Politics

Canada's former top soldier expelled from RMC Alumni Association

The Royal Military College Alumni Association has voted to expel retired general Jonathan Vance, Canada’s former top soldier, after his guilty plea for obstruction of justice.

Move comes a week after federal government announced Vance had returned Order of Military Merit

Former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance has been kicked out of the Royal Military College's alumni association following his guilty plea for obstruction of justice. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Royal Military College Alumni Association has voted to expel retired general Jonathan Vance, Canada's former top soldier, after his guilty plea for obstruction of justice.

According to an internal notice sent out to association members Wednesday morning, the organization's board met on April 7 and voted unanimously to revoke Vance's membership for "carrying out conduct that was detrimental to the association." 

"In reaching its decision, the board considered, among other things, the detrimental impact of Gen. Vance's actions not only on the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian military colleges, the alumni community and the association, but on all Canadians," the notice says. 

"The association's motto of Truth, Duty Valour featured prominently in the decision."

The notice says that while Vance was entitled to make a written submission to the association, he chose not to do so. 

Last month, Vance pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for repeatedly contacting Maj. Kellie Brennan — a subordinate he was sexually involved with while serving as the chief of defence staff — and attempting to persuade her to make false statements to investigators about their relationship.

Vance has acknowledged he was in a sexual relationship with Brennan and that he fathered a child with her after having denied the allegations in the past.

Order of merit returned

Brennan, a staff officer at army headquarters, made a series of audio recordings that featured Vance conceding they had an intimate relationship while he was the top soldier. As chief of defence staff, Vance sat at the summit of the Canadian military chain of command.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigated Vance last year. CFNIS did not charge him with a service offence in connection with a military order from 2004 that requires Canadian Forces members to disclose sexual relationships with other members to their chain of command.

The revelations about Vance, first reported by Global News, set off a major crisis in the military and a cascade of other claims of sexual misconduct involving senior officers. An unprecedented number of senior leaders have been removed from top jobs since February 2021 in connection with sexual misconduct claims.

Last week, the government announced that Vance has also returned his Order of Military Merit after receiving approval to give up the decoration by the Governor General last month.

The Order of Military Merit "recognizes distinctive merit and exceptional service displayed by the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces," according to the Governor General of Canada.

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