EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that the woman initially identified as a corporal was a private at the time of the alleged incident and was promoted to corporal shortly thereafter.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service opened an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Gen. Jonathan Vance in 2015, Global News has learned.
But sources with knowledge of the probe say there were questions about how robust the probe was, whether it interviewed any potential witnesses on the ground in Italy, and whether it looked at any electronic communications.
“An allegation against General Vance was investigated by the military police in 2015 for conduct while serving as Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, a position he held from 2013 until July 2014,” said a military spokesperson.
“The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation did not meet the elements of the offence to lay charges under the Code of Service Discipline or the Criminal Code of Canada.”
The CFNIS did not disclose what the investigation involved, or whether electronic communications were reviewed. The force also did not disclose the findings of the investigation.
Vance, who handed over command as chief of defence staff last month, is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour with two female subordinates.
Those allegations relate to a female subordinate who says she had an intimate relationship with Vance while he was chief of defence staff, and the other allegation concerns an exchange that appears to have been sent to a different, much younger female private from Vance’s military account in 2012.
A source with direct knowledge of that exchange with a female private said it came after the woman met Vance at a professional event, and he invited her to reach out for career advice.
The exchange, records of which were viewed by Global News, shows an email that appears to have been sent from Vance’s military account suggesting he and the private head to a clothing optional vacation destination.
Vance denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
He says the relationship with the female subordinate while he was chief of defence staff was never sexual, and says he has no recollection of sending the email to the female private, adding he is willing to apologize if he did do so.
The 2015 investigation, sources tell Global News, was unrelated to those two allegations.
Retired Lt-Gen. Mike Day, who was deputy commander of Joint Task Force Naples at the time of the investigation and succeeded Vance in the role, told Global News he had heard of the investigation at the time but was never aware of anyone being interviewed for it.
“I was told there was an investigation, but to the best of my knowledge nobody in the Canadian contingent in Naples was interviewed,” said Day.
“Given that an investigation is now re-opened, I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”