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

By Peter Mazereeuw

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

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.

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