Christopher Coates talks to media at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on April 6, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrice Bergeron

Christopher Coates talks to media at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on April 6, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrice Bergeron

Probes in 2015 found no wrongdoing before Vance named defence chief: Harper aide

OTTAWA — A former top aide to Stephen Harper says a flurry of investigations and queries into allegations of misconduct by Gen. Jonathan Vance were carried out in the weeks and months before his appointment as chief of the defence staff in 2015.

Ray Novak says those probes, largely led by senior public servants, did not turn up any evidence of wrongdoing before Vance took over as commander of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Novak, who was Harper’s chief of staff at the time, made the comments to the House of Commons’ defence committee today as MPs keep digging into allegations of sexual misconduct against Vance.

Novak says the Harper government was initially tipped in March 2015 that Vance had a relationship with a U.S. military officer while posted in Italy, and that senior civil servants and military police looked into the matter.

But Novak says there was no indication of wrongdoing, and Vance simply told Harper that he was relieved the matter was behind him when the prime minister asked Vance whether there was anything else he needed to know.

Novak says then-national security adviser Richard Fadden also looked into a “rumour” that Vance had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate while serving at CFB Gagetown in 2001, but that there was similarly no indication of he had done anything wrong.

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