Gen. Jonathan Vance stripped of Order of Military Merit after guilty plea, discharge
By Sean Boynton Global News
Posted May 6, 2022 9:13 pm
Retired Gen. Jonathan Vance has been stripped of the prestigious Order of Military Merit after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.
A notice of the revocation, which was approved on April 20, was published Friday in the Canada Gazette, the official federal government newspaper.
The revocation was approved by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon after an “individual request” that the Gazette notice suggests came from Vance himself.
Vance pleaded guilty on March 30 to one count of obstruction of justice laid against him, and was conditionally discharged from the military that he had previously overseen as chief of the defence staff.
The charge came after military police launched an investigation following allegations of inappropriate behaviour first published by Global News last year.
The allegations sparked a national reckoning over military culture that continues to this day.
seeking Vance’s removal from the Order of Military Merit was launched shortly after news broke of Vance’s guilty plea, stating that he should be removed because his plea has “brought dishonour” on the prestigious military award.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say
whether Vance should keep the honour after Vance entered his plea, stating repeatedly that he would not comment on an ongoing court case.
Membership in the order is overseen by Canadian military leaders and the award carries material benefits for those deemed to have made “outstanding meritorious service and demonstrated leadership in duties of great responsibility.”
For example, members in the Order get “private VIP consultations with medical specialists” working at l’Hôpital de la Pitié Salpetrière in Paris, France, described as a “renowned university teaching hospital with specialists in many fields” and “one of Europe’s largest hospitals.”
Membership also allows members to rent vacation residences in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Malta and “several island nations, including in the Caribbean” at 50 per cent off.
They can also get “respite stays” at a retirement home called the Résidence de la Médaille Militaire, which is for recipients of a prestigious French military medal and is located in southern France near the Mediterranean coast.
France extends the same benefits it offers to members of a similar military honour society to members of the Order of Military Merit in gratitude for Canadian service during World War One and World War Two.
According to a spokesperson for Rideau Hall, the governor general could consider terminating an appointment to the order on the advice of the Order of Military Merit Advisory Council.
That council is the body that can weigh requests from the public to revoke the honour. Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre is the chair of the council.
But the Gazette notice signed by Ian McCowan, secretary general of the Order of Military Merit, suggests the request to revoke the honour did not come from the council or the general public.
“Notice is hereby given that, further to his individual request and the Governor General’s subsequent approval, the appointment of (Vance) to the Order of Military Merit was terminated by Ordinance signed on April 20, 2022,” the notice reads.
— with files from Amanda Connolly