“The Liberal members of this committee have been talking out the clock. It’s time to put an end to it.” - Bezan.
The May 26th meeting saw four members of the committee submitting a request for additional witnesses in the study of addressing high-level allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, including allegations against the former chief of defence leader Jonathan Vance and possible orchestration of cover-ups in the Liberal Government offices.
James Bezan, Conservative Member of Parliament, requested that the committee move quickly on this motion to shed light on confusing contradictions that have been heard from various witnesses by the committee. Bezan urged members to end the time-wasting tactics of contradicting statements. The committee argues that more witnesses can help clear up the now long-drawn-out testimony hearings over allegations first reported in early February. Bezan also called out Liberals and the Committee Chair for wasting time, stalling, and suspending meetings “at-will,” which he says has obstructed the purpose of the conferences and blocked key witnesses from appearing.
“Instead of endless hours of debate and filibuster and obstructing the work of this committee, I ask that Liberal members allow the committee to vote on this motion and amendment. The women and men in uniform expect results,” Bezan stated. Randall Garrison agreed that the issue of why there was no investigative action on allegations against former general Vance is a disservice to the survivors of sexual misconduct in the military. Accountability, he stated, is not “finger-pointing” but identifying individuals involved and the reasons they happened.
Concerns are growing that the liberals, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chief of Staff Katie Telford, and former clerk of the privy council, Michael Warnick, are providing contradictory information about who was informed of allegations against Vance and when. A May 13th meeting included a committee request stating that the prime minister and chief of staff’s testimonies “directly contradicted” previous testimony from high-profile witnesses.
Previous testimony includes Harjit Sajjan’s statement that he passed the information regarding former general Vance’s allegations of misconduct along to Telford, who sent it to the PM’s office, who sent it to the Privy Council, who then ignored it. Telford testified that she first heard of the issue from the former senior advisor, Elder Marques. All witnesses claim a different version of events.
Sven Spengemann, MP, used his time during the meeting to outline actionable steps against preventing future sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour in the Canadian military. Spengemann shared a study from the UK detailing how to provide people with the tools to avoid misconduct as both survivors and bystanders and eliminate elitist masculine culture that contributes to inappropriate behaviour.