Mr. Speaker, Admiral Norman is owed an apology by the Liberal Party leader. It is an absolute disgrace to the women and men who have served our country in uniform that the Liberal leader continues to refuse to apologize for trying to destroy the military career of an honourable gentleman. The fact the Liberal leader chose to run out of the House of Commons moments before the vote was taken on the motion by my hon. colleague from Milton speaks volumes to the character of the leader of the Liberal Party and those individuals in his party who still refuse to admit to the horrible wrong done to Admiral Norman. They are apology deniers.
I assure members of the Liberal Party that their shameful treatment of an honourable soldier has not gone unnoticed by soldiers and veterans. I was moved to tears, as was Admiral Norman, when he shared the story of a World War II veteran sending him $5, as that was what the veteran could afford, for the admiral's legal defence fund. It was necessary for members of the public to come to the aid of Admiral Mark Norman. The Liberal government was trying to bankrupt the admiral into submission by refusing to pay his legal bills, despite payment of the latter being the usual action taken when a Crown employee is party to legal action as a consequence of his duties as a public servant.
We live in a fearful time when someone of the stature of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman can be subjected to the type of political witch hunt he has been subject to by the Liberal Party. Given how hard the government is struggling to withhold evidence, the way it withheld evidence from Admiral Mark Norman's lawyers so that he could not properly defend himself, there must be something very terrible to be uncovered by the Senate investigation.
Political interference in an RCMP investigation and a court case is a slippery slope that no government in Canada should be sliding down. Canadians agree with Conservatives on this point. This is what some Canadians had to say in the May 22, 2019, edition of the Ottawa Citizen in response to its story on the Admiral Mark Norman Liberal scandal:
Your in-depth article on the two-year ordeal of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, his wife and daughter was incisive and clearly showed how politics drove this outrage.
More telling, though, is that our prime minister is always ready with an apology, a tear and a hanky for any pedestrian issue that provides an opportunity for a media photo-op —except when he is directly responsible for the debacle that affected the reputation of an officer with integrity.
Not only is Norman due an apology and compensation, he should be at National Defence Headquarters as Chief of Defence Staff, replacing Jon Vance, who should join Michael Wernick (formerly of the Privy Council Office) in obscurity and retirement.
Those were the comments of Adele White of Ottawa.
Then there were the following comments by Bill Russell of Ottawa:
A frightening attempt to hide records. Thank you for the most recent instalment in the Vice-Admiral Mark Norman story. There are many disturbing aspects to the tale of his defence. The senior echelons of the Canadian military have clearly not covered themselves in glory.
One of the most offensive and frightening revelations—reported in December 2018 and mentioned again in David Pugliese’s most recent contribution—relates to the actions undertaken within the Department of National Defence to stymie attempts by the vice-admiral’s legal team to obtain information deemed relevant to his defence from departmental files. The conscious effort to hide references to Norman in the records is a great concern for anyone who believes that the proceedings were about “justice.” The tone of arrogance and self-satisfaction in the words of the senior officer who is quoted in a Dec. 18 Ottawa Citizen story —“Don’t worry, this isn’t our first rodeo. We made sure we never used his name. Send back the nil return.”—is chilling.
Thankfully, the moral compass of a more junior staff member, whose name is protected by a publication ban because of fears of professional reprisal for coming forward, was not skewed.