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Liberals stymie Commons defence committee inquiry into Mark Norman case

Liberal MPs Sherry Romanado, Sven Spengemann, Yves Robillard, Mark Gerretsen and Darren Fisher wait for the start of the Standing Committee on National Defence, Sherry on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, May 16, 2019. The meeting was requested by four members to undertake a study of the government's conduct in the investigation and prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — The Liberals have used their majority on a House of Commons committee to block an attempt to launch an inquiry into the failed prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

Opposition members on the Commons defence committee forced a special meeting Thursday afternoon, aiming to start an investigation of how the military’s former second-in-command came to be prosecuted on breach-of-trust charges.

The case fell apart last week, when Crown prosecutors told the judge that new evidence they’d received from Norman’s defence team had led them to conclude they stood no reasonable chance of convicting him.

The admiral been accused of leaking government secrets to Quebec’s Davie shipyard, supposedly to help it nail down a $700-million contract for a navy supply ship.

That deal had been negotiated under the previous Conservative government and in 2015 the Liberals paused before finalizing it.

The opposition has repeatedly accused the Liberals of persecuting Norman through the courts for political reasons, which both the governing party and prosecutors have vehemently denied.

The Canadian Press