Vice-chief of defence staff ‘relieved’ of duties without explanation

The second highest ranking soldier in the country has been relieved of his duties without any public explanation. Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was removed from his post by the Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance, effective immediately. It’s unclear what led to this point but it was serious enough to require swift action. Mike Le Couteur reports.

Canada’s vice-chief of the defence staff, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, has been relieved from the performance of his military duties.

So far the Department of National Defence has not provided any explanation for the move, which is apparently temporary and outlined in a brief letter dated Jan. 13.

Global News obtained a copy of the letter on Monday.


“As you will have seen in the letter, the (chief of the defence staff) has temporarily relieved the (vice-chief of the defence staff), Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, from the performance of military duty,” said Lt.-Col. Jason Proulx, spokesperson for Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of the defence staff.

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“For the time being, (Norman) will not be carrying out the functions of (vice-chief of the defence staff). Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd has been appointed as the interim (vice-chief of the defence staff). At this time, we have no additional information to provide.”

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan issued a brief statement on Monday afternoon, saying only that: “I fully support the decision taken by (Vance) to relieve the (vice-chief of the defence staff) from the performance of military duty.”

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WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no comment regarding the firing of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. 

Prime Minister Trudeau addresses firing of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman
Prime Minister Trudeau addresses firing of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman

A spokesperson for Canada’s military police (MP) said they were surprised to hear about the vice-chief’s temporary suspension on Monday.

“The MP is not investigating any matters concerning vice-admiral Norman,” said the spokesperson. “We’re not involved in any investigation on this case.”

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The RCMP, meanwhile, would not say if they have opened any investigation involving Norman.

“The RCMP does not generally confirm or deny who (may) or who may not be subject of an investigation,” said spokesperson Brigitte Mineault. “This is done to protect the integrity of an investigation, the evidence obtained and the privacy of those involved.”

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Norman is a career naval officer who joined the Canadian Forces in 1980 and was appointed just one year ago to his current position. He began his duties last summer, and has built a reputation as an outspoken military leader.

Prior to that, Norman served as commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

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