The Federal Conservatives today made a political mark by calling on the prime minister to remove his top adviser on how his government handled the sexual abuse crisis in the military.
Opposition leader Erin O’Donoghue has filed a motion in the House of Representatives today – to be debated tomorrow – calling for the removal of Prime Minister Katie Delford.
The latest twist to a crisis that erupted three months ago was when allegations of inappropriate behavior involving the country’s former top military commander – now retired General Jonathan Vance – surfaced in the media.
The allegation of misconduct involving Vance was flagged off in early 2018 at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council office.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that although his staff is aware of the 2018 allegations, he will not divulge those details until the reports are made public. Most recently, Delford said it was unaware that this was a “#MeToo” charge.
Watch: O’Toole calls on Trudeau to fire top adviser
Conservatives say it is hard to believe and that Delford is coming forward to summon the Commons Security Council, which is examining who and when in the Liberal government knows about the accusation involving Vance.
“We call on the Prime Minister to take action and remove his chief of staff,” O’Toole said today. “It’s time for Justin Trudeau to stop hiding the truth from Canadians and take responsibility for his actions within his own office.”
The motion will be the focus of the Opposition Day debate on Tuesday.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said it was unacceptable for one of the prime minister’s staff to fall.
“It falls squarely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister,” Singh told reporters today.
The committee meeting was abruptly canceled
The Commons Security Council is scheduled to hold another meeting today. The meeting was chaired by its chairman, the Liberal MP. Abruptly canceled by Karen McGregor.
The group met this weekend and “will work hard to make recommendations for the government,” McGrimman said in an email.
He did not speak on the status of the Conservatives’ proposal to call Delford – which was not approved or defeated when the panel last met.
“The committee met last Friday, but was suspended at the request of the opposition,” McGrimman said.
Opposition MPs called for a halt to the protests on Friday. They also asked if the discussion on whether to recall Delford during today’s meeting – which has now been canceled.
“The Liberals are clearly trying to cover up the run,” said Conservative vice-president Candice Bergen.
Liberal MPs who attended the committee meeting on Friday opposed the idea of resuming the debate, insisting that the committee continue to write its report instead of interviewing another witness.
Delford’s testimony is being considered by Conservatives and New Democrats.
The matter was flagged off at the Prime Minister’s Office in 2018 after former Army ombudsman Gary Walborne raised an informal allegation of defamation involving Vance with Defense Minister Harjeet Sajjan.
Elder Marks, a former PMO senior adviser, testified before the panel that the allegation of “personal abuse” against Vance was reported by Delford or one of his staff. He said he did not believe the Prime Minister had been briefed on the matter.
Conservatives say they want to know why.
“If the prime minister is telling the truth, he will fire his chief of staff if he wants Canadians to believe he knows nothing about the evidence of sexual abuse against General Vance,” O’Dowl said today.