Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial

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Post by Sandman on Wed 15 May 2019, 7:27 pm

Where are the Trudeau government's priorities?

True North
May 15, 2019



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Post by Delta on Thu 16 May 2019, 8:48 am

Defence minister says he supported decision to suspend Mark Norman

OTTAWA
THE CANADIAN PRESS
PUBLISHED May 15, 2019

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 7XSXPZGEH5G6LJZFKLRXTERM4A
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he supported the decision to suspend Vice-Admiral Mark Norman in 2017. He also supported a Conservative motion apologizing to Norman for his ordeal earlier this week.



FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he supported the chief of defence staff’s decision to suspend Vice-Admiral Mark Norman in 2017, more than a year before he was charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets about military procurement.

But Sajjan told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the decision was Gen. Jonathan Vance’s alone.

The public prosecutor abruptly stayed the charges against Norman last week, fuelling opposition charges that the Liberal government interfered politically in the case. Sajjan systematically rejected those accusations Wednesday as he withstood a four-hour opposition grilling in the Commons about the case and other hot defence issues.

Sajjan insisted the Norman case was handled independently of the government “from start to finish” — beginning with Norman’s suspension and including the RCMP’s decision to charge him and the public prosecutor’s eventual decision to drop the matter.

“The chief of defence staff has full responsibility for the administration and command of the Canadian Armed Forces,” he told the Commons.

“When the decision was made, I supported it.”

Sajjan’s assertion led to a testy exchange with Conservative MP Leona Alleslev, a former Liberal and captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, who accused Sajjan of shirking his responsibility.

“This is probably the most fundamental point of this entire conversation. Our democracy is based on the fact that a standing army is accountable to the elected official so that Canadians can trust that our military is not running rogue,” Alleslev said.

“If the minister of national defence is not going to assume his responsibility for ensuring the chief of defence staff behaves in accordance with the National Defence Act, then I would like to understand from the minister what precisely he thinks his role is.”

Sajjan rejected Alleslev’s “insinuations.”


“I have respect for the chief of defence staff position and the authority that has been given by the National Defence Act for the chief of defence staff. No, our military does not run rogue ... I have faith in the chief of defence staff to carry out his duties.”

Sajjan added: “I’ll be honest with you, it is hurtful to hear this type of talk and insinuation that the military’s running rogue considering the tremendous work women and men do for us not only in Canada, but around the world.”

Vance’s decision was based on preliminary evidence gathered by the RCMP, which suggested Norman had leaked information aimed at thwarting a cabinet decision to review the previous Conservative government’s decision to award a $700-million supply ship contract to Davie shipyard in Quebec. The prosecutor last week said that new information supplied by Norman’s defence team prompted the decision to stay the charges.

Sajjan said it will also be up to Vance to now determine whether Norman will be reinstated to his former position as his vice chief or offered some other senior role.

On Tuesday, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion recognizing Norman’s “decades of loyal service to Canada,” expressing regret for the hardships he endured as a result of the failed prosecution and apologizing to Norman and his family. Sajjan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had left the chamber before the vote.

Sajjan said Wednesday that he supports the motion, but would not accept opposition charges that the government was responsible for Norman’s ordeal.

“Like the rest of the chamber, I support this motion, but I want to assure my colleagues that this was the result of an independent process since the beginning.”





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Post by Delta on Thu 16 May 2019, 8:51 am

Mark Norman says he has 'a story to tell' - but can he tell it?

As long as the vice-admiral is in uniform, he faces strict limits on what he can discuss in public

Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: May 16, 2019

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Post by Xforce2000 on Thu 16 May 2019, 7:23 pm

Opposition call for committee study of Norman affair defeated

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 Image

Published Thursday, May 16, 2019

OTTAWA – A call for the House National Defence Committee to study the government’s conduct in the investigation and stayed prosecution of Mark Norman has been defeated, though MPs have left the door open should the vice-admiral want to testify.

The opposition Conservatives and NDP had wanted to probe how the case against Norman was handled, after federal prosecutors stayed a breach of trust charge against the military’s former second-in-command last week, staving off a high-profile and potentially damaging pre-election trial. The Liberal majority on the committee struck down the request at an emergency meeting of the Commons committee on Thursday.

After MPs from all sides spent two hours taking turns speaking about why or why not they thought a committee study was warranted, the vote was called, and the proposal was defeated 5-4. Though, the discussion revealed an apparent openness to allow Norman to come speak on his own, should he indicate a desire to do so.

The opposition had wanted Norman, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and more than a dozen current and former government officials, including Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, to testify before the committee in televised hearings no later than May 24. In the letter requesting the special hearing, MPs accused Trudeau and the government of political interference and of smearing Norman.

Conservative MPs James Bezan and Cheryl Gallant told the committee that many questions have not been answered about the government’s involvement and alleged interference in the case, while the sole NDP MP on the committee, Randall Garrison, said he backed the motion to give Norman a chance to speak in a parliamentary forum about his experience.

Liberal MP Sven Spengemann, speaking against the proposed study, said that it would not be appropriate to bring Norman, a long-serving and high-ranking military officer, into a “politically-charged forum.” But the government side in the committee said it would be a different story if Norman wrote to the committee and asked to appear.

Norman served as the second-in-command of the military until he was charged in March 2018 with breach of trust for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets in favour of Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding in relation to a $700-million shipbuilding contract. Norman, who was suspended from the military as a result of the charge, denied any wrongdoing.

Norman’s legal team, which was headed by defence lawyer Marie Henein, had argued that the charge was politically motivated and had been engaged in various procedural fights with the federal government over accessing secret documents to bolster their argument for having the case tossed out before heading to trial.

Speaking about the prospect of political interference after the case against Norman was dropped, Henein said that the outcome was “despite, not because of” the government. She also spoke at length about what she called “concerning” involvement of the government.

Not long after the charge was stayed, the federal government announced that it will be paying Norman's substantial legal fees. Norman says he is now looking forward to returning to work, though it remains unclear what position he’ll be returning to.

The House of Commons unanimously agreed, on the suggestion of the Conservatives, to apologize to Norman earlier this week over what he and his family had to go through during the years-long legal battle.

Norman has said that he has an “important story to tell,” and has not ruled out pursuing a civil suit against the government.





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Post by SniperGod on Thu 16 May 2019, 9:42 pm

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Christie Blatchford: For the Liberals, the Norman file is yet another case closed

Odd especially that Trudeau has declined opportunities to apologize to Norman, since he has made saying sorry for the sins of others part of his own darling brand

Christie Blatchford

May 16, 2019





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Post by Thunder95 on Fri 17 May 2019, 2:51 pm

'I own it': Vance says decision to suspend Mark Norman was his, not PM's



CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Friday, May 17, 2019

Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance says the decision to suspend Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was his alone, made without any influence from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Vance made the comments Friday, after telling reporters in Kingston, Ont. that, while he regrets what happened to Norman, he would not answer any questions about the case at this time.

But before departing, he offered a brief remark.

"The prime minister did not pressure me to suspend him, ok? My decision, my decision alone because of the code of service discipline in the Queen's regulations and orders. Not the prime minister, not the minister, me. I own it."

The comments came on the same day a government official confirmed to CTV News that the prime minister asked the Privy Council Office (PCO) to investigate the leak from the cabinet committee studying the shipbuilding contract.

According to the official, Trudeau was frustrated about the leak of cabinet secrets in relation to a $700-million shipbuilding contract and asked the PCO to look into it.

In a statement to CTV News on Friday, Paul Duchesne, media director for the PCO, said cabinet confidence is a “core tenet” of government and the office takes any leaks “extremely seriously” and that this was no exception. He said then-Privy Council Clerk Janice Charette immediately tasked the then-National Security and Intelligence Advisor (NSIA) Richard Fadden to undertake an administrative review.

Based on the information uncovered in the review, Duchesne said the NSIA recommended to Charette that the matter be referred to the RCMP for “pursuit of a criminal investigation.” The PCO agreed and the investigation was passed on to the RCMP, the statement read.

The government official said the RCMP acted independently in its decision to proceed with a criminal investigation.

Vice-Admiral Norman was charged with breach of trust last year, for allegedly leaking secrets from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet.

Last week, federal prosecutors stayed the breach of trust charge against Norman.





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Post by Fonzirette on Fri 17 May 2019, 5:46 pm

MPs discuss emergency committee meeting on Mark Norman case

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Published on May 17, 2019



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Post by Rockarm on Fri 17 May 2019, 7:34 pm

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'The fight of your life': In a Postmedia exclusive, Mark Norman tells his side of the story

Norman was in his kitchen in April 2017 when his wife Bev, astonished, called out to him. 'I think the prime minister was just talking about you'

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

May 17, 2019



Bev Norman was watching television in her home in the east-end Ottawa suburb of Orleans around 5 p.m. when the screen flashed images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It was April 6, 2017, and the prime minister was taking questions from journalists. One of them was about Bev’s husband, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

Mark Norman was in the kitchen when an astonished Bev called out to him. “I think the prime minister was just talking about you.”

Three months earlier a team of RCMP officers had raided the Normans’ home as part of an investigation into an alleged leak of the Liberal government’s plans to pause a project to procure a supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy. The federal police force believed Norman had given confidential information to the shipbuilder, Davie, as well as to a CBC journalist in an attempt to prevent the Liberals from scuttling the deal.

The allegations were a working RCMP theory — the raid was part of their ongoing investigation — but when the police briefed Canada’s top soldier, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance, he had quickly responded by suspending Norman from his military duties. It would later emerge that Vance had discussed the matter with Trudeau and top advisors in the Prime Minister’s Office including then-principal secretary Gerald Butts and chief of staff Katie Telford.

Mark came into the living room and the couple fumbled with their PVR to retrieve the news clip of Trudeau. “This is an important matter that is obviously under investigation, and will likely end up before the courts, so I won’t make any further comments at this time,” the prime minister said.

For the Normans it was surreal moment, watching the leader of the country talking about an active legal case and predicting — roughly a year before any charge would be laid — that the naval officer was headed for court. Bev became very upset. “How is that fair?” she asked her husband.

Norman jotted down what Trudeau had said, and immediately phoned his lawyer, Marie Henein, to tell her what happened.

Later that evening Henein issued a statement to journalists. Politicians should not be commenting about whether a case would be going to trial, she noted. “I expect what the prime minister meant to say is that he declined to comment further given that the matter is under investigation,” she said.


I think the prime minister was just talking about you


It was Henein, perhaps the highest-profile lawyer in the country, providing Trudeau with a way out if he wanted to take it.

But almost a year later Trudeau was back at it, again predicting at a televised town hall in February 2018 that Norman was headed to trial, though he had still not been charged.

Watching TV coverage of that event, Norman couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The prime minister had not only ignored Henein’s subtle warning but had doubled down.

That Trudeau was once again speaking publicly about the case badly upset Bev, so as the couple watched, Norman kept his thoughts to himself.

But, Norman told Postmedia in an exclusive interview, “I was thinking, ‘I’m screwed.’”

A little more than a month after Trudeau’s second prediction, and over two years after the start of their investigation, the RCMP charged Norman with one count of breach of trust.

Last week prosecutors stayed that charge, ending a two-and-a-half-year-long ordeal for Norman and his family. In a press conference held shortly after he left court on May 8, Norman said he wants to tell Canadians his story. “Not to lay blame, but to ensure that we all learn from this experience,” he said.


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Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, his wife Beverly and his daughter Holly pose for a photo their home in Ottawa Thursday May 16, 2019.



Under military regulations, however, Norman is restrained in what he can say in public. He could face a new charge under the Canadian Forces legal system if anything he says is seen to be critical of the senior military leadership or government. But in their first interview since he was suspended from his role as the Canadian Forces’ number two, Norman, his wife Bev and daughter Holly spoke with Postmedia about their experience, as candidly as they were able.

***

In Ottawa’s close-knit world of military procurement specialists and government lobbyists, it wasn’t much of a secret the RCMP had been called in to investigate a leak of cabinet confidences. The $670-million deal to have Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding convert a commercial ship, the Asterix, into a supply vessel for a navy that no longer had one of its own had been struck under the previous Conservative government. At a November 2015 meeting of a cabinet committee on procurement, the newly elected Liberals decided to put the plan on hold, a decision which leaked almost immediately. Throughout 2016 police made the rounds in the small community, interviewing military officers, government officials and company executives, and seizing records from two lobbying firms that had worked for Davie.

Liberal cabinet minister Scott Brison had told police that the leak had caused significant damage. It had limited the ability of the Liberals “to really do what we’d intended to do, and that is more due diligence on this,” he said.

Environment minister Catherine McKenna, chair of the cabinet committee, told the Mounties she believed that as a result of the leak “trust and confidence in officials was clearly put into disrepute.”

Norman assumed it was only a matter of time before he, too, would be interviewed by the RCMP. He had been head of the navy when Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives green-lit the Asterix project. There had been a series of internal battles within government over the plan and Norman had fought a number of those behind closed doors. He was well aware of the internal machinations surrounding the project. He had been in contact with Davie about their pitch to convert the Asterix and with their rival, Irving Shipbuilding, which later made a similar proposal to provide the navy with a supply ship.

“What I never in a million years expected was that (the RCMP) would show up at my house and execute a warrant,” Norman said.

Unbeknownst to Norman, who had been elevated to vice-chief of the defence staff, making him second-in-command of the Canadian Forces, the Mounties had already conducted clandestine surveillance of him and his home in preparation for a raid. By Christmas he had become the number one suspect in the RCMP’s leak investigation.


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At 7:22 a.m. on January 9, 2017, seven police officers arrived in three vehicles at Norman’s house. The vice-admiral was off that Monday and was about to take Bev, a veterinary assistant, to her office. The police boxed in the Normans’ vehicle and officers with badges around their necks approached Norman, who was at the wheel.

“Are you Mark Norman?” one of the officers asked. When the vice-admiral said he was, the Mounties told him they had a warrant to search his home.

Norman asked if his wife could leave for work and police agreed. Bev, who had no idea what was going on, was so upset she was visibly shaking. “I got to work and thought, ‘What am I supposed to tell people?’” she recalled. “I was crying. I talked to my supervisor and told her what was going on and they told me to go home. But I couldn’t.”

Inside the house, Norman sat in the living room under close police supervision while the Mounties searched the home and technicians pored over the Normans’ electronic devices. At one point, Norman recalls, there were four officers sitting around his dining room table drinking coffee and laughing. The RCMP stayed for six hours, and seized a desktop computer, a laptop, two cell phones and three iPads, one owned by Bev.

When Bev did arrive home, the Normans sat together trying to process what just happened. “I was in disbelief,” Mark Norman said. “There was shock. Even at that moment, I said this is such a waste of time. I really thought (the RCMP) would find material related to the project and realize there was nothing in there that would help them in what they were trying to do.”

Then the phone rang. A senior officer from Gen. Jon Vance’s office was on the line. The Canadian Forces chief wanted to see Norman immediately.

Shortly after 6:30 p.m. Norman was ushered into Vance’s office. With Vance was John Forster, deputy minister of the Department of National Defence. The RCMP had already briefed the two men on their allegations against Norman and informed them of the raid. After hearing from the RCMP earlier that day, Vance held separate meetings to brief political officials, including one with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and one with Prime Minister’s Office staff including Telford and Butts. Vance also had a brief phone call with Trudeau to confirm that the prime minister was aware of the situation.


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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during question period in the House of Commons on Tuesday. He left shortly after, before the motion to apologize to Mark Norman.



However, Vance told Norman he couldn’t discuss the details of what the RCMP had revealed to him, other than that the information was “compelling, sobering and frightening.”

Forster hadn’t acknowledged Norman when the naval officer entered the room. The deputy minister didn’t look up or make eye contact, Norman recalled, and was fidgeting in his chair, looking at his BlackBerry. “I immediately concluded he was the dedicated witness to whatever it was that was going to happen,” Norman said. Postmedia could not reach Forster for comment. DND said Forster was at the meeting because Norman, as vice-chief, reported to both Vance and the deputy minister.

Vance handed Norman a brown envelope containing a document outlining the general’s intention to relieve his second-in-command from his military duties. Vance said he wanted a response from Norman within 24 hours, though he later relented and allowed for a few more days.

There wasn’t much the vice-admiral could have said. He had no idea what the RCMP allegations were. All he had to go on was the page-and-a-half-long search warrant the RCMP had handed him when they arrived at his house that morning. It confirmed that police had the court’s approval to search Norman’s electronic devices for information about the vice-admiral’s contact with Davie officials but included no specifics of what he was alleged to have done.

Before he left Vance’s office, Norman recalled, Vance warned him: “You’re in for the fight of your life.”

Norman doesn’t remember much about his drive home that evening, but when he arrived home Bev and their daughter Holly, then 19, were there to greet him. They later told him he looked like he had seen a ghost.

In the days following, Norman met with an employment lawyer, but the lawyer’s advice was that his suspension from military duties was a fait accompli.


It was humiliating. It was the worst thing I could imagine in terms of my career


On Friday, Jan. 13th, Vance informed Norman he had run out of time. Admiral Ron Lloyd would be appointed as acting vice-chief of the defence staff. Norman was given a letter formally suspending him from command. In the letter, Vance wrote that he had lost confidence in Norman’s ability to command, though he offered no explanation, and asked Norman to brief Lloyd over the coming weekend on the top issues affecting the military.

Vance would later suggest that in suspending Norman from his job he was actually trying to help. “In this case, that meant removing him from duty so he could take care of the business he needed to take care of,” the general told journalists outside a pre-trial hearing in 2019.

On the morning of Monday, Jan. 16, Vance distributed a letter outlining the situation to senior military officers at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. It took only 20 minutes to be leaked to the media.

Norman had already predicted to Vance that the news would get out quickly, but even he was surprised how quickly journalists had secured a copy of the letter from inside defence headquarters. (This particular unauthorized release of information was never investigated.)

Days previously, Norman had asked Vance how he would explain the suspension to the media. Norman said he got no answer save a vague response that Vance promised to figure out something.

With the release of the letter, Vance ordered a blackout on all information about Norman. The Canadian Forces refused to say why the vice-admiral had been removed, when Norman was given Vance’s letter, or whether Norman was still serving and, if so, in what job or capacity. It also refused to explain why it couldn’t answer such basic questions. Vance would later say he couldn’t provide any information about Norman due to “privacy considerations.”

Vance, meanwhile, had left the country — but the military wouldn’t say where he had gone or why, or even when he’d departed. Asked about Norman’s removal, Trudeau declined to provide any details. Vance had made the decision, Trudeau said, and his government fully backed its defence chief.


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Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance leaves the courthouse during a break in the proceedings at suspended Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s pre-trial, Wednesday, January 30, 2019 in Ottawa.



Sajjan released a statement that echoed Trudeau’s almost word for word.

The total lack of information fuelled gossipy theories in political, defence and media circles. Some military personnel wondered whether Norman’s suspension was related to sexual misconduct. Perhaps he was a Russian spy, others mused.

The news got international attention. “It was playing on CNN, on BBC, it was all over the world,” said Norman. He started receiving emails from naval officers and commanders from around the globe, he said, including from the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia. “They were asking what the hell is going on and asking me whether I was okay,” said Norman. “I couldn’t answer them. I was in shock. I didn’t even know how to answer them.”

“It was humiliating,” he added. “It was the worst thing I could imagine in terms of my career.”

After 10 days of allowing speculation to percolate about the reasons for Norman’s suspension, Sajjan announced publicly what the government had known all along. “This is not an issue of national security,” the minister told journalists. However, he provided no further explanation.

Sajjan has declined to answer why he waited so long to make clear that the investigation wasn’t a matter of national security. But defence sources confirm that the minister’s response wasn’t intended to provide any relief for Norman. Sajjan was sending a message to the U.S. and other Canadian allies who were starting to ask questions about whether Norman’s removal was the result of a significant security breach.

Norman said the government and military silence significantly damaged his reputation. “I don’t know what the hell they were thinking or what they hoped to achieve,” he said.

While Sajjan’s response cleared the air about one avenue of speculation, it didn’t shut the door to the others. “Was he some kind of sexual offender?” asked Bev, rhetorically. “It was very frustrating.”

But both Bev and Holly said they were relieved the media did not dwell on such speculation, and eventually it emerged through reports based on a series of defence sources that Norman’s suspension was linked to the Davie project.

The months following were a whirl of meetings with lawyers and sleepless nights.

Norman needed legal representation. When he explained his predicament to the first attorney he met with, that lawyer told him there was one person better equipped than any other to defend him: Marie Henein. Henein had become the preeminent defence lawyer in the country thanks to her successful defence of former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi on sexual assault charges. The lawyer made arrangements for the Norman to meet her, and he began travelling back and forth to Toronto for consultations.

As much as possible Bev and Mark tried to maintain a sense of normality. Bev would go to her job at the veterinarian clinic. Mark was starting to help his legal team pull together what they needed. In the meantime, he renovated a bathroom in their house and exercised on a regular basis.

“It wasn’t to distract myself,” he explained. “I had to figure out how to continue to live my life to the best of my ability, notwithstanding all the stuff going around me that I had no control over.

“We have a bit of motto; to live our lives as normally as we could.”


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Vice-Admiral Mark Norman poses for a photo at his home in Ottawa Thursday May 16, 2019.




That Norman family motto developed in 2003 when the naval officer, then in command of HMCS St. John’s, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It would take a year of treatments before he would be cleared to return to duty.

“I’m a cancer survivor,” he said. “So when life comes along and drops that on your front door you have to figure out how to deal with that. This (legal case) was a similar thing.

“You look at time differently. You look how you measure success or don’t measure success. You take it a day at a time, a week at a time.”

Friends and family provided support. Norman paid particular attention to ensuring his daughter Holly knew exactly what was happening.

“I invested a lot not just in explaining to her what had gone on but what was going on, and I expressed to her my complete confidence that I would be vindicated,” Norman said. “But I didn’t want to give her fluff. To her credit she was genuinely curious. She got it. She understood it.”

He told Holly to focus on her studies at the University of Ottawa, but even then the first several months were stressful. The two would have honest conversations about what was happening. “I’m proud how she handled the whole thing,” Norman said. “She was a real rock.

“In many respects it made us closer but it’s a shitty way to get closer to your daughter.”

An only child who grew up on military bases across the country, Holly agreed that the legal ordeal had that one positive outcome. “My family and I are really close,” she said. “The three of us have a special bond that not all kids and parents have. But this experience has brought us even closer together.”


The other stress Norman faced was the growing financial burden for his legal defence. He and his family lived a comfortable life and his $265,000 salary from the Canadian Forces was significant. But taking on the unlimited public-funded resources of government prosecutors requires money, and lots of it. Potential witnesses had to be found and interviewed. Access to Information requests had to be filed to try to obtain documents. Even getting basic documents from the government would turn into an ordeal that only served to create more work and drive up costs.

Norman applied to have his legal bills covered through a fund designed to pay lawyer’s fees for federal public servants who, as a result of their job, found themselves in court.

He was shocked by the response he received. Not only was he rejected for such funding, but DND had already determined he was guilty.

At that point Norman had not been charged. DND sources told Postmedia that the department has never conducted a separate investigation into the Norman case; it had accepted without question the RCMP allegations. Deputy minister John Forster, who had been with Vance when he suspended the officer, had made the decision in conjunction with a justice department advisor. Sajjan later defended Forster’s decision, adding that it was the right one based on the information available.

“What was really disturbing was not that they said ‘No,’” Norman said. “That was disappointing. The disturbing part of it was the bias that was explicit in the decision.”

To deal with his legal fees Norman took out a large line of credit with his $600,000 house as collateral. He borrowed money from friends and supporters.

Unbeknownst to him, a retired army colonel in Vancouver had read Postmedia’s report about the government rejecting his request for assistance with his fees and decided to set up a GoFundMe page to help the naval officer. Lee Hammond didn’t know Norman well, but had met him while working at DND headquarters in Ottawa. The former army officer was struck with the inequality of an individual facing off against the full force of government. Hammond set up the GoFundMe with an initial goal of $50,000. He made the first donation, followed by contributions from some non-military friends. “My real goal is to give the guy a chance to defend himself and, in today’s society, that means having a lawyer to fight for you,” Hammond explained. “Paying for top legal advice is the kind of thing that can bankrupt you.”

As the legal battle dragged on, Hammond would raise the fundraising goal, eventually bringing in more than $430,000 from more than 3,500 individuals, every penny critical to fund the vice-admiral’s ongoing legal defence.

“I’m eternally grateful to Lee,” Norman said. “I owe him as well as the people who contributed to that fund a debt of gratitude.”

Norman has declined to discuss the final tally of his legal fees. Public reports have put that cost at $500,000. Norman, however, said that is figure is not accurate. “The full cost of this is well beyond what has previously been reported,” he said. “We’re talking multiples of that number.”

Legal specialists consulted by Postmedia estimate the cost to Norman for his legal bills since 2017 is well over $1 million.


The criminal charge against Norman — a single count of breach of trust — was laid on March 9, 2018.

Norman was disappointed the case was going to court, he said, as he felt he had done nothing wrong. Bev said she had believed the RCMP would realize after going over the materials seized from the family’s home that there was nothing to the allegations being made.

The RCMP had interviewed Liberal cabinet ministers, who said the leak had damaged the government and undermined the public’s trust in the system, but one glaring line of investigation was missing from the police probe: officers never interviewed any individuals from the previous Conservative government, a seemingly major oversight considering many of the police force’s allegations were based on claims Norman had acted inappropriately during that Harper government’s tenure.

But the RCMP’s case was already being questioned in the courts. In an April 21, 2017 ruling on an application a group of news organizations including Postmedia made to make public the details of the search warrant executed on Norman’s home, Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips pointed out some problems with the police case: the fact Norman was communicating with Davie officials, Phillips said, didn’t mean he was guilty of anything. “The emails in question are by no means smoking guns,” Phillips wrote in a ruling that unsealed the information.

Phillips also pointed out another possible explanation for Norman’s emails: for decades, Canadian military procurement has been a mess. Norman found himself in the middle of a situation where the acquisition of a supply ship the navy badly needed appeared to be headed off the rails due solely to political considerations. The judge specifically noted that none of what Norman did was for financial gain, but was instead to ensure the well-being of the navy and his sailors. “At its highest, it appears that the potential allegation against Vice-Admiral Norman is that he was trying to keep a contractual relationship together so that the country might get itself a badly needed supply ship,” Phillips wrote in his ruling. “A reasonable member of the informed public might understand the frustration of being Vice-Admiral of a Navy that cannot on its own go more than a tank of gas away from port. An officer of his rank would be expected to develop and maintain relationships with those in the business of supply the Navy and his communications with such people are not, therefore, in and of themselves untoward.”


Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 Accused

More importantly, Phillips pointed out, to make a case against Norman the RCMP would need to prove that the naval officer was the first to leak confidential information in the supply ship case. That could be difficult. The Privy Council Office, the organization that supports the prime minister and cabinet, had already conducted its own investigation of the November 2015 leak and found that at least 42 people knew about the planned cabinet committee discussion about the Asterix contract beforehand, and at least 73 people knew the result afterward. The PCO investigation determined there were six separate leaks to various lobbying firms and journalists.

In fact, the RCMP had information implicating an alleged second suspect in the leak. The police force had seized a Memorandum to Cabinet — a document marked ‘secret’ — and a slide deck related to the Liberal’s cabinet committee meeting on the Asterix deal from the office of Brian Mersereau, a top official with the public relations and lobbying firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies. The company had Davie Shipbuilding as one of its major clients. The police also seized an email to Mersereau from Matthew Matchett, a senior official with Public Services and Procurement Canada.

In the email Matchett told Mersereau he was going to drop off some material at the Hill and Knowlton offices. “I got everything — the motherload (sic),” Matchett wrote in his email.

Strangely, the RCMP hadn’t charged Matchett and the government had continued to allow him to work as a senior official at Procurement Canada. (The government only suspended Matchett after Norman’s defence team publicly disclosed his name and alleged role in court documents. He would be charged with one count of breach of trust in February 2019. Matchett has pleaded not guilty, and has not responded to Postmedia’s numerous attempts to contact him.)

Despite the flaws in the case against Norman, the Public Prosecution Service proceeded with the criminal charge against the naval officer. Federal Crown prosecutor Barbara Mercier would later state the prosecution service “did a thorough analysis of the evidence and the law” before deciding to charge Norman.

***

On April 10, 2018 Norman prepared for his first appearance in an Ottawa court. He selected a dress uniform and carefully arranged his medals. He was determined to wear his naval uniform at each and every court appearance.

“The decision was simple,” he said. “I’m a serving officer. I was proud to wear my uniform. The whole thing was about my service, my responsibilities. In the context of what I was being accused of it had everything to do with me as Vice-Admiral Norman. It’s natural to me that’s what I would do.”

With Henein at his side, the two walked into the courthouse and Norman stood, with his naval hat tucked under his arm, as the lawyer addressed the judge.

The session was to determine logistics and timelines for the case. Henein told the provincial court judge that her priority was to get the case “on the rails and get moving towards a hearing on the merits.”

Outside court Henein was more blunt. When a journalist asked Norman about whether the Liberal government was making him a scapegoat, Henein stepped in to answer: “I think that’s self-evident, isn’t it?” Henein said she was keen to get the case moving. “We’ve been waiting for a year and a half to deal with his matter,” she remarked. “I’m tired of shadowboxing. We want to get this going, get this dealt with and let the public know exactly what this case is about.”

A trial date would be set for August 2019, placing it squarely in the run-up to a federal election expected that fall.

But first, elements of the case would be played out in pre-trial hearings and with documents filed with the court in the fall of 2018.

The pre-trial hearings would allow Norman’s legal team to make their arguments to obtain federal government documents and for both sides to outline their cases in general terms. Some of the hearings would also see the initial cross examination of government officials as arguments were made for the release of records.

However prepared he was for what was to unfold in court, Norman said he still found it difficult to hear the Crown’s allegations against him. Bev and family friends attended court with him. He had confidence in his legal team. He would watch the judge, Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, to try to get a sense of how she was responding to what she was hearing.

“The hardest part was getting a taste for how the prosecution was going to come after me,” he said. “It was difficult for me sitting there and listening to what they were saying about me and my conduct.”


Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 >w=441&h=331&zoom=2

Norman maintains he did what he did for the good of the navy and ultimately for the taxpayer. He was engaged in an internal battle against federal bureaucrats who fought against the Conservative government’s original plans to acquire Asterix as quickly as possible.

But the Crown portrayed Norman as a master manipulator, breaking government rules he had sworn to uphold. Norman, the Crown alleged, was behind more at least a dozen leaks in an effort to champion Davie’s ship proposal and battle bureaucrats he believed stood in the way of the military getting the equipment it needed. The prosecutors conceded that while the navy might have needed the ship and the Davie vessel might well have been the best and most cost-effective option, that wasn’t “Mr. Norman’s decision to make.”

“Mr. Norman knew he was breaking many very well-defined rules,” they argued in their submission to the court.

The Crown alleged Norman’s communication with a Davie official included descriptions of the contents of cabinet memos or discussions. In one instance, Norman wrote an email in support of the Davie project to a personal email account used by then-justice minister Peter MacKay.

On the day of the Nov. 19, 2015 Liberal cabinet committee meeting, the Crown pointed to evidence that showed Norman had been talking to CBC journalist James Cudmore, who reported on the leaked information.

Norman’s response to the Crown’s allegations was to try to not take it personally. “But that’s harder than it seems,” he said.

During the pre-trial hearings Henein’s strategy became clear. Right from the beginning, Norman’s lawyers put front and centre their intention to take aim at key Liberal government officials, in particular then-Treasury Board President Scott Brison.

Central to Henein’s allegations was the claim that Brison, a Nova Scotia MP, was close to Atlantic Canada’s powerful Irving family, whose shipbuilding firm had submitted its own proposal to provide a supply ship. Norman’s lawyers alleged that Brison intervened to scuttle the Asterix project on the Irving’s behalf.

The Irvings have consistently denied any attempt to undercut a rival shipbuilder by political interference, and Brison has also denied any wrongdoing, saying his only interest was to look out for taxpayers. But Henein’s allegations, made in various legal documents, got Brison’s name into the headlines and increased the political heat on the Liberals over the Norman affair.

Norman’s legal team also hammered away in declaring the case had been politicized, pointing out the failure of the RCMP to interview any witnesses from the Harper government. The RCMP, warned Norman’s lawyers, had adopted the “political narrative advanced by the Trudeau government.”

In mid-December 2018, Henein further expanded on her political interference theory when she filed an exhibit consisting of emails between a Crown prosecutor and legal counsel in the Privy Council Office. The emails show the Privy Council lawyer asking for updates on who the Crown has been identified as potential witnesses, what was discussed in judicial pre-trial meetings and what the defence planned to argue in its pre-trial motions. “The nature and tone” of the emails were especially problematic, Henein said, given that Trudeau had a history of commenting publicly on the case.

The pre-trial hearings were mainly focused on attempts by Norman’s legal team to obtain federal documents they argued were needed for the naval officer’s defence. Known as a third-party records application, Henein and fellow lawyer Christine Mainville relentlessly used the process to argue that the government was interfering in Norman’s ability to defend himself, alleging everything from obstructing disclosure to having justice department lawyers inappropriately coach the prosecution’s witnesses.

There was no “eureka moment” when Norman thought the Crown’s case was in trouble, he said. He viewed Henein’s legal strategy as a battle of attrition. “There was no one point where I thought, ‘That was it.’ Marie and Christine had to deal with things, one by one.”

Henein and Mainville were slowly and methodically dismantling the RCMP’s arguments and undermining the credibility of one of the Crown’s potential star witnesses, Gen. Vance. They also focused on Zita Astravas, a former senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office who had been involved in political crisis management on the Norman case.

Vance testified that the RCMP had briefed him on the Norman case, that he had briefly discussed the situation with Trudeau and then later that day met at various times with Sajjan, Butts and Telford. However, he testified, he didn’t jot down a single note during any of those meetings.

Vance also acknowledged in court that even though he had been served with a subpoena requiring him to disclose all records, emails, texts and BlackBerry messages in which the Norman matter was discussed, he hadn’t bothered searching his own personal phone or email address.

The cross-examination of Astravas was even more devastating, some legal observers contend. She had difficulty remembering the names of her own staff. She couldn’t remember if she had ever dealt with Butts or Telford on the matter. She too admitted not having searched her personal phone or email for material on Norman despite the legal order to do so.

There was another moment of high drama when a young major in the Canadian Forces came forward to testify on Norman’s behalf.

On Dec. 18, 2018 the officer, whose name is protected by a publication ban because of fears of professional reprisal, testified that his superior told him Norman’s name was deliberately not used in internal files — meaning any search for records about Norman would come up empty.

The witness said he was processing an access-to-information request about Norman in 2017 that returned no results. When he sought clarification, the officer testified, his supervisor — a brigadier general — smiled and told him: “Don’t worry, this isn’t our first rodeo. We made sure we never used his name. Send back the nil return.”

“He seemed proud to provide that response,” the witness said.

The witness told court he has no relationship with Norman, and came forward only because it’s “the right thing to do.”

“It just doesn’t seem right, the way the whole situation kind of played out, when I was thinking back about it,” the witness said. “I just wanted to make it known, whether it’s relevant or not.”

As the witness testified, Norman said, he could hear an audible response ripple throughout the courtroom. “It was a shocking piece of testimony. There was a lot of people sucking air through their teeth when that happened.”

Justice Heather Perkins-McVey described the testimony as “very disturbing.”

“I was really impressed by that young officer, by his bravery, his composure,” Norman said.

But he wasn’t surprised at the officer’s testimony. Past investigations and documentation have showed the Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence have a track record of destroying, hiding or delaying the release of potentially embarrassing records requested under Access to Information law. “The organization had spent a lot of time and energy over the course of my career, from my personal observation, to figure out ways to deny people access to information, whether it was in a formal application process or whether it was in a broader general sense,” Norman said.

Throughout the winter and spring, Norman’s defence launched new allegation after new allegation against the prosecution and further highlighted delays in getting documents. Records from Trudeau, Butts, Telford and Michael Wernick, the clerk of the privy council, that discussed the Norman case were among the top documents being sought.

Bev, who went to each pre-trial hearing, watched the proceedings with frustration. “It was frustrating because of how things were being kept from us, how slow things were,” she said. “You would go into court and think something would happen that day. But then nothing happened because they didn’t have the documents that day.”

In February 2019, Norman’s defence team alleged Privy Council lawyers were discussing trial strategy with federal prosecutors in a manner that showed worse political interference than the SNC-Lavalin affair. The prosecution service strongly denied that any of the discussions were inappropriate or compromised their independence.

In April, Norman’s lawyers challenged the censorship of information on a series of memos involving staff in the Prime Minister’s Office. All of this was leading up to a pre-trial motion that would allege abuse of process, arguing political interference had irreparably damaged Norman’s right to a fair trial.

Justice Perkins-McVey called it “baffling” that the Crown still had not handed over the requested documents. There were other issues as well.

In late March there was a shift in the Crown’s dogged position. Prosecutors examined new evidence gathered by Norman’s legal team, as well as documents federal officials had finally turned over.

Norman, Henein and the prosecutors have all declined to discuss the nature of that new evidence. But the information was enough to put an end to the prosecution case.

On the night of Wednesday, May 7 Norman received a call from Heinen’s office. The charges would be stayed, he was told.

“I knew Marie was in discussions with the Crown but I had no idea of the specific nature,” Norman said. “I didn’t want to know, I didn’t ask. I had complete faith in Marie and Christine to do what needed to be done.”

Norman hadn’t wanted to create any expectations in himself or in his family. He didn’t find out about the development until an hour after the judge had been informed.

Bev was in complete disbelief. Their two-and-a half-year ordeal was now at a close.

“I said to myself, ‘Okay, settle down,’” she recalled. “I was not going to believe it until I heard it in court.”

Holly was in Toronto that night. At dinner with friends, she received a text message from her parents telling her to phone home immediately. After they told her the news she returned to the table, excited but unable to tell her friends what had happened. “I was really happy for my dad to have his name officially cleared,” Holly said. “I thought the whole time he had done nothing wrong and had acted in the best interest of Canadians.”

The next morning in court prosecutors officially announced that the charge against Norman had been stayed, having determined there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction. Prosecutors said they made their decision after reviewing further evidence provided by Norman’s legal team as well as additional evidence from the third-party records that were not originally part of the RCMP’s investigation file.

“Based on new information, we have come to the conclusion that given the particular situation involving Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, there is no reasonable prospect of conviction,” said Crown prosecutor Barbara Mercier.

“It continues to be our view that some of Vice-Admiral Norman’s actions were secretive and inappropriate,” she added. “However, inappropriate does not mean criminal.”

Perkins-McVey wrapped up the proceedings. “Vice-Admiral Norman, you entered a plea of not guilty,” she said. “You are presumed to be innocent and you remain so. You are free to leave.”

A stay meant the charge could be reinstated within a year, but that seems unlikely considering the statements made by prosecutors.

Based on new information, we have come to the conclusion that given the particular situation involving Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, there is no reasonable prospect of conviction

Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel issued a statement denying there had been political influence in either the decision to charge Norman or the decision to stay that charge.

Though the parties involved won’t reveal details about the new evidence, sources confirm it clearly shows members of the Conservative government — and not Norman — were the force pushing the Davie project. Sources told Postmedia that the Conservative government was so intimately involved in the project that members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office were in direct communication with Davie officials about specific details on Asterix, such as requesting that the hangar on the vessel be designed to accept the larger Chinook helicopters which the Conservatives had purchased for the Canadian Forces. In fact, Access to Information documents obtained by Postmedia show that by August 2014 Davie had already made two unsolicited proposals on Asterix to the Conservative government, which ministers had then provided to naval staff to examine.

In the aftermath of the stay of the charge against Norman and increasing questions about how the RCMP conducted its investigation, the federal police force issued a brief statement: “Throughout the course of this criminal investigation, investigators from the RCMP National Division Sensitive and International Investigations section have conducted a thorough, independent and highly professional investigation.”

The statement also acknowledged that since the court case against Matchett was still before the courts, the police force would provide no further comment.

Taxpayers may never know how much the failed prosecution of Noman cost them. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada told Postmedia it will not release the final tally.

The justice department declined to provide their costs, telling Postmedia it would have to use the Access to Information law to attempt to obtain details of the ministry’s spending on the Norman case. That process can take from one to seven years and does not guarantee the cost figure will ultimately be released. Various legal specialists consulted by Postmedia suggested the cost for the prosecution may be around $15 million.

The day charges were stayed against Norman, Trudeau offered little comment save that the prosecution was independent of his office.

But days after the charges were stayed defence minister Sajjan and procurement minister Carla Qualtrough were on the weekend political TV shows in an attempt to justify the government’s actions and highlight claims there was no political interference in Norman’s case.

Qualtrough was asked about Trudeau’s comments about Norman going to trial, even before charges were laid. “I know that’s how it was perceived and I think, in hindsight, not the best framing of words, I can assure you,” Qualtrough told Global. “But at the end of the day, there wasn’t political interference here.” Asked why the Liberal government wouldn’t apologize to Norman when it had in previous years issued numerous apologies to various groups, Qualtrough had her answer ready. “We can’t be in the business of apologizing for independent organizations doing their jobs.”

On CTV Sajjan doubled down on defending how the Norman case unfolded, fully backing Vance’s decision to suspend vice admiral based on unproven allegations by the RCMP. As for Norman, Sajjan wouldn’t apologize. In fact, he couldn’t bring himself to even say that he regretted what Norman and his family had gone through.

Sajjan said his regret was that Norman and the Canadian Forces had to go through what they did. The minister denied the Liberal government had dragged out the process of producing documents in the hopes Norman, facing mounting legal fees, would go bankrupt and throw in the towel.

Despite Sajjan’s denial, there are many in the military community who have told Postmedia they believe that strategy was at play.

On May 14 the House of Commons voted to accept a Conservative MP’s motion to apologize to Norman for what he and his family experienced during their legal battle. Although MPs supported it, the motion was not an apology from the Liberal government and while the Commons can express opinions by voting on motions those are typically not binding and carry no legal weight. Neither Trudeau nor Sajjan were in the Commons when the vote was taken.

Norman has said he wants to go back to his job as vice-chief of the defence staff. But Sajjan has already stated that won’t happen, though only Vance has the legal authority to make the decision.

The government has finally agreed to pay Norman’s legal fees, although negotiations on that matter have yet to begin. Norman has yet to go back to National Defence headquarters or to meet in person with Vance, who declined Postmedia’s request to comment for this story.

Norman declined to discuss his future plans, including whether he will be launching a lawsuit against the federal government. But sources have told Postmedia that is in the works. The military rules that restrain Norman’s public comments do not prevent any lawyer involved in a lawsuit from speaking on his behalf or filing documents.

And military regulations don’t apply to his family.

Bev told Postmedia she still has flashbacks about the RCMP raid and questions about how everything unfolded. “It was such an intrusive feeling to know people had come into my house and had gone through my personal things, to take away my personal iPad,” she said. “It’s been a huge stress on our family.”

One of the most frustrating and baffling aspects of the case for her is that no one in the RCMP or prosecutor’s office ever talked to her husband to ask for his side of the story. “I could never quite understand that,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you? I focus on that a lot.”

But both she and Holly take comfort in the thousands of people who supported the family, both financially and through their best wishes.

The family is now adjusting to their new situation. “Just like we had to adjust to a new normal after the (RCMP raid) we’ll adjust to the new normal after this is all sorted out,” Mark Norman said. “We’re pretty resilient. But the good news is this is a much better place to be in than the place we’ve been in for the last two-and-a-half years.”

— with files from Brian Platt, National Post















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Post by JAFO on Sat 18 May 2019, 12:05 pm

Ya know normally on a Saturday morning I throw up because I drank too much the night before.... funny I didn't have a drop of whiskey last night! Yet I have thrown up in my mouth a few times reading this, this, this.....does anyone have a military acronym to describe this?

We all know how cold and extremely judgmental the DND and GoC can be but this pile of flaming crap is a whole new level!

Sue their ass off Vice Admiral Norman and put Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister at the top of names on the lawsuit!!!

Now excuse me I really need to throw up now because "integrity and honor" no longer exists within the GoC and the DND!!!!!
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Post by Trooper on Sat 18 May 2019, 6:43 pm

JAFO wrote:Ya know normally on a Saturday morning I throw up because I drank too much the night before.... funny I didn't have a drop of whiskey last night!  Yet I have thrown up in my mouth a few times reading this, this, this.....does anyone have a military acronym to describe this?  

We all know how cold and extremely judgmental the DND and GoC can be but this pile of flaming crap is a whole new level!

Sue their ass off Vice Admiral Norman and put Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister at the top of names on the lawsuit!!!

Now excuse me I really need to throw up now because "integrity and honor" no longer exists within the GoC and the DND!!!!!  

JAFO it shows exactly where Sajjan & Vance loyalty lies, with the Prime Minister, not with the troops. This is the way it works, if you don't bow to the PM you will be showed the door, period. This is not what they teach you in the Royal Military College, this behavior is brought upon certain individuals such as Sajjan & Vance when they are given top positions. In other words they both know if they counter anything Trudeau says, they will be showed the door. It's really a matter of chosen your own sense of dignity. Most of us regardless of rank would most likely stand against the powers to be in situations where we know better. Putting our loyalty towards the troops, not the PM. One thing we all have that neither Sajjan or Vance has, and that's dignity towards others within the forces family, pride we take to our graves knowing we have put the troops ahead of ourselves. That you can see on forums such as this one, and other volunteer groups that volunteer their own time to try and help others past, present, and future forces members. We don't ask for money, all we ask for is respect. In my mind those who call themselves groups that represent Veterans who ask for financial support are no better than Sajjan or Vance. Leave these Veterans alone, they are not disabled to fork out funds from their own pockets. Dignity, and respect is where we find good solid support, not like some who like Sajjan & Vance bowing to every little thing Trudeau dictates. What really bothers me other then Norman is the whole forces in general. We have good serving people who are forced to obey the changes, and implementations that Sajjan & Vance are responsible for. With all do respect to those serving in the forces today, I am glad that I'm out of the service today. I would not be proud to serve under the leadership we have today, my own opinion of course.
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Post by Samwell on Mon 20 May 2019, 8:44 am

Conservatives say they’re ‘confident’ Mark Norman will expose more Liberal wrongdoing

By PETER MAZEREEUW MAY. 20, 2019

‘At the appropriate time, we hope to meet with him,’ says Conservative MP and foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 For-Peter-13-750x375

The Conservatives are banking on Vice-Admiral Mark Norman to further embarrass the Liberal government over its role in his abandoned criminal prosecution, and hope to meet with the former second-in-command of the Canadian Armed Forces “at the appropriate time,” says Conservative MP Erin O’Toole.

“When he decides to speak, I’m quite confident that there will be some information that shines a troubling light on the early decisions of the Trudeau government,” said Mr. O’Toole (Durham, Ont.), a former Air Force officer and veterans affairs minister, who has known Vice-Admiral Norman for years, late last week.

Vice-Admiral Norman and his family gave an exclusive interview to Ottawa Citizen reporter David Pugliese, which was published in The Ottawa Citizen and The National Post May 17, nine days after Crown prosecutors announced they would stay the breach of trust charge against Vice-Admiral Norman, effectively ending their prosecution of the suspended second-in-command of Canada’s military.

Vice-Admiral Norman remains, as a member of the military, under an obligation not to criticize the military or the government. In the National Post interview, Vice-Admiral Norman said he thought he was “screwed” after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) publicly predicted that he would be brought to trial well before charges were ever laid against him. He said he didn’t know why Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South, B.C.) and the military waited for 10 days after he was suspended before making clear that the suspension was unrelated to a threat to national security. He also said it was “disturbing” that the government refused to pay his legal costs as he sought to defend himself, as it implied a biased assumption within government that he was guilty of leaking cabinet secrets to a journalist and lobbyist, which he would eventually be charged for.

Vice-Admiral Norman did not tell the National Post what his plans for the future were, or whether he was launching a lawsuit against the government. His defence team repeatedly sought during this prosecution to highlight what lawyers Marie Henein and Christine Mainville characterized as incidents of political interference in the prosecution by senior figures in the government. The government and prosecutors have denied that there was any such interference in the case.

The National Post reported that Vice-Admiral Norman already has a lawsuit against the government “in the works,” citing unnamed sources.

Conservatives open to meeting with Norman
If a civil suit is launched, the federal Conservatives are ready to call attention to any wrongdoing by government officials that it reveals, said Mr. O’Toole, who added that Vice-Admiral Norman’s defence team could choose to reveal new, damaging information about the government’s actions in the case that so far have not been made public.

“I really think Mr. Norman is going to provide a huge window into this, and what I feel is potentially interference right from the beginning from the Trudeau team,” said Mr. O’Toole.

When asked if Vice-Admiral Norman had given the Conservatives any sign he was willing to work with them, Mr. O’Toole said last week that, “I think that may come, I don’t know.”

“I know he wants to tell his story. I feel he’s been really run through the mud by the Liberals, so I can assume that he is not a fan of what they put him through. So there might be a chance to highlight his work. ‘Work together’ might be stretching it,” said Mr. O’Toole.

“I’d like to see him restored to his position, and if he is vice-chief of defence staff, he can’t be political.”

Mr. O’Toole said he had spoken to Vice-Admiral Norman “once or twice over the last few years” as he was under investigation and prosecution, “just wishing him, you know, well, and trying to raise issues. But I purposely didn’t try and connect with him or anything because of the situation, just really to check on his well-being.”

“When the attention of the country is on you, and you’ve been run out of your job, I know he must have felt very low. There’s been a lot of veterans checking in on him. So at the appropriate time, we hope to meet with him as well,” said Mr. O’Toole.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask.) press team did not respond to several attempts for comment on when Mr. Scheer or his staff last communicated with Vice-Admiral Norman, if ever.

Former Harper-era Conservative defence minister Peter MacKay said if Vice-Admiral Norman speaks out about his ordeal, “I don’t think it will mean good things for the Liberal government.”

Mr. MacKay, Mr. O’Toole, and former defence minister, now-Alberta Premier Jason Kenney each spoke to Vice-Admiral Norman’s defence team in March about his role under the Conservative government coordinating the ship procurement.

Mr. MacKay told The Hill Times that he had not spoken to Vice-Admiral Norman himself during his prosecution or since it was dropped. He said he read that he could become a witness in Vice-admiral Norman’s trial, and “did not want to compromise him in any way.”

Mr. MacKay said he believed Vice-Admiral Norman, whom he knows well, should be made the next chief of defence staff if General Vance leaves the role.

He said that if Vice-Admiral Norman files a civil suit against the government, it would be “obvious” for the Conservatives to run political ads about the case, and raise it during public events.

“I’m sure it will be part of most Conservatives’ stump speech as we head into a prolonged campaign.”

Conservatives shift focus in House of Commons to Norman case
The Conservatives launched a rhetorical attack on the Liberal government immediately after prosecutors announced May 8 they would stay the single charge of breach of trust in 2018 against Vice-Admiral Norman, initially brought after the PCO and RCMP investigations singled out Vice-Admiral Norman, who was accused of leaking classified government information about cabinet deliberations over a shipbuilding project to a journalist and a lobbyist. Vice-Admiral Norman pleaded not guilty to the charge. Crown prosecutor Barbara Mercier stayed the charge against Vice-Admiral Norman two weeks ago, saying in a statement to the court that she believed Vice-Admiral Norman had acted in a way that was “secretive and inappropriate,” but not criminal.

The Globe and Mail reported last week that Mr. Trudeau set into motion the RCMP investigation that led to the criminal charge against Vice-Admiral Norman, according to sources who told The Globe the prime minister was furious at the leak of classified cabinet deliberations about the $668-million naval supply ship contract. But the Prime Minister’s Office also told The Globe and Mail last week that, although cabinet ministers were upset by the leak, it was then-PCO clerk Janice Charette who decided to call in the RCMP.

The Globe reported that Ms. Charette referred the leak to the RCMP after the prime minister’s then-national security adviser Richard Fadden conducted an internal review that failed to discover who was behind the leak. The Globe reported that after discussion with the PCO clerk, Mr. Fadden phoned then-RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson to request an investigation, which he confirmed to The Globe. The Globe also reported that the RCMP’s preliminary evidence, based on search warrants obtained in 2016 to seize Vice-Admiral Norman’s mobile devices and emails from Davie shipyard executives and their Ottawa lobbyists, found preliminary evidence that suggested Vice-Admiral Norman had leaked the information in an effort to thwart Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet decision.

The Conservatives have gone after the Liberals on the issue in Question Period and committees of the whole in the House of Commons, in the House Defence Committee, and in press releases and comments to the media. They allege that the highest level of officials in the Liberal government were responsible for having Vice-Admiral Norman sidelined from his job, prompting the investigation of his actions by the RCMP, and trying to make an example of him over leaks that embarrassed the government. They have also repeated the allegation from Vice-Admiral Norman’s legal defence team that the government politically interfered in his prosecution, in part by withholding documents needed by the defence.

The government and public prosecutors have denied any political interference in the case. Mr. Sajjan said Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance made the decision to suspend Vice-Admiral Norman in 2017 over the allegations, not the government, something General Vance repeated on Friday. Mr. Sajjan said the government will be paying for Vice-Admiral Norman’s legal bills for fighting the case, and Liberal MPs joined their opponents in the House to unanimously agree to a motion to apologize to Vice-admiral Norman for his ordeal—though Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Sajjan left the House when that vote was taking place.

Public servant Matthew Matchett has also been charged with breach of trust, and suspended from his job at Public Services and Procurement Canada, for allegedly leaking documents related to the supply ship procurement. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in March.


Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 568A0206_5.t5cd31104.m800.x_fyJuna1

Vice-Admiral Norman said he was “disappointed” it had taken so long to exonerate him, during a press conference on May 8, the day the single charge of breach of trust was stayed.

“The alarming and protracted bias of perceived guilt across the senior levels of government has been quite damaging, and the emotional and financial impacts of this entire ordeal have taken a toll. I have an important story to tell that Canadians will want and need to hear. It is my intention in the coming days to tell the story, not to lay blame, but to ensure that we all learn from this experience,” he said at the time.





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Post by Samwell on Mon 20 May 2019, 8:49 am

How the Liberals spent the week blaming everyone else for the Mark Norman fiasco

Who was at fault? According to the government, nobody — or maybe everybody

Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: May 20, 2019

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 Norman-trial-20190508




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Post by Gridlock on Tue 21 May 2019, 3:16 pm

Gen. Vance receives a raise - Trudeau recommended increase to upper limit of $306,500

DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN May 21, 2019

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 12059175
Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recommended a wage increase for Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. John Vance, boosting his salary’s upper limit to $306,500.

The raise is retroactive to April 1, 2018. The raise has been approved and the salary range is $260,600 to $306,500.

“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 actual salary Vance receives is protected by the privacy act.

On October 12, 2017 the salary range for the Chief of the Defence Staff was set at $247,900 to $291,600. That raise was also backdated to July 17 of 2017. In 2015 the salary range was between $219,100 and $257,700.





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Post by Trooper on Tue 21 May 2019, 6:44 pm

Gridlock wrote:
Gen. Vance receives a raise - Trudeau recommended increase to upper limit of $306,500

DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN May 21, 2019

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 12059175
Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recommended a wage increase for Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. John Vance, boosting his salary’s upper limit to $306,500.

The raise is retroactive to April 1, 2018.  The raise has been approved and the salary range is $260,600 to $306,500.

“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 actual salary Vance receives is protected by the privacy act.

On October 12, 2017 the salary range for the Chief of the Defence Staff was set at $247,900 to $291,600. That raise was also backdated to July 17 of 2017. In 2015 the salary range was between $219,100 and $257,700.







Yes indeed, rewarded for his loyalty to Justin.
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Post by Ranger66 on Wed 22 May 2019, 8:49 am

Gen. Vance gets pay hike, but sources say timing not linked to Mark Norman case

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen
May 21, 2019

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Trial - Page 14 Gen-vance-1




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