Exposing sexual misconduct among Canada’s top military commanders
Mercedes Stephenson, Amanda Connolly, Marc-André Cossette, David de la Harpe, Luigi Della Penta, Bryan Mullan, Crystal Oag, Frank Boldt
In March 2022, Canada’s former top military commander, Gen. Jonathan Vance, appeared in an Ottawa courtroom and pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of obstruction of justice. This extraordinary development would almost certainly never have happened had it not been for many months of work by Global News to expose sexual misconduct in the highest ranks of this country’s military. While a report in 2015 by former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps had revealed endemic sexual misconduct and a hostile environment toward female and LGBTQ members of the military, what had remained unreported was that this behaviour extended up to the very top ranks. The Global News team sensitively shared the stories of military women who had been exploited and victimized. The reporting led to the criminal charge against Vance; the removal of Adm. Art McDonald from the position of chief of defence staff; a new review by former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour that called for sexual-misconduct allegations in the military to be investigated by civilian authorities (a recommendation accepted by Canada’s defence minister); and a commitment by the federal government to establish an independent sexual-misconduct reporting system for the military.