The RCMP has charged a second person with breach of trust over an alleged leak of confidential information related to the government's 2015 acquisition of a supply vessel from the Davie shipyard in Quebec.
The charge was filed at the Ottawa courthouse on Wednesday against Matthew Matchett, who worked for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) at the time of the alleged infraction. Mr. Matchett will appear in court on March 5, the RCMP said.
The RCMP previously laid a charge of breach of trust in the matter against the former second-in-command of the Canadian Armed Forces, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.
The latest charge comes after questions that were raised in pretrial motions by Vice-Adm. Norman’s legal team, which repeatedly pointed to the fact that Mr. Matchett was not charged despite allegations that he had leaked classified documents relating to the Davie contract.
In courts documents filed as part of his defence, Mr. Norman’s lawyer alleged that Mr. Matchett provided a classified memorandum to cabinet (MC) and a slide deck to lobbyist Brian Mersereau, who was working for Davie. The information was allegedly transferred to James Cudmore, who was a CBC reporter at the time. Mr. Cudmore is now working in government as a Liberal ministerial staffer.
“Between November 17 to November 23, 2015, Matchett also provided Mersereau ongoing updates about the two [cabinet] committee meetings. Mersereau discussed this information, including the content of the MC, with James Cudmore,” the application from Mr. Norman’s lawyers said.
In a news release, the RCMP said the charge against Mr. Matchett concludes the investigation into allegations of leaks in the case of the Davie deal.
“It is alleged that Matchett unlawfully disclosed government information to unauthorized parties,” the RCMP said. “This concludes an extensive criminal investigation which first began in December, 2015, when the RCMP received a complaint alleging that cabinet confidence information about a Canadian naval supply ship contract had been leaked.”
After working at ACOA, Mr. Matchett later moved to Public Services and Procurement Canada. He has since been suspended from his position.
Vice-Adm. Norman was suspended as the military's second-in-command on Jan. 16, 2017, and charged last year with breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets in an attempt to influence cabinet's decision on a $700-million shipbuilding contract with Quebec's Davie shipyard. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Vice-Adm. Norman was the commander of the navy when the previous Conservative government awarded the contract, without competition, to Davie in 2015.
Soon after taking office in November, 2015, the Liberal government put the project on hold after receiving a letter of complaint from Irving Shipbuilding, which already had a multibillion-dollar contract to build a fleet of warships for the navy in Halifax.