In The Media

Former commanders urging authorities to charge or exonerate Vice-Admiral Norman

by Robert Fife & Steven Chase (feat. Dave Perry)

The Globe and Mail
January 18, 2018

Two former Royal Canadian Navy commanders are calling on federal authorities to either charge or exonerate Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who has been under a year-long criminal investigation for allegedly leaking cabinet documents.

Retired vice-admirals Gary Garnett and Ronald Buck say Vice-Adm. Norman has been subjected to a "travesty of justice" and they are urging the RCMP and Public Prosecution Service of Canada to wrap up the investigation.

They suggested in a letter to The Globe and Mail that the Liberal government is determined to charge their colleague, despite a lack of evidence.

"The RCMP and prosecutors continue to investigate Admiral Norman, likely, because the Government does not like the answer – he did the right thing and broke no laws," the two retired vice-admirals wrote in a letter to The Globe on Thursday.

Vice-Adm. Norman was removed from his duties as vice-chief of the defence staff in mid-January, 2017, after his boss, General Jonathan Vance, learned his second-in-command was under RCMP investigation.

Mr. Garnett recalled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last April that he supported this decision and that the Liberal leader also predicted the case would end up in the courts.

"Does that not indicate there is a bit of a commitment here," Mr. Garnett asked in an interview. "So why are they pursuing this case?"

The Prime Minister's Office said it does not get involved in police investigations.

RCMP alleged in court documents made public last year that Vice-Adm. Norman leaked cabinet secrets to an executive with a Quebec-based shipyard and advised the businessman how to use the media to press the Trudeau government to approve a $667-million naval supply-ship contract. The allegations against the naval officer in RCMP affidavits have not been tested in court.

Mr. Buck said he doesn't understand why the investigation has taken so long when "there are probably just a little more than a handful of players" for the RCMP to interview as part of its criminal investigation.

"The investigation would seem to be taking an inordinate amount of time to come to a resolution," Mr. Buck said in an interview. "Meanwhile, the individual and his family are hanging out there in the breeze."

Defence analyst David Perry said foreign allies of Canada are "astounded that someone so senior in the military establishment could be left in limbo for so long."

"We're talking about the second-most senior serving military officer. I find it incredible it can go on this long without any kind of resolution," said Mr. Perry, with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

An RCMP spokeswoman said on Thursday night the investigation into Vice-Adm. Norman and the ship contract remains ongoing. The RCMP has a history of lengthy investigations that result in no charges. The Mounties ended a three-year probe of Senator Pamela Wallin's expenses in May, 2016, without laying charges.

In the case of Vice-Adm. Norman, court documents filed by the Mounties have included e-mails he sent to Spencer Fraser, chief executive of Federal Fleet Services, the company in charge of refitting a cargo ship to serve as a naval supply vessel at the Chantier Davie Canada Inc. shipyard in Lévis, Que.

Vice-Adm. Norman was the commander of the navy when the former Harper government awarded the leasing contract, without competition, to Davie in 2015 in a move that was criticized as vote pandering in Quebec.

Soon after taking power in November, 2015, the Trudeau Liberals put the supply-ship project on hold after receiving a letter of complaint from Irving Shipbuilding, which already had a multibillion-dollar contract to build a fleet of warships for the navy.

Vice-Adm. Norman sought to press the Liberals to stick with the Davie contract.

Mr. Garnet and Mr. Buck said there is no evidence in court documents to show their friend leaked cabinet documents. All he did, they argue, was support the ship contract previously agreed to by the former Conservative government in what he believed was in the best interest of the navy.

"In reality, his only offence appears to be having been caught in the crossfire during the transition of one government to the next," they wrote.

The heavily redacted court affidavits provide little idea of what the RCMP allege are Vice-Adm. Norman's motives.

However, Vice-Adm. Norman said publicly in 2016 that delays in shipbuilding programs had hurt the navy. "It's important to keep in mind that [the delays were] completely avoidable," he said.

In 2015, Irving Shipbuilding chief executive James Irving had tried to persuade the Liberals to kill the sole-source contract with Davie, saying his firm had offered a lower-cost option. Another shipbuilder, Vancouver-based Seaspan, also called for an open competition and said it could convert a civilian cargo ship into a military supply ship at a significantly lower cost.

E-mail correspondence with Mr. Fraser, obtained by the RCMP, suggests Vice-Adm. Norman was critical of the four top executives at Irving Shipbuilding, a major player in Canada. In one e-mail, the admiral referred to them as the "four horsemen of the apocalypse," a derogatory reference to malignant forces in the Bible: war, pestilence, famine and death. After the e-mail was made public, Irving said the characterization of its executives offended the company.

"Ethically, some of his e-mail wording raises eyebrows," Mr. Garnett acknowledged, but said it was not criminal.

Marie Heinen, lawyer for Vice-Adm. Norman, has previously said her client is a victim of internecine warfare within the Department of National Defence and was "caught in the bureaucratic crossfire." In August, Ms. Henein said in a statement to The Globe that the RCMP should close its investigation.


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
SEARCH
PODCAST

Evaluating the 2018 U.S. Midterms with Sarah Goldfeder & Laura Dawson

November 12, 2018

On today's Global Exchange Podcast, CGAI Vice President Colin Robertson sits down with CGAI Fellow Sarah Goldfeder and CGAI Advisory Council Member Laura Dawson to discuss last week's midterm election in the United States. Join Colin, Laura, and Sarah as they debate the implications of the 2018 U.S. midterm on the agenda of Donald Trump, the effect a Democratic House of Representatives will have on Canada, as well as what the election means for bilateral relations moving forward.



EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

Red Flags Abound as Canada Deepens Trade Ties With China

by Rahul Vaidyanath (feat. Eric Miller), Epoch Times, November 14, 2018

Canada’s oil producers look beyond Keystone XL pipeline

by Ed Crooks (feat. Kevin Birn), Financial Times, November 13, 2018

Tariffs, fees add $217M to price of three second-hand icebreakers

by Lee Berthiaume (feat. Rob Huebert), The Canadian Press, November 13, 2018

‘Double whammy’ of production cuts, price collapse slams oilpatch as heavy crude slides below $18

by Robert Tuttle (feat. Kevin Birn), Bloomberg News, November 12, 2018


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 4K9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: contact@cgai.ca
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2018 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email