Naval officer reportedly threatened for reporting misconduct allegations to testify

House committee to today hear from naval officer who says he received anonymous threats after brining forward allegations of misconduct by Art McDonald, who now has temporarily stepped aside as chief of defence staff.

OTTAWA — A naval officer reportedly threatened for reporting an allegation of misconduct against the chief of the defence staff is to appear before a parliamentary committee today.

The House of Commons defence committee summoned Lt.-Cmdr. Raymond Trotter to testify after Global News reported that he received two anonymous threats after bringing forward an allegation of misconduct by Vice-Admiral Art McDonald last month.

McDonald has since temporarily stepped aside while military police investigate the allegation, which hasn't been detailed publicly.

The opposition Conservatives have accused the Liberal government of being behind the alleged threats, a charge that Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's office has strongly rejected.

The committee will also hear for a second time today from Sajjan, who is expected to offer more details about his handling of an allegation of sexual misconduct against then-defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance in March 2018.

Sajjan previously refused to confirm that military ombudsman Gary Walbourne raised the allegation with him at that time, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has since confirmed it.

Trudeau has insisted, however, that the government did everything by the book by referring the matter to the Privy Council Office, which was unable to do anything more because Walbourne refused to provide information about the allegation.

The prime minister also says the government did not know the specifics of the allegation until a Global report last month.

The report alleges Vance engaged in an ongoing relationship with a subordinate that started more than a decade ago and continued after he became chief of the defence staff in 2015.

Global has also reported that Vance allegedly sent a lewd email to a much more junior soldier in 2012.

Vance has declined to respond to repeated requests by The Canadian Press for comment, and the allegations have not been independently verified. However, Global has reported that Vance has denied any wrongdoing.

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