Here's how Erin O'Toole says he learned of a rumour about ex-top soldier Jonathan Vance in 2015

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Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole learned of a rumour about ex-top soldier Jonathan Vance from a fellow military member, who heard it "from a third party," O'Toole's office told the Star Monday.
It was the first time O'Toole said how he came to learn of a rumour that he passed on to the Prime Minister's Office for investigation in July 2015, when O'Toole was Veterans Affairs Minister and the Conservatives had named Vance to become the next chief of the defence staff.

O'Toole learned of the rumour at some point after the government announced Vance's appointment in April 2015. The rumour was about Vance having had an inappropriate relationship with an officer and/or improperly sought to further her career while stationed at CFB Gagetown around 2001.

"Mr. O'Toole's chief of staff at the time asked the Prime Minister's Office that the rumour be investigated and Mr. O'Toole understood that it had been," said Chelsea Tucker, O'Toole's director of communications, in a statement.

"Mr. O'Toole learned about the rumour from someone he had served with in the Canadian Armed Forces. They themself heard the rumour from a third party."

Questions have been raised about the Conservatives' claim that the rumour was investigated, after the Star reported this weekend that ex-national security adviser Richard Fadden — who the Conservatives say looked into the rumour in 2015 — said he had no recollection of ever doing so.

And the list of senior officials who say they were also unaware of the Gagetown rumour has grown. Following the Star's initial story, retired lieutenant-general Guy Thibault, who was the vice-chief of the defence staff at the time, confirmed that he never heard about it.

Former chief of the defence staff Gen. Tom Lawson had also previously told the Star that Fadden had never brought a rumour about Gagetown to him prior to Vance's July 2015 swearing-in.

"It is a bit of a mystery to me about if there were rumours about Gagetown. Who looked at it? I don't know. I…
Jacques Gallant
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