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Retired general Jonathan Vance loses military honour at his own request

Order of Military Merit was created in 1972 to recognize conspicuous merit and exceptional service
Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance watches a news conference from the front row of seats in Ottawa, Thursday May 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Retired gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada’s former chief of the defence staff, has terminated his appointment to a major Canadian military honour.

A notice posted in the Canada Gazette, the federal government’s official newspaper, says Vance asked that his appointment to the Order of Military Merit be terminated and the Governor General has granted his request.

The notice was signed on April 20 but is dated Saturday in the Gazette.

Vance was sentenced to 80 hours of community service in March after pleading guilty to one charge of obstruction of justice in a case that shook Canada’s military.

The judge also ordered Vance to refrain from contacting Maj. Kellie Brennan, with whom he had what an agreed statement of facts filed in court described as a “long-standing intimate relationship” that started in 2001 and lasted until early 2021.

The statement of facts says Vance failed to disclose that relationship, which exposed him to the possibility of a charge under the National Defence Act. He then attempted to “discourage” her from revealing the full nature of their relationship to military police.

The judge, in granting the conditional discharge, also said Vance appeared to be “a man of good character” who had contributed to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan and the Canadian Armed Forces during his career.

The Order of Military Merit was created in 1972 to recognize conspicuous merit and exceptional service by active members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

A government website says the award recognizes outstanding meritorious service and demonstrated leadership in duties of great responsibility.

– The Canadian Press