Ethics sink Justin Trudeau every time

Another chapter is being written on the Trudeau goverment's history of meddling

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Is Trudeau still trying to broadside Mark Norman?

Former Vice Admiral Mark Norman is back in the news. David Pugliese at the Ottawa Citizen has the scoop and I’ll try to simplify the details of his reporting here along with the general story.

What was this about again?

You may remember than Norman was removed from his command in 2017 when he was investigated and then charged with the leaking of cabinet details regarding Royal Canadian Navy procurement.

It was alleged the Norman gave Davie Shipyards the heads up regarding the Trudeau cabinet’s plans regarding a contract for a supply ship that Davie was leasing to the navy. However, former members of the Harper cabinet had testified that Norman was authorized by cabinet to provide such updates to Davie.

Political motives?

iPolitics reported that “Norman’s lawyers said then-Treasury Board president Scott Brison tried to have the deal killed on behalf of a powerful New Brunswick family – the Irvings – who operate rival Irving Shipbuilding.”

ie. Jobs for the boys in Atlantic Canada. Send our regrets to the shipbuilders in Quebec. Scott Brison was a Nova Scotia MP at the time.

Before Norman was even charged with a crime, Justin Trudeau twice predicted that Norman would eventually see the inside of a courtroom.

Prosecution fails its case. But that’s not what this is about today.

The charges against Norman were stayed when the prosecution gave up on their case. The government settled with the former Vice Admiral for an undisclosed sum.

So, what’s this about now? Access to information.

The pre-trial heard controversy over DND’s handling of access to information requests regarding the department’s discussion of Norman. The court heard testimony that DND and the Canadian Forces purposefully didn’t use Norman’s name in written communications and even bragged about it in what appeared to be an attempt to circumvent the law, which is in place to provide transparency and disclosure — and in Norman’s case, potentially a fair trial.

Independent investigation?

That got the Information Commissioner interested and when she took a look she was troubled enough that she referred the matter to the Attorney General who then kicked off an investigation with the Public Prosecutor Service and the RCMP.

Hold on a second.

Uh, weren’t these all these bodies responsible for the highly questionable investigation and prosecution of Norman in the first place?

And now they’re looking into the meddling of the government into access to information requests?

Seems like a conflict of interest doesn’t it? Especially given the broader suspicions of political interference in the original case?

Well yes, that’s why they handed the investigation over to the OPP, Ontario’s provincial police force.

But they didn’t.

That’s right. And finally, the news. The RCMP was supposed to send this investigation to the OPP more than one year ago, according to Pugliese.

Remember that Norman’s lawyers argued that this information was important for the former commander of the Royal Canadian Navy to get a fair trail.

A few days ago, Pugliese decided to ask the OPP how that investigation was going. The OPP answered that they were never contacted and were never asked to begin the investigation.

Not good.

Blasts rock Beirut

The death toll is expected to climb higher in Beirut after a pair of explosions shook the Lebanese capital Monday.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab blamed the incident on the improper storage of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a common component for making bombs or fertalizer.

Global Affairs Canada is offering Canadians consular assistance in the region. The Ministry notes that about 11,000 Canadians live in Lebanon.

At the moment, this event appears to be an accident which will make some wonder if such accidents could happen here.

An accidental explosion of 245 tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed 15 in West Texas in 2013, while a 56 tonne explosion injured 6 in Queensland Australia in 2014. An 800 tonne explosion claimed 173 lives in Tianjin China in 2015.

There are inconsistent regulations on storage in the United States while Canada’s storage and transport of ammonium nitrate is covered by a variety of laws and regulations at the federal level.

Justin Trudeau down one MP

Late yesterday, Liberal MP Michael Levitt announced that he’s leaving Parliament to head up the Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights organization. The North York politician, who defeated incumbent Conservative Mark Adler in the 2015 election, is resigning at a low point in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government.

Levitt won by a comfortable margin in 2019, besting his more marginal win in 2015 when the Liberals took power just under 5 years ago.

The power of incumbency is now not a factor in North York. A by-election is usually an opportunity for local voters to render a verdict on the government of the day.

The selection of a candidate for both major parties will be particularly important as new leadership in the Conservative party — and a Liberal Party facing renewed scandal — could shake up the riding and have it act as a bellweather for the mood of the country.

The contest would potentially be the first federal by-election held since the pandemic began in Canada, if no other MPs end up departing within the next 6 months. Of course, this is also barring an early election call.

It’s too early to tell if the Liberals will be mortally wounded by the WE scandal, so as for Levitt’s personal reasons, it may be that he has just found another path for public service.

We wish him well.


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Justin Trudeau faces another ethics scandal