Liberals on the House of Commons national defence committee have a decision to make this week: Will they allow a review into the investigation and prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman?
The decision facing the committee after opposition members called for an emergency meeting to discuss the matter will undoubtedly conjure comparisons with the ethics committee review of the SNC-Lavalin affair that was abruptly shut down amid the cries of opposition members.
A letter signed by Conservative MPs James Bezan, Cheryl Gallant and Richard Martel and NDP MP Randall Garrison calls for a review of the prosecution of Vice-Adm. Norman and sets out a lengthy list of witnesses, including: Vice-Adm. Norman, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former clerk of the privy council Michael Wernick, former Treasury Board president Scott Brison, Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance, Justice Minister David Lametti, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Service and Procurement Carla Qualtrough and former procurement minister Judy Foote.
In addition, they would like to call on the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, his former principal secretary Gerald Butts, Liberal MP Andrew Leslie and James Cudmore, director of policy for the minister of democratic institutions.
An emergency meeting is triggered when four MPs on the committee write to the clerk to call one − but the Liberals hold a majority, so it will be up to government members of the committee to decide whether to allow the process to proceed. The opposition members request that the committee convene within five days.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said on CTV’s Question Period that his party would like to hear from individuals with knowledge of the case to appear before a parliamentary committee to find out “what went so wrong here."
“We had a highly respected and decorated vice-admiral go through the wringer for the sole crime of speaking the truth and trying to do what is right for the Canadian navy, so far we haven’t been able to get any of those answers in [the House],” he said.
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