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Tories prepare push for Telford testimony on 2018 Vance allegation

Tories prepare push for Telford testimony on 2018 Vance allegation

Tories prepare push for Telford testimony on 2018 Vance allegation image
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Conservative members of the House of Commons defence committee plan to move a motion on Friday to push for an appearance by Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A copy of the motion obtained by Global News shows the Tories plan to ask for her to be invited to appear next week for no less than two hours to respond after testimony last week by former colleague Elder Marques.

Marques, who was a senior advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2018, told the committee Telford was aware of a 2018 allegation against Gen. Jonathan Vance and that he kept her updated as bureaucrats at the Privy Council Office opened a probe — which they abandoned shortly thereafter — into the matter.

READ MORE: Trudeau’s chief of staff knew of 2018 Vance allegation: ex-senior staffer

The revelation immediately prompted fresh questions about why one of Trudeau’s closest confidantes and his most senior staff member would not have shared the existence of an allegation with him.

Trudeau doubled-down in defence of Telford on Tuesday, describing her as a key leader and a driving element of why the government calls itself a “feminist” one.

Those feminist credentials have been under fire for nearly three months, however, following reporting by Global News on Feb. 2 that revealed allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Vance.

Vance denies the allegations.

Trudeau insisted “nobody knew it was a Me Too complaint” when asked on Tuesday whether he believes that Telford should have informed him of the 2018 allegation against Vance.

Government records appeared to contradict that though, showing bureaucrats had been informed that the allegation related to “sexual harassment” on the same day as Marques had testified that he asked them to probe the matter — March 2, 2018.

READ MORE: Trudeau says no one knew Vance allegation was ‘Me Too’ complaint – records raise questions

Michael Wernick, who was clerk of the Privy Council at the time, has testified that Marques had a meeting with a senior PCO bureaucrat as well as the chief of staff to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, on that same afternoon.

Click to play video: Sajjan repeats claim that immediate action was taken following Gen. Vance misconduct allegations

Sajjan has said repeatedly that he refused to look at the evidence offered by then-military ombudsman Gary Walbourne when Walbourne alerted him to an allegation against Vance on March 1, 2018.

Conservatives have also put a motion on notice that could see the House of Commons debate whether to call on the government to launch a public inquiry into the handling of the matter.

The motion is one of several that could be chosen for debate by the Conservatives on opposition day on Thursday — a day set aside for debate on a matter selected by the Official Opposition.

A Conservative source told Global News the motion is under consideration.

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