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Here are the key players in the military's sexual misconduct scandal

OTTAWA — The Canadian military has been roiled by allegations of misconduct and questions about due process. Here are the key players in the scandal: Gen. Jonathan Vance: Former chief of the defence staff who stepped down on Jan. 14.

OTTAWA — The Canadian military has been roiled by allegations of misconduct and questions about due process. Here are the key players in the scandal:

Gen. Jonathan Vance: Former chief of the defence staff who stepped down on Jan. 14. A subordinate at the heart of the sexual misconduct allegations, Maj. Kellie Brennan, told a parliamentary committee that Vance fathered two children with her but has taken no responsibility for them during a relationship that allegedly began in 2001 and continued after Vance became top commander in 2015. Global News has also reported that the retired 35-year veteran allegedly sent a lewd email to a much more junior soldier in 2012. Vance has not responded to requests for comment from The Canadian Press but Global has reported he denies any wrongdoing. Vance was charged in July with obstruction of justice related to an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service said the criminal charge will be pursued in civilian court, given the details of the case and the limits of the military justice system.

Admiral Art McDonald: Vance's successor who stepped aside six weeks after taking the top job. A former commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, McDonald voluntarily gave up his new post when the defence minister announced on Feb. 24 that military police were looking into an allegation, which hasn't been detailed publicly. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service announced the end of the probe into McDonald's conduct late Friday, saying they had decided there was not enough evidence to charge McDonald under either the Criminal Code or the military's disciplinary code. In a statement released Wednesday, McDonald's legal team said the naval officer would be returning to the position after the nearly six-month investigation "exonerated'' him. However, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said he expects McDonald to remain on leave while the government reviews the situation.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan: Sajjan has come under fire from opposition MPs and the one-time Canadian Armed Forces ombudsman over his handling of misconduct allegations. A former army lieutenant-colonel and Vancouver police detective, Sajjan has argued he was right to pass off responsibility for a report of misconduct against Vance in March 2018 to the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic operation that supports the Prime Minister's Office. He told the House defence committee earlier this year that drawing an elected official into a probe would be "wrong and dangerous, politicizing any investigation.''

Gary Walbourne: Former military ombudsman who first raised misconduct allegations against Vance to Sajjan in a meeting on March 1, 2018. Walbourne has expressed frustration over the defence minister's referring him to the Privy Council, but the government has said senior civil servants were stymied in launching an investigation after the ombudsman refused to provide them with more information. Global News has reported the allegation Walbourne raised involved a lewd email sent to a female corporal in 2012, three years before Vance became defence chief.

Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson: A top-ranking military officer who temporarily left his job following media reports of an allegation of sexual assault. The head of military personnel in Ottawa stepped aside last month as he faces a military police investigation. He has denied the allegations.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin: The former head of Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout who was abruptly replaced in May, five days before the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service referred a sexual misconduct investigation to the Quebec prosecution service to determine whether charges should be laid. Through his lawyers, Fortin has denied any wrongdoing and said the allegation dates back more than 30 years. Heis currently fighting the government in Federal Court for reinstatement in the position, alleging the decision to replace him was politically motivated and denied him due process. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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