravas was Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's chief of staff and Marques was a senior adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March 2018 when former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne says he first raised an allegation against Vance to the minister.
An email obtained by The Canadian Press showed Astravas asking Walbourne several days after that meeting whether he had talked to the Privy Council Office about an unspecified allegation.
The Globe and Mail has reported Astravas and Marques also discussed the matter, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wasn't aware of a specific allegation against Vance and Sajjan has said he was surprised when Global News reported two allegations last month.
Global says Vance is alleged to have had an ongoing relationship with a subordinate and sent a lewd email to a much younger soldier in 2012, before he became commander of the Canadian Armed Forces. Vance has denied any wrongdoing.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021.