Public Interest in Mark Norman Case is Growing
“Mark Norman is a personal hero of mine,” General Rick Hillier said over the weekend at the Manning Conference in Ottawa. “I would stand by him anytime.”
It all says a lot.
That Hillier, the retired general and former Chief of the Defence Staff, would say this in the first place. That foreign policy expert Shuvaloy Majumdar, who was leading the Q&A, would choose to make this the first issue he put to Hillier on stage. And that, when I posted these words to social media, they took off like wildfire.
People have a lot to say about the Vice Admiral Mark Norman case. And public interest is only growing.
The saga, in a nutshell, is that in late 2015 a media report revealed the leaked news that the new Liberal government was planning to back away from a deal for a supply ship with Davie Shipbuilding that was almost complete.
Norman, the head of the navy at the time, was first suspended without explanation in January 2017. More than a year later he was charged with one count of breach of trust for allegedly leaking the news of the deal.
The military determined it would not assist with Norman’s legal bills even though other individuals have qualified for support in the past.
As more people become aware of the facts of the case, the outrage across the country grows. Why is Norman facing what’s believed to be the first ever charge related to leaking to the media when we know such leaks happen all of the time? Why was a senior military figure left suspended without explanation for a year? Why are they sticking him with the full bill?
Norman’s lawyer — Marie Henein — is attempting to get the case thrown out of court alleging political interference on the part of the Prime Minister’s Office. But the government hasn’t made it easy for them to get their hands on the various PMO correspondence and documents needed for Norman to mount his defence (even though it appears Gerald Butts’ lawyers got what they needed for his Justice Committee testimony).
Public interest in the case is growing for a number of reasons. Word seems to be spreading not just in military circles but among the public. It’s also because it’s now before the courts and in the news.