Senior officer who golfed with Vance has power over military police investigations

Senior officer who golfed with Vance has power over military police investigations
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

OTTAWA — One of the senior military officers who golfed with former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance has the power to direct military investigations.

Vice-chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau’s power was recently flagged in an occasionally scathing report on the military justice system by retired Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish.

The report notes that legislation passed in 2013 gives the military’s second-in-command the power to issue orders to the military’s top police when it comes to investigations.

Fish says that power poses a threat to the independence of military probes and should be abolished.

READ MORE: Feds urged to create body to monitor military’s handling of sexual misconduct

Fish’s report was released on June 1, one day before media reports say Rouleau and Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice-Admiral Craig Baines joined Vance for a game of golf in Ottawa. Military police are currently investigating Vance on allegations of sexual misconduct.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjans’s office says the golf game was unacceptable and that the minister would be speaking with acting defence chief Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre about Rouleau and Baines.

Vance has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the allegations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2021.

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