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Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance speaks to the graduation class of Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont. on May 17, 2019.
Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recommended a raise for Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. John Vance, boosting his salary’s upper limit to $306,500.
Although government sources say the raise is part of a regular pay review, the announcement was posted on a federal website the day after prosecutors dropped a criminal breach of trust charge against Vice Adm. Mark Norman.
Vance has faced criticism for suspending Norman as vice chief of the defence staff in January 2017 based on the unproven allegations from the RCMP. Last week, Vance defended Trudeau from criticism that there was political interference in the case, saying the prime minister had nothing to do with Norman’s suspension. “My decision, my decision alone because of the code of service discipline in the Queen’s regulations and orders,” Vance told journalists on May 17. “Not the prime minister, not the (defence) minister, me. I own it.”
Vance’s pay hike was posted on a federal website outlining orders in council. “Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, fixes the remuneration and certain conditions of employment of General Jonathan H. Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, as set out in the annexed schedule, which salary is within the range ($260,600 – $306,500), effective April 1, 2018,” according to the May 9 orders in council notice.
The raise is retroactive to April 1, 2018.
The specific salary Vance receives is protected by the privacy act.
Vance last received a raise on Oct. 12, 2017, when the salary range for the Chief of the Defence Staff was set at $247,900 to $291,600.
Sources say the pay hike isn’t unusual as senior federal public servants receive regular increases and it is standard procedure for the wording of raises for the top levels of the bureaucracy to include information that the hike is based on a recommendation from the prime minister.
However, they acknowledge the timing doesn’t look good considering events surrounding the Norman case.
The Crown’s case against Norman collapsed May 8 after new information prompted the prosecution to stay the charge while acknowledging there was no likelihood of a conviction.
The breach of trust charge stemmed from a plan by the previous Conservative government to commission Davie Shipbuilding to convert a commercial vessel into a naval supply ship. The RCMP alleged that Norman fed information to Davie, including details about a Liberal government plan to put the project on hold.
Trudeau has faced allegations from opposition MPs that he politically interfered in the case when he twice publicly predicted the naval officer was headed to court, even before a charge had been laid. Trudeau said he was basing his views on information from Vance.
Senior Canadian federal officials can have varying salaries depending on their position and experience. Defence Deputy Minister Jody Thomas is paid in the range of $221,000 to $260,000, while RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki makes between $312,900 and $368,100.
In contrast to Canada’s defence chief, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the U.S. — the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. — receives an annual salary the equivalent of $240,000 Canadian. The head of the British armed forces is paid the equivalent of $434,000 to $440,000 Canadian annually.
The Department of National Defence referred questions to the Privy Council Office. The PCO could not provide comment.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019