Scapegoat?

CTV News suggests that Vice Admiral Mark Norman might be being scapegoated by Liberal politicians who were, perhaps, caught trying to interfere with a valid, signed letter of intent in order to help their paymasters political friends in the Atlantic region.

NormanThe CTV News report says that unnamed sources told them that Admiral “Norman is not being investigated for breaching national security or seeking financial gain. Those close to him say he’s being scapegoated.

The Globe and Mail reports that “The RCMP allege Vice-Admiral Mark Norman violated the Criminal Code by leaking government secrets, an accusation that arises from a 16-month probe into the release of information about cabinet deliberations to a Quebec-based shipbuilder that wanted Ottawa to stop delaying approval of a $667-million contract for an interim naval supply ship … [and] … A breach of trust conviction under Section 122 of the Criminal Code carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.” A friend tells me that the Supreme Court has established a five point “test” for §122 (all five points must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” for a conviction to be registered): “The offence of breach of trust by a public officer is established where the Crown proves beyond a reasonable doubt that:

(1) the accused is an official;

(2) the accused was acting in connection with the duties of his or her office;

(3) the accused breached the standard of responsibility and conduct demanded of him or her by the nature of the office;

(4) the accused’s conduct represented a serious and marked departure from the standards expected of an individual in the accused’s position of public trust; and

(5) the accused acted with the intention to use his or her public office for a purpose other than the public good, for example,  a dishonest, partial, corrupt, or oppressive purpose.

It seems to me that the government might have a hard time proving (3) and (4) and a very, very hard time with (5).

The sequence of events, as I recall them, is:

  • The Harper Conservatives, faced with the “loss” (rust out) of all of the Navy’s supply ships, approved Project Resolve a rather innovative way to close an important military capability gap;
  • The Liberals sweep Atlantic Canada in the 2015 election;
  • James Irving writes letters to several Liberal ministers asking them cancel the signed letter of intent with Davie (and pay Davie a $85+ million penalty) so that Irving shipyards can bid to do something very similar;
  • The Liberals consider that option ~ which the CTV News report says provokes Vice Admiral Norman to consider resigning ~ but then, fairly quickly, decide to go ahead with Resolve; and
  • The RCMP launch Project Anchor, an investigation into “leaks” of confidential cabinet documents.

One tricky problem is: when did James Irving’s letters and (one assumes) Vice Admiral Norman’s (then commander of the Royal Canadian Navy) protests that the RCN needed Project Resolve become “cabinet confidences?”

The whole thing, along with unprecedented “lifetime” non-disclosure orders for 200+ military officers and officials involved in the CF-18 replacement, makes one suspect that the Liberals might be trying to cover up their attempts to “manage” the disarmament, by stealth, of Canada.

22552720825_63a8d2b9d5_mIn any event, one awaits, with growing interest the “counter attack” from Vice Admiral Norman and his attorney, Marie Henein who is noted for her investigative ability, insistence on dealing with facts not rumours, and rigorous defence of her clients.

One sincerely hopes that a future Conservative government will cancel all the “lifetime” gag orders and put “cabinet confidences” back into their proper perspective.

2 thoughts on “Scapegoat?”

  1. Ted, your analysis is entirely believable. I don’t think I’ve met VAdm Norman, but my inclination is to believe that he acted honourably and within the rules. On the other hand, it’s not difficult to imagine that the politicians might have done – and be doing – what you suggest.

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