Roy Green: Sorry does seem to be the hardest word
Justin Trudeau, holding court at one of his meandering and increasingly purpose-challenged town halls in February of last year, assessed as inevitable that the future for Canadian Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, second-in-command of the nation’s military, would unfold in a courtroom.
It was a deeply disturbing declaration by the nation’s prime minister, considering no criminal or other charge had been laid against the vice-admiral.
Fast forward to last week as Canadians witnessed both Trudeau’s “inevitable” pronouncement and the charge itself succumbing to a courtroom version of the historic boxing ring “no mas” of multiple world champion Roberto Duran.
Last week the criminal charge against Norman was judged unsustainable. The likelihood of a conviction? Just about zero. Just as Duran self-assessed his chance of defeating Sugar Ray Leonard at, well, zero. No mas. No more.
Norman must have experienced palpable relief, though now denied the opportunity to identify the criminal charge as the result of an ill-tempered and pettily vindictive man’s anger.
Then there is the shameful manner in which Norman had been relieved of his duties by his erstwhile and perhaps soon to again be his boss, Canada’s military Chief of Staff General Jonathan Vance.
For almost a week after his dismissal, Norman’s supposed crime went unannounced. Speculation ran rife. Was the vice-admiral a foreign agent? Was there a sexual misconduct issue? It was viciously cruel to the vice-admiral and his family.
WATCH BELOW: The political debate in the wake of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s vindication
Then, no, the federal government would not be paying Norman’s legal expenses. Vance, with the admitted support of Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan, would allow a respected almost 40-year veteran of Canada’s military twist slowly toward the knife-edge of personal insolvency. This, while others in government, including Trudeau and his key advisers, busily engaged outside legal representation — billings to be covered by taxpayers, in the event an RCMP investigation might require their testimony.
Ever so slowly the criminal case against Norman wobbled forward. Accused of sharing cabinet confidentiality concerning the contracting of outfitting an existing vessel as a Canadian Navy supply ship, Norman began to gain support nationally. Leaking cabinet chatter, even decisions, was common practice, when convenient. When was the last time cabinet refused to deliver early details concerning a federal budget? Exactly.
Nationally, we became aware Norman’s defence was stonewalled by the Trudeau government. Documentation requested by his lawyer, the remarkable and determined Marie Henein, was denied or delayed and infamously, in one well-reported case, a 60-page document arrived entirely redacted.
The fearless defence lawyer let it be known the Norman’s chief tormentors would be facing her in an open court of law, something millions of Canadians would have booked their vacations around. “No mas,” but this time in tears.
Then, last week Henein, who had interviewed former Conservative government cabinet ministers Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole and Jason Kenney, presented new information to the crown — something the RCMP in its investigation of the vice-admiral had largely omitted as MacKay shared with me on air. No mas.
And this week in Canada’s parliament, an all-party apology to Norman for the manner in which he had been mistreated was agreed to.
Missing from the reading of the apology motion were Trudeau and Sajjan. And the Liberal caucus? Mirroring their leader, they refused to either stand or applaud.
Contrast this behaviour with Trudeau’s words upon the death of Fidel Castro:
“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.'”
Those words rightfully resulted in challenge and scorn as el Comandante was particularly known for his brutal treatment of Cubans who fell into disfavour. Thousands were executed and many thousands more braved shark-infested waters as they set to sea, hoping to reach freedom and Miami on little more than sheets of plywood motivated by make-shift sails.
Trudeau concluded his tribute to Castro with the words “remarkable leader.”
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman is a remarkable leader, one with a history of personal dedication to Canada.
Canadians closed ranks with the vice-admiral. A Go-Fund-Me page has resulted in almost $440,000 in contributions toward his legal defence.
WATCH BELOW: Trudeau faces questions for first time since charges dropped in Mark Norman case
Mr. Trudeau, for you and Mr. Sajjan to duck the reading of the approved by all parties parliamentary apology to Vice-Admiral Norman supports Elton John’s thesis, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.”
And how is Paris in May? More comfortable than Ottawa likely.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.
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