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Opposition forces defence committee meeting on Mark Norman case

Last Updated May 13, 2019 at 1:42 pm EDT

Vice Admiral Mark Norman arrives to court with lawyer Marie Henein in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. The charges against Norman were dropped. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The federal opposition is forcing the National Defence Committee to hold an emergency meeting on the case of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

The former second in command in the military had been accused of leaking cabinet secrets about a lucrative shipbuilding contract. Last week federal prosecutors stayed the charges against him, saying they had no reasonable prospect of getting a conviction.

In calling for this emergency meeting, opposition MPs are alleging political interference in the case against Vice-Admiral Norman.

They claim the government tried to inappropriately intervene in this shipbuilding contract, and that the Prime Minister influenced the case by saying he expected a police investigation would result in a prosecution.

Norman’s lawyer, Marie Henein, has questioned why members of the former Conservative government had not been questioned during their investigation.

The Mounties say they respect the Crown’s decision to drop the case and that their officers conducted a thorough, independent and highly-professional investigation.

Conservative James Bezan says he sees similarities between this and the SNC Lavalin affair.

“Corporate cronyism is alive and well within the Liberal cabinet … that they will go to any means to roll over anyone that gets in their way,” he says.

The opposition wants to use the meeting to launch an investigation and call the Prime Minister, the Vice-Admiral and many other officials to testify. However, the Liberals hold a majority on the committee and can shut that down.

The meeting has to be held at some point this week.

With files from The Canadian Press